In the divorce process, if a couple disagrees on division of the assets and debts, then the courts decide how the property will be divided. Everything you own will be separated into real property, such as your house, and personal property, such as cars and furniture. This is called a “property division order.”
What is Equitable Distribution of Assets?
New York is an “equitable distribution” state, meaning that when a couple divorces, the property is divided fairly, according to each party’s contribution to the marriage, and what each party will need to re-establish a life in the future. Equitable distribution does not require that each party receive an equal half, but rather a fair share from the couple’s time and contributions in the marriage.
Considerations in Equitable Distribution
In order to divide property equitably, a judge may consider the following:
- Each spouse’s income when they married and when the divorce was filed
- Duration of the marriage
- Each spouse’s age and health
- Needs of custodial parent and children, such as family home, furniture
- Spousal maintenance
- Tax consequences for each party
- Whether one or both parties wastefully dissipated marital assets, transferred or encumbered marital property in anticipation of divorce
Creating a Property Inventory
When you are getting ready to divide your assets it is a good idea to create a property inventory. You’ll want to make a complete list of all of your property that belongs to both you and your spouse. Do not hide your assets, because anything that is left out of the property settlement will have to be dealt with later.
There are also assets that you may not realize that you will have to divide such as:
- Pension and retirement accounts
- Stocks and bonds
- Certificates of deposit
- Money market accounts
- Items from your safety deposit box
Separate Property is Not Considered in Equitable Distribution
Any property that belongs to only one party is considered separate property. Each spouse will keep their own separate property, such as:
- Property acquired before marriage
- Property received individually as inheritance or gift
- Compensation for personal injuries
- Property identified as separate property in a valid prenuptial agreement
Contact an Experienced New York Family Law Attorney | Bombardo Law Office, P.C.
If you have any further questions about assets that will be divided during your divorce or are in need of legal advice or representation, please contact Bombardo Law Office, P.C.