Property division and distribution is a necessary step anytime divorce occurs. In New York State, the Court relies on relevant statutes in determining how joint property will be divided equitably and fairly between both spouses. Do not, however, confuse equitable with equal. Equitable property division takes into account two things:
- each spouse’s contribution to the marriage
- each spouse’s needs going forward
Rarely does distribution mean an equal split between spouses. New York’s equitable distribution laws also provide for separate property, that is, property that may be excluded from equitable distribution.
Given the complexities of the law that can come into play when allocating marital property, anyone going through divorce should retain the services of an attorney who is knowledgeable and experienced in equitable property distribution laws. The Law Office of Lance H. Meyer represents clients in all types of divorce matters and is dedicated to fighting vigorously on behalf of clients to ensure they are fairly represented and receive the maximum distribution of marital property to which they are entitled.
The Law Office of Lance H. Meyer works with clients throughout the entire New York City & Long Island Area, including Westchester and Suffolk and Nassau Counties on Long Island. Lance H. Meyer, Esq., is an experienced divorce attorney, and he understands New York State’s equitable distribution laws and court system.
Because spouses often disagree on how their shared property should be divided at the time of divorce, we understand that emotions can run high when it comes to dividing and distributing their property. Our goal is to minimize the stress while also advocating for our clients’ full legal rights under the law.
How Is Property Divided in Divorce?
All assets acquired by either or both spouses during the course of their marriage – the marital property – is subject to equitable distribution, regardless of which spouse holds the title to a specific property. When it comes to dividing marital property, judges typically strive to reach a fair outcome for both parties. They take into account a variety of factors, that may include:
- The length of the marriage and the age and health of each spouse
- Each spouse’s income and property both at the time they first married and at the time they filed for divorce
- Child custody arrangements, including what the custodial parent will still need when providing for the couple’s children
- If one spouse is to receive alimony (maintenance)
- Each spouse’s equitable claim to the property based on their contribution, such as financial or homemaking efforts
- How best to divide a business or professional practice, if one exists as part of the shared property
- Financially, each spouse’s financial future, tax implications, pension, insurance, etc.
The Court also considers the amount of debt that exists as it relates to the marital property. This could include the mortgage on a home, amounts owed under joint credit cards, even student loan debt if both spouses received benefit from one spouse’s increased earning capacity as a result of that spouse’s education.
In general, a separate property does not fall under the requirements of New York’s equitable distribution laws. Separate property is defined as:
- Property a spouse owned before the marriage took place
- Property a spouse received or may be receiving as compensation for a personal injury he or she suffered
- Property one spouse received through an inheritance or as a gift unless it came from the other spouse
- Property that meets the qualification of separate property in a valid, legal prenuptial agreement
The bottom line? Marital property distribution is not as clear cut as it might first appear. Dividing assets such as a home or other real estate, a car, a retirement pension, and debt is never a 50-50 equal split. And because a judge considers such a variety of factors, you should ensure you have the best legal support possible to work through the details involved – to care for not only your present needs but those long into the future as well.
Your first consultation with is us free and our fees are reasonable. We serve the greater New York City & Long Island Area, Westchester, and Long Island (Nassau County and Suffolk County) and are committed to helping all clients receive their equitable distribution of marital property as part of their divorce proceeding.