The plaintiff-husband was a 50% partner in a commodities brokerage firm, earning approximately $1.5 million per year. The defendant-wife stopped working in 1996 to be a homemaker and primary caretaker of the parties’ children. The Supreme Court awarded the wife $135,450 of equitable distribution for the husband’s interest in the firm, which represented 15% of the value of the husband’s 50% interest. Further, the wife did not receive any equitable distribution for the husband’s interest in a business apartment as the apartment was deemed to be separate property.
The Appellate Court ruled that based on the defendant’s indirect contributions to the business as a homemaker and primary caretaker for the parties’ three children in the long-term marriage, and also considering that the wife relinquished her own career, an award of 25% of the husband’s interest in the firm is appropriate.
With regard to the business apartment, the Appellate Court agreed with the Supreme Court’s ruling that the husband’s initial 20% interest acquired a few months after the parties’ marriage was separate property. However, in July 1997 the apartment was refinanced and the husband purchased an additional 13.33% interest in the apartment. The Appellate Court determined the 13.33% interest was marital property and awarded the wife $90,000 which represented 50% equitable distribution.