During the difficult process of divorce, a couple must divide their marital assets. If the court is responsible for the division of marital property, the assets and debts are divided according to state law. In New York, as with many other states, this division is managed under equitable distribution laws. If you are facing a complex property division case, a New York divorce lawyer can advocate for your financial and personal interests.
What Is Equitable Distribution?
Equitable distribution means that property is divided based on what is considered fair and equitable. The split does not have to be equal or 50/50, although there are situations when an equal split is considered equitable. In many divorces, however, an equitable split means that one spouse receives a higher value of marital assets than the other spouse.
Typically, the goal of equitable distribution laws is that no long-term spousal support is needed, as each spouse receives the assets and finances they need to support themselves from their share of marital assets. There are still some situations where spousal support is necessary.
How Is an Equitable Split Decided?
The court will review certain factors about a couple’s marriage and how each spouse conducted themself in the marriage and with regard to marital property. These factors will determine what the court decides is equitable. These factors include:
- -The length of the couple’s marriage
- -Each spouse’s contributions to marital assets, including financial contributions and non-financial contributions such as care of a marital home
- -Each spouse’s unique financial needs after divorce
- -The age and general health of each spouse
- -Each spouse’s current income and separate assets
- -The skills, training, and education of each spouse and how that impacts their earning capacity
- -How liquid or non-liquid marital assets are
- -Each spouse’s debts and liabilities
- -Any misconduct or wasteful dissipation that harmed the value of marital assets
- -If spousal support was awarded in the divorce case
- -Each spouse’s wishes about the division of specific assets
Based on these and other factors, the court will determine what division of assets is fair to both spouses. An NYC Divorce Lawyer can be a useful asset to advocate for your wishes during this process.
Marital Property and Asset Division
Equitable distribution laws only apply to marital assets and debts. Marital property includes any assets or debts gained during a couple’s marriage, with some exceptions. Marital property typically includes:
- -Each spouse’s income
- -Property and assets obtained with marital assets
- -Retirement benefits
- -Appreciation of marital property during the marriage
There are some assets gained during a marriage, such as gifts or inheritance provided to only one spouse, that are considered separate property. The court assumes that all assets obtained during a marriage are marital assets unless either spouse shows proof otherwise.
Separate Property and Asset Division
Each spouse’s separate property is not divided during a divorce. Separate property includes nearly any property each spouse gained prior to the marriage. Separate property also includes:
- -Individual gifts or inheritance
- -Personal injury legal claim compensation
- -Property labeled as separate by a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement
- -Separate assets and any appreciation in value, with some exceptions
There are many ways that separate assets can become marital assets. If a spouse has a separate asset, and their spouse contributes to its increase in value, that appreciation is likely to be marital property. Assets can also be made marital assets through commingling or transmutation. Commingled assets may occur if spouses combine separate bank accounts. Transmuted assets are when assets are purposefully retitled or altered to be the property of both spouses.
Q: What Is a Husband Entitled to in Divorce in New York?
A: Each spouse, regardless of gender, has equal rights to marital property. If the court decides the division of assets, the court assumes spouses have an equal claim until it reviews specific factors about the marriage and contribution to assets. Then, the court will decide what a fair distribution is. A spouse is entitled to their equitable share of marital assets. They may also be awarded spousal support, depending on the financial circumstances of each spouse.
Q: How Do Assets Get Divided in a Divorce in New York?
A: In a New York divorce, spouses can decide how they want to divide property if they can reach a separation agreement. If they cannot reach an agreement, the court will use equitable distribution laws to decide the division of assets for them.
Separate assets, or assets that spouses owned prior to marriage, are not subject to division. Marital assets, which include nearly all assets obtained during a marriage, are split between spouses based on what the court considers equitable.
Q: How Many Years Do You Have to Be Married to Get Alimony in New York?
A: There is no set amount of time spouses must be married to receive alimony, and there is no amount of time spouses must be married to guarantee alimony. However, the longer a marriage is, the more likely it is that the court will award spousal support.
The length of the marriage does impact how long an ex-spouse will receive alimony payments if alimony is awarded. For marriages lasting less than 15 years, alimony payments last for 15% to 30% of the duration of the marriage. For marriages lasting longer than 20 years, alimony may last for 35% to 50% of the length of the marriage.
Q: Who Is Entitled to Spousal Support in New York?
A: Spousal support is never guaranteed in a divorce case, and the court will consider many factors when determining whether to award it. One of the most important factors is if either spouse has the financial need for spousal support. Other factors include:
- -The length of the marriage
- -The income and financial ability of each spouse
- -The standard of living during the marriage
- -The ability of the paying spouse to pay for support
The purpose of spousal support is to provide a lower-earning spouse with financial stability if they can’t provide for their own needs during or after divorce.
Determining Your Options for Property Division
A divorce is often very financially straining, and each spouse may feel both emotionally and financially stressed during the division of assets. An experienced New York divorce attorney can help you and your spouse reach a resolution in a separation agreement, which can give you both more security and control. If a separation agreement isn’t possible, an attorney can represent you in divorce court.
The Law Offices of Robert Tsigler, PLLC, wants to provide you with exceptional and detailed legal care. Contact our firm today.