When the marriage is over and the couple decides to go their separate ways, one of the most important steps they will take is dividing the marital property. Often, divorcing couples tend to reach a settlement on their own.
Sometimes, however, property division may require court intervention. When this happens, the court will oversee the division of marital property according to New York’s marital property laws.
But first, what is marital property?
Only marital assets (and debts) can be subjected to division during the divorce. Thus, before dividing marital property, the court must start by separating marital assets from personal assets.
Basically, marital assets refer to any property acquired by either party during the marriage, with a few exceptions. Marital property includes income earned by both parties while in marriage, property acquired during the marriage as well as retirement benefits.
Separate property includes anything acquired by either party before entering the marriage, inherited property, compensation from personal injury lawsuits or any property classified as “separate” in a prenuptial agreement.
Understanding New York marital property laws
New York is one of the 41 states that apply equitable distribution law when dividing marital property. Basically, this does not mean that marital property will be automatically split on a 50-50 basis. Rather, equitable distribution of marital property means that the court will consider a number of factors to attain fairness while distributing marital property.
Some of the factors the court will take into account during property division include:
- Each party’s contribution during the marriage as well as during the divorce
- Each party’s age and health status
- Each party’s future financial needs
- The duration of the marriage
- Tax implications
- Alimony and child support awards
- Any other factor that the court will deem relevant in ensuring equitable division of the assets
Property division is a critical aspect of the divorce process. Find out how you can safeguard your rights and interests while assessing the subject of property division.