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Equitable Distribution Attorney

In the State of New York, the division of marital property is governed by the principles of equitable distribution. This does not necessarily mean that all assets and debts are distributed equally; rather, distribution is done in an equitable manner. In deciding how marital property is equitably distributed, the court is required to consider fourteen statutory factors which include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. The income and property of each party at the time of marriage, and at the time of the commencement of the action;
  2. The duration of the marriage and the age and health of both parties;
  3. Any equitable claim to, interest in, or direct or indirect contribution made to the acquisition of such marital property by the party not having title, including joint efforts or expenditures and contributions and services as a spouse, parent, wage earner and homemaker, and to the career or career potential of the other party;
  4. The probable future financial circumstances of each party;
  5. The wasteful dissipation of assets by either spouse.

Marital property is defined, generally, as property that was accumulated during the course of the marriage. In comparison, where a party has assets that were owned before the marriage, has received assets via inheritance or gift from third parties, or has received money from a personal injury settlement, those assets can be deemed the separate property of the titled spouse. Separate property is not subject to equitable distribution and remains in the name of the titled spouse if that spouse is able to prove that the asset in question is separate property. However, where separate property appreciates in value during the marriage, the appreciation can, under certain circumstances, constitute a marital asset subject to equitable distribution between the parties. Our attorneys can help you gain a better understanding of the way that equitable distribution works in New York.

How Equitable Distribution Works

Upon divorce, all marital assets and marital debt must be divided through the process of equitable distribution. Equitable distribution should not be confused for equal distribution. Rather, it is the fair distribution of marital assets. Deciding what is fair and equitable is left to the discretion of the divorce court, wherein a judge will weigh the requests of each party to make the appropriate division of marital assets if your matter is not settled. Assests that are deemed seperate property will not be subject to equitable distribution.

What constitutes a marital asset has been broadly defined over the years. Businesses and professional practices opened or aquired during the marriage can be subject to equitable distribution. Even when a business or professional practice may be seperate property, any appreciation in its value during the marriage can be subject to equitable distribution. That which has enhanced the earning capacity or led to the attainment of a career, such as the acquisition of a professional license or degree, is also considered property that will be subject to equitable distribution. At Jeffrey S. Schecter & Associates, P.C., we have substantial experience handling high net worth cases with significant assets that will be subject to equitable distribution, and are adept at assisting you in understanding your equitable distribution rights and entitlement.