When you divorce in New York, you will need to divide your assets. First, you need to determine what qualifies as separate and marital property. Then you need to divide the marital property between you.
To work out how to divide the marital assets, a judge must consider 15 factors. Their goal is to reach an equitable distribution.
Equitable does not mean equal
Equitable means fair and impartial, so that may mean one of you gets more than the other if the judge deems that the appropriate outcome. These are the factors courts use to arrive at an equitable distribution of assets:
- Your incomes and properties when you married and when you file for divorce
- Your ages, health and how long you were married
- The needs of a parent with custody for the family house and contents
- Any loss of pension or inheritance due to divorce
- Any loss of entitlement to health insurance due to divorce
- Any maintenance awarded
- Each spouse’s contribution to the marriage and to the other’s earning potential
- The ease with which you can turn an asset into immediate cash
- Each partner’s future financial prospects
- The economic benefits to keeping assets such as a business in the hands of one party
- How the distribution of assets will affect tax for each person
- Any squandering of assets by one spouse
- Any attempts to sell or transfer assets to avoid having to share them
- Any domestic violence in the marriage
- Anything else the court thinks relevant
You may disagree with a judge’s interpretation of these factors. Getting help to explain your point of view will be crucial to getting the outcome you need when dividing property in your divorce.