Separate Property May Not Be Distributed

Davidman v. Davidman, 97 A.D.3d 627, 948 N.Y.S.2d 639 (2nd Dept.,2012):
The Domestic Relations Law protects separate property from distribution during a divorce – nor may a court order its sale. However, separate property may become subject to distribution if the asset was either commingled or transmuted into marital property, such as, when the owner of the separate property has placed the asset into joint names. Also, separate property, whether a house or a business, may be distributed when the nontitled-spouse can prove that the appreciation of, the increase in the value, the separate property is attributable to “the contributions or efforts of the other spouse.” The nontitled-spouse is entitled to a credit for his/her share of the marital funds that were used to pay off the mortgage of the owner of the separate property.