Primarily servicing the greater New York City metropolitan area

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New York, N.Y. 10016
(212) 370-1660


Question #47:
I am not sure if this is in your department. A friend of mine has been separated from her husband for over 1 year now. She claims that her husband owes her a substantial amount of money which was given to him over their 15 years of marriage. Some of the money helped him with his business and buy a car. Also, much of the money given to him came out of savings bonds. Her husband on the other hand feels he owes her nothing (or at least not the amount she thinks) and has not offered to give her anything since their separation. I'm not up on the law, but I assumed that if she had receipts for these transactions that she could go to court or settle out of court for the amount she is claiming. Is this correct? But the other problem is that she does not have all the transaction receipts. She feels entitled to receive even have of the amount she claims. What does the law say? What should she do? She doesn't think she can afford to take this matter to court and is thinking about not challenging it...just cutting her losses. I have already suggested talking to a lawyer but what else can I tell her.
To properly answer your question I must know what state your friend is living in, how long she was married, in which state she and her husband lived together and where his business and other property is located.In New York State, and in most states in the United States, there is presently some form of community property or equitable distribution which would provide your friend with approximately 1 half of all of the property acquired during the course of the marriage regardless of whose name the property is in, with certain specific exceptions such as for property individually inherited and kept separate from marital property, etc.If in fact she contributed her money to his business, she would have a stronger claim to half of its value.You do not indicate the amount of money involved. But if it is significant, it is worth contacting an attorney-mediator to help negotiate a fear and equitable resolution of their separation.Your friend should enter into a formal Separation Agreement with her husband to legally separate their interests; otherwise, the problems will continue to arise time and again. If she is located in New York, she should give me a call at 212-370-1660.
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