YERUSHALMI v. YERUSHALMI (App Div. 2nd Dep’t)

In dispute was the separate or marital status of a house held in trust for the benefit of the parties.  The parties married in 1971 and purchased a marital residence in 1983.  In 1995, the title to the residence was transferred into a qualified personal residence trust (“QPRT”). After the commencement of the divorce action, defendant-husband listed the residence for sale.  Thereafter, plaintiff-wife’s motion to the Supreme Court to enjoin the sale was denied after the court held that the residence was not a marital asset because it was owned by a QPRT and not by the parties.

The Appellate Court reversed the lower court’s holding and finds the residence a marital asset.  Marital property is “all property acquired by either or both spouses during the marriage and before the commencement of a matrimonial action, regardless of the form in which title is held.”  The residence in question was purchased by the parties during the marriage using marital funds and is presumed to be marital property. “The fact that title had been transferred to the QPRT, allegedly for estate planning purposes, while the parties continued to reside at the marital residence, was . . . insufficient to rebut the presumption.”

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