Before beginning the divorce process, it’s essential for spouses to understand what property is at stake and how their assets will be divided. New York is an equitable distribution state, meaning all marital property will be split fairly but not necessarily equally. Instead, judges will consider numerous factors when determining how to divide a couple’s marital assets fairly.
Comparing marital and separate property
Fortunately, not all of your assets will be subject to division upon divorce. Any property that you acquired prior to the marriage will most likely be protected. Some other common examples of separate property include:
- Inheritances or gifts received before the marriage
- Property mentioned in a prenuptial agreement
- Increases in the worth of separate assets, and
- Compensation awarded for personal injury lawsuits
Divorcing spouses should be careful not to commingle any separate property with marital assets, though. Doing so will cause those assets to be deemed marital property. Marital assets are any property that was purchased or acquired during the course of the marriage. This can include assets like real estate, cars, furniture, retirement accounts, and even advanced educational degrees.
What factors will the judge consider when dividing property?
Because New York is not a community property state, judges will need to look at several factors to split a couple’s assets fairly. Here are a few common factors that New York judges will be concerned about when dividing marital property:
- The income of each spouse
- The length of the marriage
- Each spouse’s age
- Each spouse’s health
- Potential child support or alimony, and
- The needs of the custodial parent if children are involved
Though divorcing spouses in New York will not be able to protect all of their belongings, it’s important to know that the goal is for each spouse to receive a fair share of the marital assets. With the help of a New York family law attorney, spouses can gain peace of mind and feel protected during the complex divorce process.