When a divorce occurs, the two former spouses must figure out how to divide their property and assets, legally known as their “marital property.” Some people may believe that spouses simply split things 50/50, but that isn’t the case under New York law. Navigating who gets what can be a complex process, with many different factors that have to be considered in court.
Sadly, equitable distribution between two spouses doesn’t always occur in a way that is fair to both parties. Because of this, it is in the best interest of a person who is going through a divorce to work with a skilled divorce attorney. A divorce attorney can help you navigate disputes, negotiate vigorously on your behalf, and help you reach a settlement that’s fair and favorable in your divorce.
What Is Equitable Distribution?
When a couple cannot agree on how to fairly distribute their marital property, a judge will decide on their behalf. New York is an equitable distribution state, which means that when a couple in New York divorces, their marital property is not necessarily split 50/50. Rather, the dividing of property and assets depends upon a broad range of factors, from personal to financial. All of these factors are considered when determining how marital property is divided among former spouses.
What Factors are Considered?
Before dispensing marital property and assets belonging to former spouses, a judge must consider a variety of factors, including:
- The separate property of each spouse
- How much each spouse earns and has the capacity to earn
- Each spouse’s current income and financial circumstances
- The contributions of each spouse to the total marital property
- Physical and mental health of each spouse
- Age of each spouse
- Length of the marriage
- Whether alimony was awarded and in what amount
- Other financial burdens that each spouse possesses
- Any transfer of property made in advance of divorce
- One spouse’s contributions to the career of the other spouse
- Whether any spouse dispensed with any assets wastefully
- The need of a custodial parent to occupy or own the family home
Separate Property vs. Marital Property in New York
Separate property is a type of property that was obtained by one of the individuals in the marriage before the marriage, inherited during the marriage, or given as a gift from someone outside the marriage. It also includes any compensation for personal injury.
Separate property is not subjected to equitable distribution law. If a piece of property was owned by a spouse before they entered into the marriage, for instance, then that property belongs to them and can’t be considered marital property. However, separate property can become marital property if it was maintained or financed by contributions from both spouses.
Marital property is joint property owned by both spouses and is subject to equitable distribution laws. This is property that has been purchased or acquired by both spouses while married. When marital property is divided up, each spouse will have a claim to a portion of that property. The only issue is that, sometimes, when marital property is divided up in court, it isn’t divided in a fair way.
How a New York Family Lawyer Could Help
The New York divorce attorneys at The Mandel Law Firm understand that sometimes dividing up marital property can be contentious and stressful. Our experienced and compassionate attorneys can help you navigate the process of dividing your marital assets in a way that is fair and ensures your interests are represented.
We will work tirelessly to help you get the settlement that you deserve. Please reach out to one of our attorneys at any time for a consultation. Call us at (646) 770-3868 or contact us online.