Divorce is a challenging and emotional process, particularly when it comes to dividing property.
In New York, the principle of equitable distribution governs property division, meaning that the courts divide marital property fairly, but not necessarily equally. This article explores how the courts divide property in a New York divorce.
Differentiating marital and separate property
The first step in dividing property in a New York divorce is to determine which property is marital and which is separate. Marital property encompasses all assets acquired during the marriage, including income, real estate and personal property. On the other hand, separate property refers to assets acquired before the marriage or through gifts or inheritances. Separate property in New York is usually not subject to division in a divorce.
Factors for equitable distribution
Once the courts identify marital property, they must divide it equitably. In New York, the court considers several factors when determining what is equitable, including:
- Length of the marriage
- Income and property of each spouse at the time of the marriage and at the time of the divorce
- The age and health of each spouse
- The need for custodial parent to occupy or own the marital residence and to use or own its household effects
- The loss of inheritance and pension rights of each spouse
- The contributions of each spouse to the marriage, including as a homemaker or in supporting the career of the other spouse.
The court will also consider any other relevant factors when determining what is fair and equitable in each individual case.
Understanding New York law can help you navigate the property division process, protect your rights and aid you in making informed decisions while working toward a just and equitable resolution in your divorce.