When a married couple wishes to seek a divorce, they must begin the process of declaring, evaluating, and dividing their property and assets. Asset distribution laws vary from state to state. In New York, assets and property are divided based on equitable distribution. Contrary to popular belief, equitable distribution does not mean an even 50/50 split of property. Instead, the court systems base their decisions on a number of factors.
In New York especially, it is critical to seek competent legal representation from an established New York City Equitable Distribution Attorney when filing for divorce. Ideally, couples will agree on distribution of assets without having to contest it and be seen by a judge. However, this is not always the way things work. A divorce attorney’s main priority is to help clients settle disagreements and reach a mutual compromise outside of court that benefits both parties. In the event that a case does in fact need to be seen by a judge, an attorney can represent their clients and fight for their rights.
Separate and Marital Property in New York City
When beginning the process of property and asset distribution, spouses must first determine whether the property is separate or marital. The differences are as follows:
Separate property is generally exempt from distribution and will remain the property of the original owner. Any property or assets acquired before the marriage or given as a gift or inheritance to the spouse (not from the other spouse) may be considered separate. Property protected by a previously drafted agreement, like a pre-nuptial agreement, may also be considered separate. Although property acquired before the marriage is separate property, in New York, a court may consider the appreciation of separate property to be marital property. This is one of many reasons to have experienced legal counsel at the time of your divorce.
Marital property refers to any and all assets acquired after the marriage. This can even include businesses and debt. Any marital property not protected by an exclusive agreement will be included in the equitable distribution.
When dividing and distributing property, the equitable distribution attorney (or judge if the matter is contested) will consider a number of factors before working out a decision. In New York, the property is not simply split down the middle as in other states. Some of the factors influencing a decision include:
Length of the marriage.
Separate property and income of each spouse.
Each spouse’s contribution to the marriage before the divorce. This can include income contribution and other financial aspects, efforts as a spouse and homemaker, and more.
The age and physical health of the spouse and his or her ability to make future income.
Who has custody of the children and what the kids will need to protect their best interests.
Tax and debt obligations.
Any financial issues that occurred before the divorce, such as one spouse squandering money.
As you can see, equitable distribution is a much more in-depth process than other states’ “community property” regulations. Because there is so much to take into consideration, it is in a person’s best interest to seek the help of a competent and experienced New York City equitable distribution attorney. Attorneys can help divorcing couples decide on these matters fairly and in an amicable manner. Divorce is stressful enough as it is, and trying to determine asset distribution alone can add a lot of unnecessary stress.
New York City Divorce Lawyer Experienced in Equitable Distribution
If you are seeking a divorce in New York City and want to be sure your assets and property are divided fairly, contact the law office of Vivien I. Stark, P.C. today. She is a lawyer with over 30 years of experience in divorce and family law. She serves the five boroughs of New York City and the surrounding communities. She is committed to her clients and has been recognized as a top divorce attorney in New York City with superb ratings by Avvo. Vivien I. Stark will work tirelessly to make sure your rights and best interests are effectively represented.
To discuss your needs, please contact us online or call us at (212) 349-1600 to schedule an in office or telephone consultation.
The Law Office of Vivien I. Stark, P.C. can assist you with the following areas of divorce: