Smith v. Winter (Appellate Division, Fourth Judicial Department)

In Smith v. Winter, the Appellate Division concluded that the court properly determined that only 10% of the appreciation of the value of a Company acquired by Plaintiff’s company during the marriage that was owned prior to marriage was marital property subject to distribution. It was undisputed that Plaintiff was the sole shareholder of the Company prior to marriage, and thus the original Company remained Plaintiff’s separate property. It was further undisputed that the new Company appreciated in value by over $20 million during the course of the marriage and that Defendant’s contributions to that appreciation were minimal. The Appellate Division determined that the lower court properly considered the “active efforts of others and any additional passive or active factors” in determining the percentage of total appreciation that constitutes marital property subject to distribution.