What factors guide the courts in splitting your marital assets?

The process of ending your marriage can be a destabilizing experience. You may feel like you are certain about nothing in your life anymore when your marriage starts to come undone. The very act of divorcing can increase that sense of instability because it is difficult to predict the exact outcome of a divorce.

Not knowing what assets you can keep, how much time you can spend with your children or where you will live can feel like a frightening prospect. For contested or litigated divorces, it can feel like the couple has very little control over the outcome when courts become involved.

If you don’t have a valid prenuptial agreement on record, the financial outcome of your divorce will largely depend on New York State’s laws of Equitable Distribution. The Judge has a significant amount of discretion in how they equitably divide your assets, there are certain factors that directly play into the property division process in a New York divorce.

Your family and financial circumstances play a crucial role

Myths about divorce abound, and too many people mistakenly believe that their gender, their age or even their profession will influence whether the courts rule in their favor or not. However, despite all the misinformation and half-truths circulating about divorce, the judge has an obligation to comply with New York state law and the equitable distribution standard.

In order to find a fair and equitable way to split up your assets and debts, the judge will need to look closely at certain details from your marriage. The following are some of the factors that the Judge will weigh in dividing your assets and debts:

  • The length of your marriage
  • The financial and non-financial contributions each spouse made
  • The professional status and income of each spouse
  • The health status of each spouse
  • The custody arrangements for minor children shared by the couple

The Judge is bound by the rules of equitable distribution.  If you and your spouse are unable to reach a creative settlement through negotiation or other alternative methods of divorce such as Collaborative Law, the Judge is given discretion in dividing your assets, but must adhere to the law in dividing your assets and debts.

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