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How do New York courts handle property division in divorce?

As if the emotional pain of divorce is not difficult enough, it typically comes with complicated legal hurdles as well. Even couples that do not have children together must often face elements of divorce that are complex and frustrating to say the very least. Property division is one such element that can turn an otherwise simple process into a battlefield.

New York, along with many other states, uses the equitable distribution model to determine what each spouse walks away with after divorcing. While this may sound simple, it is one of the most misunderstood aspects of divorce. For example, many people think equitable means they will get an equal share or even half of the marital property, but that is not always the case.

A qualified divorce attorney can help you understand how marital assets are distributed in New York. However, you can help yourself by learning a little about the process before your first consultation with your lawyer. In many cases, this helps both you and your legal counsel address your property division goals much faster. Below are several elements family law courts look at to divide a couple's marital property.

  • Each spouse's financial needs
  • Present and future earning capacity of each spouse
  • Non-financial contributions of each spouse to the family
  • The length of the marriage
  • Each spouse's financial contributions to the marital assets
  • The value of any separate property each spouse may own

It is also crucial to understand that the court may also look at any unfavorable actions on the part of each spouse to determine property division. Two examples of unfavorable behaviors include adultery and domestic violence. This is an important topic to discuss in-depth with your chosen divorce attorney.

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