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What are separate property credits?

New York, NY |

Is appreciation of each separate property such as an inherited house assessed specifically for division or just put into the marital property pot which is then divided in its entirety by the court? Thank you.

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Attorney answers 6


Each separate property appreciation must be analyzed individually before "adding it to the pot" because it must be determined (a) what active v. passive appreciation there was, (b) whether the non-title-holding spouse employed direct v. indirect efforts which (allegedly) contributed to the increase, as well as (c) what the nature & extent of those efforts were & thus how they impacted the increase. For a full assessment, schedule a consultation with a NYC Divorce attorney.

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That depends upon the circumstances. Appreciation of a marital house would remain separate property unless the non-inheriting spouse somehow contributed to the appreciation.

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I never heard of "separate property credits" and I live this stuff every day.

Good luck.


It is a credit for one's separate property contribution to a marital asset. For example, I have $10,000 in the bank. We get married. I use my money for the down payment. We get divorced, and the court will credit me with the $10,000 as separate property. So if the house is worth $100,000 now, I get my money back off the top, and we split the $90,000 equitably as the court orders. With regard to your second question, that may vary. For example, capital improvements to the house during the marriage with marital funds will cause that appreciated value referable to the capital improvement marital (e.g. we added a wing to the property, increasing the value of the house from $100K to $175K, so the $75K is now marital property).

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Whether the inherited house is separate or marital depends on the title to the residence, whether any improvements were made during the marriage which resulted in the appreciation in the value of the inherited house and whether any active contributions on the party of the non-titled spouse resulted in an increase in the value of the inherited house.


Most attorneys would not let anything be "just put into the marital pot" without carefully analyzing whether it serves their client's purposes for it to be there. That being said, sometimes, a contribution of marital funds to a separate property will be offset in the "equitable distribution" of marital property.

Ms. Brown may be reached at 718-878-6886 during regular business hours, or anytime by email at: All of Ms. Brown's responses to questions posted on AVVO are intended as general information based upon the facts stated in the question, and are provided for educational purposes of the public, not any specific individual, and her response to the question above is not legal advice and it does not create an attorney-client relationship. Ms. Brown is licensed to practice law in New York. If you would like to obtain specific legal advice about this issue, you must contact an attorney who is licensed to practice law in your state.

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