When you and your spouse decide to divorce, you will 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 attorney will know that each party has a different understanding of the term “fair”.


However, the division must be completed in accordance with the New York equitable distribution law. This does not mean that the entire marital property will be divided 50/50 between the spouses. Instead, the judge will analyze various factors and decide, in the event that the two parties cannot reach an agreement outside of court.




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 distribution 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 teh 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 or not 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 teh spouses before the marriage
  • Property received as inheritance of gift from any third parties, except from the other spouse
  • Compensation received in peresonal 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 teh 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?

Annulment carries several legal consequences, which can vary based on jurisdiction and the specific circumstances of the case. Some common consequences include:


Marriage Voided: The marriage is legally considered null and void from the beginning, as if it never existed. Spouses revert to their pre-marital legal status.


Property Division: The court may divide marital property and assets based on the jurisdiction’s laws governing property distribution in annulment cases.


Financial Support: In some cases, the court may order temporary financial support for one spouse (similar to spousal support pendente lite) or child support, if there are children from the marriage.


Custody and Visitation: Custody arrangements for children and visitation rights for both spouses are determined, with the best interests of the child being the primary concern of the courts in New York.


Rights and Obligations: Spouses lose certain rights and obligations associated with a valid marriage, such as inheritance rights, spousal privileges in court, and eligibility for certain benefits.


Privacy and Reputation: The annulment process typically involves the disclosure of sensitive information, potentially affecting the privacy and reputation of both spouses.


Remarriage: Once an annulment is granted, both parties are free to remarry as they are no longer legally bound to one another.





Annulment is a legal process that declares a marriage null and void, treating it as though it never legally existed. It is based on specific legal grounds, such as bigamy, lack of consent, fraud, or prohibited relationships. The annulment process can vary by jurisdiction and involves filing a formal petition, providing evidence, and undergoing legal proceedings.


Annulment has various legal consequences, including the dissolution of the marriage, property division, and resolution of financial and custody matters. Understanding annulment and its legal implications is essential for individuals seeking to annul a marriage and navigate the complexities of family law.


If you are considering an annulment or have questions on if it applies to a particular situation, contact us today.




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