Division of Marital Property


Division of Marital Property in East Islip, New York

For many divorcing couples, diving their properties and assets is one of the most challenging and stressful parts of a divorce. The division of marital property is rarely easy, so getting the help of a Suffolk County divorce attorney is best. 

Before marrying your spouse, you probably already owned properties, had savings in cash or had other investments. The same may be true for your spouse, and the properties and assets you owned before your marriage are called separate property. 

During your marriage, you and your spouse might have obtained more properties and assets. These are called marital property or marital estate. You and your spouse may exclude specific properties from the marital property by setting up a marital agreement such as a prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement. Without having such an agreement, your properties are presumed to be shared property between you and your spouse, except for inherited property, worker’s compensation or personal injury awards, and gifts from a third party.

Equitable Distribution in New York

New York is an equitable distribution state, which means that the court will divide the property between a couple in an honest manner. Before adopting the equitable distribution method, “New York practiced common law property distribution. It meant that the court distributes the property owned by either spouse during a divorce proceeding according to who holds the title. For example, if only your name were on the title, then you would receive the property.

New York is an equitable distribution state. When you file for divorce, the court will divide the marital property equitably or fairly. However, this doesn’t automatically mean that the property is divided into equal parts between the couple. When dividing the property between divorcing couples, a judge will consider:

  • The income of each spouse
  • The duration of the marital relationship
  • The age and mental and physical health of each spouse
  • A custodial parent’s need to own or occupy the family home 
  • Ways in which either spouse has contributed to the other’s educational or career opportunities
  • The health benefits, pension, or inheritance either spouse would risk losing because of the divorce
  • Spousal support (if any)
  • The future financial conditions of each spouse
  • Tax concerns related to the property division
  • Other factors that are considered as “just and proper” by the divorce court (N.Y. Dom. Rel. § 236 (B)(5).)

Aside from these factors, the court also considers what each spouse may lose after divorce, such as pension rights, health benefits, and interest in an inheritance. Future losses in terms of taxes are also evaluated. 

Contact our East Islip law firm today at 631-920-3848 for an initial consultation.

What Properties are Subject to Equitable Distribution in New York?

Under divorce laws in New Court, the court only divides marital property, and both spouses can keep their separate properties. The property types usually divided when getting a divorce are a real property such as a family home, personal property, and intangible property such as benefits, income, and debts. Debts are treated the same as any other property.

Before dividing property, the court determines whether it is marital or separate property and assigns ownership accordingly to provide an equitable result.

Marital property consists of all properties acquired by the couple, regardless of whether they bought it together or individually. Marital property can include:

  • Earned income of each spouse during marriage
  • Acquired properties from either spouse’s income
  • Properties that the married couple purchased during the marriage (e.g., a car or house)
  • Retirement benefits and pension each spouse earning during the marriage

At divorce, the court only divides the marital property. It can’t give any property that is yours (before or during marriage) to your spouse. However, the court considers all your financial resources (separate and marital property) when deciding how much alimony to award.

Going through the divorce process can often be emotionally charged and stressful. If you need help with your division of marital property, contact an East Islip division of marital property attorney today. Our family law and divorce law firm can help you agree on your marital property division, child custody, visitation rights, and other family law concerns. Contact our East Islip law firm at 631-920-3848 today!

Separate Property

The court doesn’t divide separate properties when couples file for divorce. Instead, each spouse can keep their property, except properties that the other spouse has contributed.

Separate property only belongs to one spouse. The most common forms of separate property are:

  • Property owned before marriage
  • Gifts received by one spouse before or during marriage
  • Property acquired during marriage under one spouse’s name 
  • Inheritance received before or during marriage
  • Worker’s compensation or personal injury claims
  • Property obtained by one spouse using separate property assets 
  • Any property characterized as separate property in a valid prenuptial or postnuptial agreement
  • Any increase of your separate property, unless the increase is due to the contributions or efforts of your spouse

Hiding Assets Before Divorce

If you’re contemplating divorce, you may bay be concerned about how your property and assets are divided. If you have a considerable amount of assets or cash, you may be tempted to transfer, sell, or hide those assets.

Although you may get away with hiding assets to prevent them from being included in the equitable distribution settlement, you’re taking a considerable risk.

During a divorce proceeding, you will through the discovery process where each party involved gathers information from each other such as bank statements, financial statements, and 401(k) plans. You’ll also be required to provide a live testimony under oath about your assets and properties. If you attempt to lie during the discovery process to hide assets, you may face legal trouble. You may face monetary fines or a perjury case if found guilty of lying.

A court may also order you to provide financial information or report assets. If you refuse the order, such as refusing to share account information or where the money is, the court may hold you in contempt of court.

The legal process of getting a divorce can sometimes be complicated and time-consuming. Whether you’re going through a contested or uncontested divorce, hiding your assets is never the answer to your divorce concerns. Getting a good divorce and a division of marital property attorney can help you handle your estate and assets during a divorce proceeding. At Donato Law, we have experienced East Islip divorce lawyers who can help you achieve the fairest divorce settlement possible in New York. Contact us today at 631-920-3848 to know more.

Business in Division of Property in East Islip, NY

Some assets, like cash, can easily be divided between a divorcing couple. On the other hand, dividing a business between a couple can be complex. The court orders a couple to get an official business evaluation to determine how much a business is worth during a divorce. Once its value is selected, the court can order a distributive award or a payment for one spouse to another to balance the uneven distribution of property if it is impractical to divide the asset.

Need Help with Division of Marital Property in New York? 

Our East Islip New York attorneys at Donato Law can help. Our East Islip family law, estate planning & business law firm can provide legal assistance if you have issues with your division of marital property, as well as provide legal counsel for other divorce matters such as child support, spousal support, or divorce modification.

Contact our East Easlip law firm today at 631-920-3848 for an intial consultation.


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