Elkus v. Elkus

169 A.D.2d 134, 572 N.Y.S.2d 901 (App. Div. 1991)

 

RULE:

Medical licenses have been held to enhance the earning capacity of their holders so as to enable the other spouse who made direct or indirect contributions to their acquisition, to share their value as part of equitable distribution. A Medical Board certification, a law degree, an accounting degree, a podiatry practice, the licensing and certification of a physician's assistant, a Masters degree in teaching and a fellowship in the Society of Actuaries have also been held to constitute marital property. 

FACTS:

A husband and wife divorced, and the wife moved for an order determining that her celebrity status and any income derived from it did not constitute marital property subject to equitable distribution. The trial court determined that the wife's celebrity status was not marital property and the husband appealed. On appeal, the husband argued that the wife's increased celebrity status was due in part to the husband's sacrifices and should be included in their marital property. 

ISSUE:

Was income derived from the wife's celebrity status considered marital property subject to equal distribution?

ANSWER:

Yes

CONCLUSION:

The court held that the wife's celebrity status was the same as a that of a licensed professional and subject to equitable distribution. Furthermore, the court held that the appreciation of the wife's career that resulted from the husband's contribution was also marital property subject to equitable distribution. Consequently, the trial court's decision ruling that the wife's celebrity status was not marital property was reversed, and the case was remanded to the trial court for further divorce proceedings.

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