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Asset Division

Divorce Lawyers Nassau County

Asset Division

When a couple divorces in New York, judges attempt to divide their property fairly. This is called “Equitable Distribution”. The decision can be partially subjective, often creating a very contentious situation. A divorce judge is supposed to factor in each spouse’s contribution to the marriage.  

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What Exactly Is Equitable Distribution?

Equitable Distribution is a method used by the courts to determine the division of a couple’s assets when they divorce. NY is an Equitable Distribution state, which means, in theory, that judges should base their decisions regarding asset division based on this law. It does not always work out that way, though. Equitable Distribution does not mean splitting the couple’s assets down the middle. In an attempt to be fair, it takes into consideration some of the following:

  • What each spouse’s income was going into the marriage
  • What each spouse’s income was throughout the marriage
  • The duration of the marriage
  • The needs of the parent who has custody of the children to live in the home
  • Pensions and Inheritances of either spouse.

These are just some factors that go into a judge’s decision of what is fair or not. An experienced lawyer can make a big difference in making a case for which assets go to which spouse.  

What is Marital Property?

Marital property is income and assets made by either spouse during the marriage. It includes income, real property, and assets accrued during the marriage. An individual’s retirement benefits earned during the marriage are also part of the equation. Courts often encourage couples to agree on the division of assets. As you can see, the whole process can become quite complicated and should only be worked on by an experienced attorney.  

What Does The Court Consider to Be Separate Property?

Technically the court should not divide “separate property,” but this can quickly become very contentious. Separate property should include property or assets (stocks and bonds) that either spouse brought into the marriage. It does not include the increase in value of that property afterward, which the other spouse may have caused.  

Is a Business Subject to Equitable Distribution?

Yes, a business owned during the marriage will be subject to Equitable Distribution. The court may give it to the spouse it deems more capable of running it, and give other marital assets to the remaining spouse to compensate for the difference.

How Is Real Property Divided in a New York Divorce?

In most cases, the courts encourage couples to agree on the division of real property. If they can not decide, the judge will do it for them, based on which property is separate and which is marital. The courts must also comply with any legitimate prenuptial agreements.

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