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What you should know about New York’s equitable distribution laws

On Behalf of | Jul 1, 2022 | Divorce

The State of New York is considered an equitable distribution state. This means that splitting up property in a contested divorce is more complicated than dividing it in two equivalent portions for each spouse. Courts will consider multiple factors when considering how to divide up real estate and other property assets.

New York only considers property attained during the period of marriage for redistribution between the couple. Because of this, real estate and other assets obtained prior to marriage are generally secure. But what happens to assets obtained during marriage?

Factors considered in division

New York is not a community property state, so assets are not necessarily going to be evenly divided. There are many factors that contribute to how property is to be divided during a divorce. New York recognizes that sometimes one spouse may not have provided much by way of economic security toward the marriage but contributed substantially to homemaking.

The courts look at factors such as each spouses’ economic contributions, post-divorce earning potential, potential child custody considerations, the conduct of each spouse and more. Equitable distribution laws aim to give each spouse an equitable advantage based on their expected situation after divorce.

What is eligible for division?

As to what property is considered eligible for division, it is difficult to say. Property or assets owned by either spouse before marriage are exempt, but property and assets obtained during marriage may be divided.

This is where property division becomes much more difficult to determine. This type of property may be considered by the court to be partially or fully community property and subject to division. Co-mingled assets can particularly make for complicated divorce scenarios.

It is nearly impossible to predict how courts will divide assets but being able to accurately define your needs after divorce can help speed up the courts’ decision on how to distribute property, making the process easier for both parties involved.