Understanding division of property in a NY divorce

It is important to understand how property is divided in a New York divorce to ensure people get what they are entitled to.

When couples in New York decide to file for divorce or legal separation, there are a host of issues that must be negotiated in the final divorce settlement. One of the most difficult may be that of property division. It can be hard to separate property and assets when a marriage is ending, especially if people have grown attached to possessions through the years. There are often strong emotions involved, which can make the process even harder. Understanding how property is divided may help to simplify the process of distributing belongings during the course of a divorce.

Equitable division of property

New York is an equitable distribution of property state, meaning that all marital property is divided after a careful look at certain factors involved in the case. These factors include the following:

· How long the marriage lasted

· What contributions each party made to the marriage

· Occupation and education of each party

· Earning potential

· Age and health

The judge presiding over the case may also take into account if one spouse stayed home to raise the family while the other spouse worked or went to school. In the end, the judge may use his or her discretion when determining who is entitled to what in the divorce settlement.

What is separate property?

Not all property is considered marital. There may be items that either party had prior to becoming married that will stay in their possession once the divorced is finalized. A property title that a person owned before getting married may stay with that person through the divorce. If, however, the property owner revised the title to include the name of the other spouse sometime during the marriage, that property may be considered marital and then divided in the settlement. Other potential separate property includes inheritance money, personal injury settlement awards and gifts given to either spouse by a third-party.

A look at marital property

While marital property is eligible for division, it includes more than just the family car, home, furniture and savings account. Expensive art, antique, coin or car collections are also marital property, as well as lottery ticket winnings, 401k plans, travel rewards points, memberships to exclusive golf courses and country clubs, intellectual property and cemetery plots.

Finding legal assistance

If you are going through a divorce, you may find it difficult to make important decisions regarding your future with emotions running high. You may want to recruit the counsel of an experienced family law attorney who will help answer your questions and explore all of your legal options.