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How Does Equitable Distribution Work in a New York Divorce?

One of the big issues that can extend the length of a divorce is property division. This is naturally an important aspect of the process, as it has to be determined who gets what when moving on. The results could drastically change your future.

At the Meyers Law Group, P.C., we are committed to giving our clients quality service while fully defending their rights. We also want to keep you informed about this process. Below, we answer some common questions about property division in a Long Island divorce.

What is equitable distribution?
It is a manner of dividing property that strives to do so fairly. While courts will often assume that this an equal split, they are also open to realizing that this is not always fair. A 50/50 division of property is far from guaranteed. Equitable distribution gives couples the chance to attain results that are truly just.

What factors are considered for an equitable distribution?
When it is up to a judge to decide on property division, then he or she will examine several factors. This includes how much each spouse made during the marriage and at the point of divorce, how long the marriage lasted, and the health and age of each spouse. A judge will assess the earning capacity of each spouse. Child custody also bears on this, as a judge will consider whether the custodial parent should keep the house and/or any of the technology, furniture, etc. within. A judge will also look at whether a spouse will lose out on any pensions, health insurance, or inheritance due to the divorce. The existence or lack of alimony is also considered. The type of marital property is also a factor, and a judge will look at whether either spouse misspent any assets. Many other factors can come in to bear on this involved issue.

What property is divided in a divorce?
Marital property gets divided. This entails each spouse's salary, purchases with that salary, retirement benefits, and more from during the marriage. What each spouse will keep is separate property, which are the assets and debts that one had before marriage. Separate property also includes any gifts or inheritance during marriage that were expressly for one spouse alone. Other property, such as a settlement from a personal injury lawsuit, would also be separate property.

What about my business? Will this get split up?
A business or professional practice will not always be split up, but it can be equitably divided under many circumstances. Even if a spouse has professional certification, this increases his or her earning capacity, which may mean that the less qualified spouse may get more property to make up for this. Sometimes, the spouse who owns a company will keep it in its entirety, while the other spouse will get more property to compensate. This is often a simpler solution, as dividing business interests can be a tricky issue to manage.

The final result to your specific case rests on many circumstances. To ensure that you achieve the fairest result, it would be invaluable to retain an experienced Long Island divorce attorney. When you need legal representation that you can rely on, you can trust our firm. We can help you make sure that your spouse gives a full financial disclosure, and that all marital property is correctly categorized.

If you have any questions concerning equitable distribution or any other aspect of divorce, we are ready with answers. Contact a divorce attorney in Long Island from our firm today. Find out how we can help you to succeed in taking the next steps in life.