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Factors a New York court may consider when dividing property

On Behalf of | May 8, 2024 | Divorce |

In New York, when a marriage ends, the process of dividing the couple’s property is not as straightforward as splitting everything in half. Instead, the courts use a principle known as equitable distribution. This legal rule divides marital property in a fair but not equal way, considering a variety of factors.

This approach recognizes that each spouse has made different contributions to the marriage and has different needs moving forward. The goal is to reach an outcome that is just and reasonable for both parties.

The factors are as follows:

  1. Personal circumstances: The court considers what each spouse earned and owned at the time of marriage and divorce, as well as their age, health and potential future financial circumstances.
  2. Nature and value of assets: The court looks at the liquidity of all assets, the difficulty of valuing certain assets and whether either spouse wasted or transferred any property below market value during the divorce process.
  3. Impact on spouse and children: The court considers the needs of the spouse with custody to live in the marital home and any loss of inheritance, pension rights and health insurance benefits due to the divorce.
  4. Contributions and awards: The court reviews whether one spouse contributed to the property and the support or maintenance that will be awarded.
  5. Tax consequences: The court also considers the tax implications for each party as part of the equitable distribution of property.

These factors aim to ensure a fair distribution of assets.

Addressing changes to circumstances

In some cases, changes in circumstances can affect the equitable distribution of property. For example, suddenly getting a lot more money—like from an inheritance or winning the lottery—during the divorce can complicate the already complex divorce process.

Figuring out how to handle this situation can be challenging. Those going through similar changes should consider getting help from an attorney. An attorney can protect a spouse’s legal rights and help get a fair outcome, even when things change.