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How Are Marital Assets Divided in New York?

Posted on March 10, 2023

Divorce can often be a difficult time of emotionally charged uncertainty. One of the most complicated parts of a divorce is deciding how marital assets should be distributed. In New York divorces, marital assets are divided using the principles of equitable distribution.

Equitable distribution calls for a fair, if not equal, distribution between spouses.

Equitable Distribution Factors to Consider

When determining who will receive marital assets and how they are divided, equitable distribution is a flexible way for the court to do this. Listed below are several factors into account when making decisions about property distribution:

  • Duration of the marriage
  • The income and property that each partner brought into the marriage and what is there at the time of its dissolution
  • The age of each spouse and their respective health
  • Whether the custodial parent needs to occupy or own the marital home or the contents of the household
  • The loss of pension or retirement rights because of the divorce
  • Loss of inheritance due to the divorce
  • How the tax implications of distributing the property will affect each partner
  • If money wasted through a lavish appropriation by either spouse

The court will consider these factors when determining how to divide marital property and assets.

The Difference Between Marital and Separate Property

If the couple purchased real estate or personal property, had investment or retirement accounts, or acquired other property during the court of their marriage, those assets are considered marital property.

Property that one partner acquired before marrying their partner or property that was gained through an inheritance or gift is solely owned by the marital partner to whom it was left or who owned it before the marriage. This is considered separate property and typically will not be divided in the divorce.

Complex Asset Division

Marital assets do not have to be complicated and are not when a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement dictates how they are divided. But, the division of marital assets can be difficult and even combative when there are assets that are considered by the couple as high-value or if there are substantial debts to be resolved.

Listed below are some examples of complicated division of assets when going through a divorce:

  • One example is if one partner owned a business before getting married, but their spouse helped the business grow and become more successful once married. Considering both partners’ roles, the court may assess how to divide the company.
  • When a couple owns multiple pieces of real estate, dividing them down the middle may not be the more appropriate plan. The court will review the couple’s real estate portfolio and consider the value of the properties, their potential for income, and the needs of each spouse when determining how the properties should be divided.
  • The court will consider the couple’s debt load. If one spouse is more indebted, the court will review what the debt was for, who it belongs to, and whether each spouse should be responsible for paying it off.

For Advice, Contact Us

If you find yourself facing a divorce, call the Law Office of Vivien F. Stark for advice on asset distribution. Determining how you will stand financially following a divorce can be one of the most stressful and frustrating elements of dissolving a marriage. Our experienced legal team will review your goals for the division of property and help you resolve the issues you have successfully.

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