Divorcing in New York? Brace Yourself for Equitable Division of Assets
New York is one of 39 states that enforce the equitable division of assets in divorce cases. The state recognizes marriage as an economic union; the wealth and assets that a husband and a wife bring into their marriage become marital property. Should they decide to part ways, a New York judge will divide their assets based on the state’s equitable division laws.
Equitable Division: Fair, Not Equal, Division
Equitable division seeks to ensure a fair division of marital property, but it is often difficult to enforce. There are many factors to consider, such as liquidity, each spouse’s contribution to the marriage, their respective needs and financial potential, and so forth. Furthermore, fair division does not translate into equal division; judges may divide assets based on future needs instead of splitting a couple’s wealth in half.
Asset division is, without a doubt, one of the more complicated aspects of a divorce in New York. Whether they’re from Queens, Nassau, or Suffolk County, ex-spouses should hire experienced divorce lawyers who’ll help them navigate the New York divorce process.
Asset Division: By Property or Value?
It’s tricky to divide marital property because not all of them are liquid. Land, real estate, and cars, for example, are non-liquid assets and are difficult to split between two parties.
Selling is a logical solution because it’s easier to divide money than property, but some may not want to let go of their house or car. In this case, a judge may award each party a percentage of the total value of their combined wealth and allow the couple to decide which assets will make up their respective shares. The judge will step in and divide the assets, however, if the couple cannot agree on a settlement.
Pre-Wedding Assets vs. Wealth Contribution During Marriage
Not all properties are marital property. Assets, real estate, and debts owned before the marriage, as well as inherited and gifted properties, are separate property; they aren’t subject to equitable division. There could be special cases, however, when a spouse may file a claim on his or her ex’s property.
Dividing marital assets is not easy, but a seasoned divorce attorney can help make the process less painful and complicated.