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Understanding the distribution of assets in New York

Divorce is a stressful process, especially when you do not know how things will turn out.

Understanding how New York distributes marital assets in the dissolution of marriages can help to alleviate some of the tension you feel as you embark upon separation.

How do courts divide assets?

New York courts do their best to fairly divide assets between spouses with a system called equitable distribution. However, just because the court considers the dispersal fair does not mean that it will be equal. Courts consider numerous factors illuminating what both parties brought to the marriage and what they need to move on with their lives. If a couple is able to determine on their own how to equitably split their assets, the court normally accepts the agreement.

What is the difference between marital property and separate property?

Courts only divide what they consider marital property. This is anything obtained or earned throughout the marriage. Separate property is assets the couple owned before the wedding or certain property accepted during the marriage such as an inheritance or gift.

In certain instances, the court may recognize increases in the value of separate property to be joint property if the other spouse helped to grow its value. For instance, if you owned a rental property prior to your union and your partner made improvements to it that raised its worth, a judge could view this additional value as joint property.

Depending on the number of assets you own separately and jointly, your property division could be fairly simple or extremely complex.

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