There are two major things to keep in mind when thinking about property division in New York divorce: first, the distinction between “separate” and “marital” properties, and second, the idea of “equitable distribution.”
When it comes to determining separate vs. marital assets, one rule of thumb is that if you had it before you were married, it is typically a separate property, and not subject to distribution.
If you owned a home, even an investment home, prior to the marriage, that shouldn’t be up for distribution.
However, if you owned a home, got married, and your spouse invested thousands in a top-to-bottom renovation, your spouse may insist on a financial settlement that provides some compensation for that investment.
Some things you may receive during a marriage are still separate assets.
If you receive an inheritance or win a damage award in a lawsuit, those moneys or goods are yours and not the property of the marriage.
Otherwise, things you buy during the marriage, even if you use your own money and have the asset only in your name, are typically marital property.
Under equitable distribution rules, the goal of property division is to help both parties remain financially intact by creating a fair, if not equal, allocation of the marriage’s debts and assets.
Rather than a 50-50 split, the court may expect that the lower earning spouse get a slightly higher percentage of proceeds, or that the spouse who invested more in improvements gets a slightly higher return.
The attorneys at Zelenitz, Shapiro & D’Agostino can help you negotiate the best possible outcome.
Call us today at 718-523-1111 and talk to an experienced divorce lawyer for free.