Separating marital property in New York
When going through a divorce in NY, people should understand how marital property is divided.
Going through a divorce is not an easy task. Not only are there often strong emotions involved, but couples are faced with difficult tasks, such as dividing property that was accumulated during the course of the marriage. New York follows an equitable distribution of property model, which means that all marital property is divided between spouses in an equitable manner. This does not necessarily mean that everything is divided equally in half. The judge appointed to the case will decide who is entitled to what in the divorce settlement after careful consideration of several factors.
What factors are considered?
If the parties cannot agree, the trial judge will decide the issue of distribution of assets after considering the proof presented at trial and certain statutory factors, including, but not limited to, the following:
· How long the marriage lasted.
· The age and health of each party.
· The income, occupation and training of each party.
· The extent to which each party contributed to the accumulation of marital property.
· Which person would have the best tax benefits.
The court will also look at the extent to which each party contributed to the accumulation of marital property. For example, if one spouse stayed home and supported the other while he or she pursued a career, the judge may use this when determining property division.
Is all property divided?
Not all property is eligible for division in a divorce. Some items and assets may be considered separate property and will most likely stay with the original owner after the marriage is terminated. According to New York statutes, separate property includes any property that was amassed prior to the marriage, as well as any third-party gifts that were given to either party before, during or after the marriage. In addition, inheritance money and personal injury compensation will also stay with the original owner. There are some conditions to the rule.
To stay separate, the property and/or assets must stay separated from the marital estate. For example, once a person has the title of a separate property in their name revised to include the other spouse’s name, the property become marital and is then eligible for division. Similarly, any separate money that is deposited into a joint bank account may become divided in a divorce settlement, unless proof establishes that there was no donative intent
Getting legal guidance
If you are going through a divorce, you may have trouble making the important decisions that are necessary during this hard time. An attorney with experience in divorce and family law may be able to offer assistance and help you explore your legal options.