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What Is Equitable Distribution?

All states use a property assessment policy of some type when deciding asset distribution in a divorce proceeding. Some states use community property law, but others like New York use equitable distribution policy. This means that each asset is evaluated for independent ownership before it is eligible for distribution, and property may or may not be divided equally between the divorcing spouses. Equitable distribution determination takes into account several aspects of the divorce that can include certain factors such as one spouse not working while taking care of the home and the other providing primary income. Here are the situations most courts evaluate.

Prenuptial agreements

Prenuptial contracts are generally binding and enforceable in most cases, and they are very common in New York. Other forms of exempted property designation include proceeds from personal injury claims and inheritance. Property owned prior to the marriage is usually exempt as well when marital asset division is ordered.

Grounds for divorce

While this does not necessarily apply in divorces in some states, the reasoning behind seeking a divorce does matter in New York. Additionally, it can also impact determinations in property division. Spouses who have been abandoned could find themselves in possession of all marital property, including when a spouse is incarcerated for more than three years.

Financial need

Financial need can also be part of the equation when property is divided in a New York divorce. Spouses who have sacrificed a career or have not worked in order to raise the family could have a specific financial need such as educational training that the working spouse could be required to provide. This is often part of any monetary settlement that may be reached.

Always remember that the concept of equally shared ownership of assets may not apply in a New York divorce. All marriages are different in some aspect, and the final divorce rulings can reflect those factors.




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