Mesholam v Mesholam

No. 122: Mesholam v Mesholam

For similar reasons, we conclude that the value of marital property generally should not be determined by the commencement of an action for divorce that does not ultimately culminate in divorce. Equitable distribution is available “in an action wherein all or part of the relief granted is divorce” ( Domestic Relations Law ァ 236[B][5]). Where there is no divorce, there can be no equitable distribution. Consequently, permitting the commencement date of the prior, unsuccessful divorce action to govern the valuation date of marital property for the purposes of a later, successful action in which equitable distribution is available would be inconsistent with the statutory scheme.In short, we hold today that courts must use the commencement date of the later, successful action as the earliest valuation date for marital property. However, the circumstances surrounding the commencement of the earlier action can and should “be considered as a factor by [the trial court], among other relevant factors, as [it] attempt[s] to calibrate the ultimate equitable distribution of marital economic partnership property acquired after the start of such an action by either spouse” (see Anglin, 80 NY2d at 558).



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