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Marital property and the equitable distribution of assets

On Behalf of | Apr 2, 2024 | Divorce

When New York residents are contemplating divorce, the division of assets and debt is probably one of their primary concerns about the legal process. When it comes to property and debt division, there are two main terms that our readers should be familiar with: “marital property” and “equitable distribution.”

Basics of the process

Marital property comprises all of the assets that the married couple has jointly accumulated throughout the course of the marriage (with a few exceptions). Houses, vehicles, household furnishings, investments, artwork – if the couple accumulated the assets while married, the chances are that the assets will be considered marital property. That is, unless there is a good reason why an asset should be considered separate property – i.e., something that one spouse or the other already owned prior to the marriage or acquired during the marriage with funds that were totally separate from marital funds.

The reason that determining what is and what is not marital property is so important is because marital property will be subject to “equitable distribution” under New York divorce law. The equitable distribution doctrine is in place to ensure that the division of marital property is fair – and that doesn’t always mean a 50/50 split. As our readers can probably guess, there is quite a bit of subjectivity to the equitable distribution approach to marital property.

Property and debt division is a major aspect of divorce cases – in fact, it is part of all such cases. Be sure to get the right information about how your assets and debt will be addressed in your divorce case.