When you and your spouse decide to divorce, you have to consider a lot of aspects. One of the most important issues is the fair division of the property you accumulated during the marriage. An experienced New York divorce lawyer knows that each party has a different understanding of the term “fair.”
However, the division must be done according to the New York equitable distribution law. This does not mean that the entire marital property is divided 50/50 between the spouses. Instead, the judge will analyze various factors and decide. Or, the two spouses can reach an agreement.
Contact our top family law firm today for help with your divorce.
What Is Defined as Marital Property in New York?
This is one of the most contentious aspects of a divorce. Each party wants to keep as many assets as possible out of the pool of marital property. However, the laws are clear on this aspect.
Marital property is defined as “all property acquired by either or both spouses during the marriage […] regardless of the form in which the title is held.” According to this definition, assets subject to equitable division include:
- Real estate property bought during the marriage
- Car, boats, airplanes, and other means of transportation bought by any of the spouses during the marriage
- Furniture, artwork, jewelry, and any valuables purchased with each spouse’s income
- Cash, bank accounts, retirement accounts, securities, and other financial investment instruments
- Gifts made by the spouses to each other.
Key Factors Determining the Division of Property
The purpose of the equitable division law is to ensure that each of the spouses is left with a fair share of the marital property after the divorce. To make this determination, the judge will examine various aspects, including:
- The duration of the marriage – longer marriages result in a larger accumulation of marital property
- The age and health condition of each spouse
- Each spouse’s income and property before the marriage and at the moment when they filed for divorce
- The necessity of the spouse who receives child custody to continue living in the marital home
- Whether one of the parties will pay spousal support to the other
- The tax implications of the division of property for each spouse.
Judges will also take into consideration whether one of the spouses tried to hide assets during the divorce or wastefully dissipated marital property before filing for divorce.
What Is Excluded from Equitable Distribution
Items defined as separate property will not be treated as marital property in a divorce. Your White Plains divorce lawyer will work closely with you to identify all assets that fall into this category.
Separate property includes:
- assets acquired by each of the spouses before the marriage
- property received as inheritance of gift from any third parties, except from the other spouse
- compensation received in personal injury claims
- any asset defined as separate property in a valid prenuptial agreement
- any property acquired from the proceeds or appreciation in the value of other property, unless the appreciation is partly the result of the contributions or effort of the other spouse.
Is a Business Venture or Professional Practice Treated as Marital Property?
Yes, any business or professional practice you own and operate during the marriage is considered marital property. However, it is almost impossible to divide shares or goodwill between the spouses. Moreover, only the person holding the license to practice can run a professional practice.
Thus, your divorce attorney will identify other marital assets that your spouse will receive in compensation so that you may continue to own the business after the divorce.
A Skilled New York Divorce Attorney Will Help You Get a Fair Share of Assets!
Reaching a fair agreement concerning the division of marital assets is difficult. However, it is preferable to have this agreement in place, instead of letting the judge determine how your joint assets will be split.
An experienced New York divorce lawyer will make sure that you will keep all your separate property and receive a fair share of the marital assets. Call us at 914-615-9058 to schedule an initial appointment!