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At Cedeño Law Group, PLLC, located in the heart of New York City, we understand that the process of asset distribution during a divorce can be one of the most challenging aspects to navigate. Our experienced asset distribution attorneys are committed to providing you with the legal expertise and support necessary to ensure a fair and equitable division of assets. Whether you are going through a divorce or are planning for your future, our asset distribution lawyers are here to guide you every step of the way.

What is Asset Distribution in a Divorce?

Asset Distribution Attorney

In New York State, the process of asset distribution during a divorce is governed by the principle of equitable distribution. This means that the division of marital assets (and debts) is not necessarily equal but is intended to be fair and just according to the circumstances of each case. New York’s approach to asset distribution recognizes the complexity of marital partnerships and seeks to ensure that both parties leave the marriage on a footing that reflects their contribution to the union, their future needs, and their capacity to rebuild their lives independently.

The Different Types of Assets That Are Divided in Divorce

The division of assets in a divorce is a critical process that significantly affects both parties’ financial futures. Assets acquired during the marriage are subject to division under the principles of either community property or equitable distribution, depending on the state. Understanding the types of assets that can be divided helps both spouses prepare for the negotiations and decisions that lie ahead. Here’s an overview of the different types of assets commonly divided in a divorce:

Real Estate

  • Primary Residence: The marital home is often the most significant asset. Decisions must be made about whether one spouse will retain the home and buy out the other’s interest, whether the home will be sold and the proceeds divided, or if other arrangements will be made, especially concerning child custody considerations.
  • Secondary Properties: include vacation homes, rental properties, and other real estate investments. These assets are appraised and divided according to the couple’s agreement or court decision.

Businesses and Professional Practices

  • Businesses Owned by One or Both Spouses: The division of a business requires a valuation to determine its worth, considering its assets, debts, and future earning potential. Decisions regarding the business interest’s continued operation, sale, or buy-out are complex and crucial.
  • Professional Practices: Similar to businesses, but may require additional considerations for the individual’s professional contribution and future earning capacity.

Financial Accounts

  • Bank Accounts: This includes checking and savings accounts, whether held jointly or in one spouse’s name. Funds accumulated during the marriage are typically considered marital property.
  • Investment Accounts: Stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and other investment vehicles are subject to division. The division is based on the value of these investments at the time of the divorce.

Retirement Accounts and Pensions

  • Retirement Savings Accounts: 401(k)s, IRAs, and other retirement accounts accumulated during the marriage are divisible assets. A Qualified
  • Domestic Relations Order (QDRO): may be used to distribute these funds without penalty.
  • Pension Plans: The portion of pension benefits accrued during the marriage is considered marital property and can be divided using a QDRO or similar legal instrument.

Personal Property

  • Vehicles: Cars, boats, and other vehicles acquired during the marriage are subject to division.
  • Furniture, Art, and Collectibles: Household items, artworks, and collectibles may have both monetary and sentimental value and need to be divided.

Intangible Assets

  • Intellectual Property Rights: Copyrights, patents, trademarks, and other intellectual property acquired during the marriage may generate income and are considered in asset division.
  • Life Insurance Policies: Cash-value life insurance policies may be divided as part of the marital estate.


  • Marital Debt: Loans, credit card debts, mortgages, and other liabilities incurred during the marriage are also divided. Debt division is an integral part of the asset distribution process.

Each type of asset has unique valuation and division considerations, requiring careful negotiation and, often, the involvement of financial experts and legal professionals. The goal in dividing these assets is to reach an equitable distribution or, in community property states, an equal division that allows both spouses to move forward with financial security. Understanding these asset types and preparing for their division is crucial for anyone going through a divorce.

Marital Versus Individual Property

Understanding the distinction between marital and individual (or separate) property is crucial in a divorce, as it directly influences how assets are divided between spouses. State laws govern this distinction, which can vary, but generally, the principles are consistent across jurisdictions.

Marital Property

Marital property includes almost all assets and debts acquired by either spouse during the marriage, regardless of whose name is on the title or account. Common examples of marital property include:

  • Income earned by either spouse during the marriage
  • Homes and other real estate properties acquired during the marriage
  • Personal property, such as cars and furniture, bought during the marriage
  • Investment accounts and retirement savings accumulated during the marriage
  • Businesses started or grown during the marriage

The fundamental principle is that these assets are considered the product of the marital partnership and therefore should be divided equitably (fairly, though not necessarily equally) or equally (in community property states), depending on state law.

Individual (Separate) Property

Individual or separate property refers to assets that belong solely to one spouse, typically because they were:

  • Owned by one spouse before the marriage
  • Inherited by one spouse before or during the marriage
  • Received as a gift to one spouse alone, not from the other spouse
  • Designated as separate property by a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement

Separate property also includes items purchased with or proceeds from separate property, as long as those items or proceeds can be traced back to the original separate property.

Important Considerations

  • Commingling: Separate property can become marital property if it is commingled with marital assets in a way that it loses its separate identity. For example, if one spouse inherits money and then deposits it into a joint bank account used for marital expenses, that inheritance may be considered marital property.
  • Appreciation of Separate Property: The increase in value of separate property during the marriage can sometimes be considered marital property, especially if the appreciation is due to the efforts or investments of both spouses. For example, if one spouse owns a home prior to the marriage and the other spouse contributes to mortgage payments or significant improvements, the increase in the home’s value may be considered a marital asset.
  • Debts: Similar to assets, debts incurred during the marriage are typically considered marital liabilities and divided between the spouses during a divorce. Debts incurred before the marriage are usually considered the responsibility of the individual who incurred them.

In the event of a divorce, distinguishing between marital and separate property is a critical first step in the asset division process. This distinction can significantly affect the outcome of the division, impacting both parties’ financial futures. Given the complexities involved, including the potential for disputes over what constitutes marital vs. separate property, many individuals find it beneficial to work with experienced divorce attorneys who can help navigate these issues and advocate for a fair division of assets.

How an Asset Distribution Lawyer Can Help

At our law firm, we understand that the process of dividing assets during a divorce can be one of the most stressful and complicated aspects of ending a marriage. Our experienced asset distribution lawyers are here to guide you through this complex process, ensuring that your rights are protected and that you achieve a fair and equitable distribution of marital assets. Here’s how an asset distribution lawyer from our firm can assist you:

Experienced Legal Advice

Our asset distribution lawyers provide expert legal advice based on years of experience and a deep understanding of state laws governing divorce and asset division. We help you understand the distinction between marital and individual property, how assets are valued, and the factors courts consider in distributing assets. With our guidance, you can make informed decisions throughout your divorce proceedings.

Asset Valuation and Identification

Identifying and valuing marital assets is a critical step in asset distribution. Our asset distribution lawyers work with financial experts to accurately assess the value of all types of assets, from real estate and retirement accounts to businesses and personal property. We ensure that all assets are properly identified, valued, and categorized as either marital or individual property, providing a clear picture of what is subject to division.

Negotiation and Settlement

Many couples prefer to reach an agreement on asset distribution outside of court to avoid a lengthy and costly legal battle. Our asset distribution lawyers are skilled negotiators who can represent your interests in discussions with your spouse’s attorney or in mediation sessions. We strive to reach a settlement that is fair and aligns with your goals, taking into consideration the unique aspects of your case.


If negotiations do not result in a satisfactory agreement, our asset distribution lawyers are prepared to advocate for your interests in court. We have extensive experience litigating divorce cases and are well-equipped to present a compelling case on your behalf, arguing for an equitable division of assets that considers your contributions to the marriage and future needs.

Protecting Your Financial Future

Our goal is to protect your financial future. Whether through negotiation or litigation, we aim to secure a division of assets that allows you to move forward with confidence and stability. We consider all factors, including potential tax implications and long-term financial planning, to ensure that the outcome of your divorce positions you as strongly as possible for the next chapter of your life.

Compassionate Support

We understand the emotional toll that divorce can take. Our NYC divorce lawyers provide not only legal representation but also compassionate support throughout the process. We are here to answer your questions, address your concerns, and offer guidance at every step, ensuring that you never feel alone during this challenging time.

Choosing an asset distribution lawyer from our firm means partnering with a dedicated advocate who is committed to achieving the best possible outcome for you. Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist you with your asset distribution needs during your divorce.

Ready to Protect Your Financial Future? Contact Us Today.

Don’t navigate the complexities of asset distribution alone. Our experienced asset distribution lawyers are here to guide you through every step, ensuring a fair and equitable resolution. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards securing your future financial status post-divorce.



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