Cutoff Dates

As is widely known, the filing date of the complaint for divorce which actually leads to a divorce is the “cutoff date” for equitable distribution, that is, assets acquired up to that date are generally subject to equitable distribution, and assets acquired after that date are generally not. This is a general rule and cannot be taken as a total brightline test since there are no notable exceptions. Among these are: (1) assets acquired by way of gift or inheritance or intestate succession (death without a will) not from a spouse; (2) assets acquired with other assets which were either from a third party as in the first example of acquired by one party prior to the marriage. An exception to the cutoff date would be an asset acquired by one party after the cutoff date but with assets which were subject to equitable distribution. Again, these are general rules and there are always exceptions or other fact situations which render a general rule inapplicable. Obviously, it is best to consult qualified counsel since each circumstance is fact-sensitive, and the result usually turns on very specific development of the facts.

One exception to the timing of “cutoff date” rule is advantageous to the parties. Say that (for one reason or another) the parties are cooperative and want to attempt to negotiate an agreement before filing for divorce. Their hope is that they can amicable provide the other, through counsel, with sufficient documentary information upon which to adequately understand their financial circumstances and based on that understanding, negotiate an agreement, in which case, they can then file for divorce and obtain an uncontested termination of their marriage within a few weeks. Using this methodology, they can avoid certain judicial systemic entanglements.


 Continue Reading Agreement for Cutoff Date in Lieu of Filing for Divorce