Equitable Distribution in New York
How Marital Property Is Divided in a New York Divorce
When a divorce is granted in New York, the state’s equitable distribution
law will guide a determination on property settlement through division
of the marital property. This law considers that a marriage is, among
other things, an “economic partnership” to which both parties
contribute – whether that contribution is made as a spouse, parent,
wage earner and/or homemaker.
It is important to understand that equitable distribution does not always
result in an equal, 50/50 division of assets; rather, the law will look
to what is “fair.” A couple’s property will be categorized
as marital or separate, the value of the property will be determined and
the property will be distributed in a manner that is hopefully fair and
equitable to both parties.
At the present time, property can include:
- Art collections
- Medical degrees / licenses
- Law practices / licenses
- Stock options
- Business interests
- Equine interests and farms
- Civil service assets
- Pensions, 401(k)s and retirement plans
- Teaching licenses
- Professional certifications
*The law in this area is changing.
The Difference Between Separate Property & Marital Property
Separate property can be described as any property that belongs to one
spouse only. The manner in which property is categorized as marital or
separate will vary from state to state. It is also important to note that
separate property can be considered marital property if it has been co-mingled
with marital assets or it has appreciated in value during the marriage
due to the efforts of the other spouse.
In New York, separate property may include any of the following:
- Property acquired before the start of the marriage
- Property acquired by bequest, devise or gift from someone other than your spouse
- Property described as separate property in a written agreement
- Property acquired in exchange for separate property
- Financial compensation received for personal injuries
Disclosing Financial Information During Your Divorce
Under New York’s Equitable Distribution law, when seeking a divorce,
both parties are required to disclose all information about their respective
finances so the court can make a fair determination about the distribution
of their marital property – as well as appropriate levels of support.
To ensure full disclosure, the law requires both parties to exchange sworn
financial statements accompanied by a current paycheck stub and their
most recently filed state and federal income tax returns.
If you have questions about how your property would be divided in a divorce,
please contact our
New York divorce lawyer, Lois M. Brenner, Esq. You can reach our office at (646) 663-4546.