How are Assets Divided in a Divorce?

Dividing assets is a difficult part of the divorce process. This can be true even if you and your spouse agree on the terms. Understanding some basic concepts about equitable distribution and how it works in New York will shed light on how your marital assets will be distributed during your divorce.

New York is an Equitable Distribution State

Equitable distribution is a statutory law which New York State has adopted to determine the fairest way to divide property and debt obtained during the marriage. This does not mean that you and your spouse get exactly half. It means that the Court will consider certain factors to determine a fair or equitable division of assets and debts for each spouse.

Some Factors that Determine How Assets are to be Divided

In determining how to distribute assets and debts, the Court will consider some of the following factors:

1. Both spouse’s incomes and property;

2. The length of the marriage;

3. How much income you anticipate earning after the divorce;

4. Which parent has custody of the children;

5. If there are pensions or family health insurance plans;

6. If a spouse is receiving alimony;

7. Whether you or your spouse have transferred or hid marital property when preparing to start the divorce process.

Only Marital Property or Debt is Divided During the Divorce

Assets you owned before getting married or assets you inherit are known as separate property. The Court cannot divide your separate property. The Court can only consider assets you obtained during the marriage, otherwise known as marital property. Stocks, securities, bank accounts, retirement accounts, 401(k)s, pensions, income, real estate, jewelry and other business interests if acquired during the marriage are all subject to equitable distribution.

Can I Stay in the Marital Residence If I Have Custody of the Kids?

Possibly. If your children are young, and you have primary custody, you may be able to live in the marital home until your children grow older. Some Courts actually prefer that children remain in a familiar setting during the divorce to maintain stability.

Contact Stepanian Law Firm for an attorney who is responsiveness to you and provides personal attention to your case.


We offer the first consultation for free and will provide you with the necessary guidance to find the best option for you. Call us at (646) 596-6874 today.



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