Understanding ‘Equitable Division of Property’ in New York
Like in most other states, New York law calls for the equitable division of marital property when a couple gets divorced. It’s important to note that “equitable” is not the same as “equal,” although it can be in some situations. The focus is on creating a property division arrangement that is fair, taking into account what each spouse contributed financially to the marriage and what each spouse needs to maintain a reasonable standard of living in the future.
New York used to be a “common law property” state, in which the property owned by either spouse was distributed according to how the property was titled. If only one name appeared on the title, that person would receive the property outright.
An equitable division arrangement can be much more complex and takes into consideration a greater variety of factors. These include the following:
- The income of each spouse
- The property each spouse owned at the time of marriage and divorce
- Each spouse’s health and age
- One parent’s need to live in the family home or use property inside of it
- Either spouse’s potential lost pension, insurance or inheritance rights stemming from the divorce
- Whether the court awarded spousal maintenance
- Whether either spouse has a claim to marital property to which the spouse does not have the title
- The financial circumstances of each spouse coming out of the divorce
- The overall character of marital property (liquid versus non-liquid)
- Whether either spouse has purposefully wasted marital assets during the divorce
- Whether either spouse transferred marital property to other people or accounts in anticipation of divorce
- Any other factor the court believes to be relevant
For more information and guidance on equitable property division in New York, contact a divorce attorney with Bryan L. Salamone & Associates.