When a couple goes through a divorce, there are many things they need to take care of before they may go their separate ways. One of the most important parts of a divorce is dividing a couple’s assets between the two of them. In some cases, a couple may be able to come to an agreement on splitting their belongings by themselves and not have to go to court. Other times, they may argue if they both believe they are entitled to more than the other. When this happens, a couple may have to go to court in order to settle their disagreements. An experienced attorney in Long Island can help guide you through divorce proceedings.
Marital Property vs. Separate Property
When a couple goes to court to decide how to split their assets, a judge may be in charge of making the decisions. In order to do so, the judge will decipher the differences between marital property and separate property. The differences between the two are as follows:
- Marital Property: Any assets and debts acquired during the marriage by both spouses. This also includes any properties acquired before the marriage that was then agreed upon as marital property.
- Separate Property: Any assets and debts acquired before the marriage and agreed to stay as separate property. This may include other properties, gifts, and inheritance.
New York is an “equitable distribution” state. Equitable distribution is the splitting of a couple’s assets in a fair and just way. When assets are split fairly, it does not always mean that they are split equally between the spouses. In order to divide property fairly, the court considers several factors other than properties in order to come to its conclusion. Some factors may include:
- The age and health of each spouse
- The duration of the marriage
- Economic circumstances
- Each spouse’s contribution to marital property
- Any tax consequence that may apply
When courts distribute assets fairly, they usually do not consider marital fault. This means that when they are deciding what is fair, they will not be swayed in any direction if one spouse is at fault for the end of the marriage. Courts may consider if there is an economic fault. If one spouse handles their assets irresponsibly, a court may sway in the favor of the other spouse.
Mediation is often encouraged by New York State courts to assist divorcing couples. The process allows a couple the opportunity to negotiate the dividing their assets outside of a courtroom. In mediation, an unbiased third party helps listens to both sides and helps spouses come to an agreement. Mediation can save both the couple and the court from certain costs.
Contact our Firm
If you are going through a divorce and wish to speak with an attorney about your division of assets, contact The Pollack Law Firm, P.C. today.
The Pollack Law Firm, P.C. understands that divorce and family law matters can be very complicated and emotional. They require strong legal representation from a compassionate attorney. Robert Pollack is an experienced divorce and family law attorney in Long Island, New York. Contact The Pollack Law Firm, P.C., to set up a free initial consultation.