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What factors affect the equitable distribution of property?

There is little doubt that property division is a complex part of getting a divorce. Aside from matters involving children, it is the most dreaded portion of the divorce process in most cases. What you might not realize is that dividing marital property under New York's equitable distribution laws need not be frightening.

As in all legal matters, there exist rules that govern how courts ultimately divide property in a divorce. Once you--and hopefully your spouse--understand these rules, it takes at least some of the stress away from the process.

For example, many divorcing couples believe that they have no say at all in how their marital property is distributed. This is not necessarily the case. In fact, the court is more than willing to let the couple make these decisions whenever possible. This process typically proceeds smoothly under the guidance of an experienced attorney.

Working with your spouse cooperatively when making property division decisions is the best way to have your say in how property is divided. However, it is not always possible for a couple to reach an agreement. When this occurs, the court may need to assist. Some of the factors courts use to divide property under equitable distribution laws include:

  • The financial liabilities of each spouse
  • The length of the marriage
  • The custody arrangements of minor children born during the marriage
  • The health and age of each spouse
  • The current and future earning capacity of each spouse
  • The non-financial contributions of each spouse to the family

Preparing yourself ahead of time combined with professional guidance can make the property division process much easier than you might expect. This is often the case even in divorces involving high-value assets.

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