In a divorce you may be surprised to learn that your potential earned income as a result of obtaining a college degree or certification, while you were married, could mean that you pay more in maintenance (spousal support). In New York, if a spouse obtains a college degree, graduate degree or certification, while they were married, the court considers the degree/certification as marital property. Therefore, if after your marriage you became a doctor, lawyer, accountant, nurse or obtained a college degree, the difference in your potential income without that degree and your potential income with that degree is subject to distribution in your divorce.

Most likely an expert will calculate the lifetime worth of the degree and divide that value into two as a part of the marital estate.

Although you may believe that your degree is “yours”, in New York, the degree, in essence, belongs to both spouses. The potential value of that degree is considered marital property. This is one reason why having a pre-nuptial agreement is important. In a pre-nuptial agreement, you can carve out the value of your degree.

If you are considering a divorce, then you need to hire an experienced attorney. David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office have helped numerous individuals in all areas of matrimonial and family law. If you need an attorney to represent you, then call David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office today at 631-239-1702, email at or visit our web site: The Badanes Law Office has offices in Northport and Garden City.