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matrimonial law divorce money propertyWhen the Equitable Distribution Law (EDL) was enacted (Laws of 1980, Ch. 281, effective July 19, 1980), Domestic Relations Law §236, Part B(1)(c), gave a radically new statutory definition to “marital property.” Before the EDL, if the term “marital property” was used it referred solely to jointly owned property, such as a residence owned as tenants by the entirety, or joint bank accounts. Under Domestic Relations Law §236 Part B, “marital property” includes what was previously jointly owned property and more.

Domestic Relations Law §236, Part B, (1)(c) provides that “marital property” means: “All property acquired by either or both spouses during the marriage and before the execution of a separation agreement or the commencement of a matrimonial action, regardless of the form in which title is held, except as otherwise provided in an agreement pursuant to subdivision three of this part. Marital property shall not include separate property as hereinafter defined.” This definition applies for purposes of equitable distribution of family assets upon divorce. It does not apply where the marriage is dissolved by death. See EPTL 5-1.2(a)(1).

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