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What New York’s equitable division laws mean for your divorce

On Behalf of | Mar 15, 2017 | Divorce

Divorce is never an easy process. It is full of complications, including child custody issues, property division and possibly determining spousal support. Sometimes is can take months for the court to finalize a divorce due to the complex nature of the elements.

Now that you and your husband have decided to divorce, it is important that you understand the complications you might face. For example, property division in New York is not a matter of splitting your marital assets in half. Instead, the state follows the principles of equitable division. An experienced divorce attorney in Brooklyn can help you understand marital property distribution laws in New York. For a brief overview of equitable division, read further.

Equitable distribution

While there are still a few states that follow community property laws, New York divides marital property according to the standards of equitable distribution. This may mean that your husband, if he was the higher earner, could get up to two-thirds of the property while you only get one-third. However, before making a decision, the court will carefully consider both your and your husband’s situations.

Marital property laws in New York

New York adopted the principles of equitable distribution in order to make sure that the division of marital property is fair. The court will examine multiple factors to decide how to split your marital assets. For example, the judge will look at the income and property each of you owned at the time you were married and at the time you filed for divorce. Your age, health, and financial needs will contribute to the determination. In addition, the court will also examine your needs as the primary custodian of the children and whether or not alimony is part of the settlement.

Marital property vs. separate property

In general, everything that you and your husband acquired during your marriage is marital property — from your house to the business he started while you stayed home with the kids. However, there are certain types of property that are separate in the eyes of the court. For example, any gifts you received as an individual, property you inherited or anything you owned prior to the marriage are usually exempt from marital property division.

Unfortunately, if your separate property comingled too closely with your marital property during the marriage, the court could waive its separate status. It could then be subject to division.

Preserving community property

In 1971, New York adopted the Uniform Disposition of Community Property Rights at Death Act. If you moved to New York from a community property state after your marriage, this law keeps your community property rights intact.

Divorce can be a complicated process, especially when you have a high asset divorce. If you are considering divorce, take the necessary steps to learn more about property division and other family law matters in New York.

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