If you are considering a divorce or have already filed for divorce, you are probably wondering what will happen to your property and other assets. This is one of the major questions that spouses encounter when ending their marriage. Although every divorce is different, the courts in New York follow several guidelines when issuing property distribution decisions.

What is separate vs. marital property?

First, you must understand the distinction between separate property and marital property. Separate property is any property or assets such as bank accounts and real estate acquired before the marriage. Marital property is anything acquired after the marriage with the exception of assets received as a gift or as inheritance. Divorce courts divide only marital property; anything deemed separate property is yours to keep.

Equitable property distribution and how it will affect you

Every state in the United States follows one of two property asset laws: community property, or equitable distribution. New York is an equitable distribution state, which means that our courts must divide marital assets in a fair and equitable manner. Note that this does not necessarily mean fifty-fifty. In some divorces, one spouse receives a larger chunk of assets than the other. This is because courts consider several factors when issuing a decision, including:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The contribution of each spouse to the marriage
  • The income and earning potential of each spouse
  • Whether one spouse is requesting alimony

As we mentioned earlier, every divorce is different. Your divorce comes with a unique set of circumstances. It is not possible to determine how New York’s complex laws will affect your assets and finances without speaking to a skilled divorce attorney. Once you do, you will have a better idea of what to expect for your future.