Equitable distribution is the way that courts in New York divide marital assets upon divorce or separation. Equitable distribution does not mean 50/50 as it does not mean equal, it means fair. Since the Supreme Court is a court of what we call “equity” as well as a court of law, the court can fashion allocations between parties, of assets acquired during the marriage. They will determine the division of marital assets, based on the facts and circumstances of the case, that they believes is fair. As the marriage progresses, typically more asset is acquired, so the longer the marriage, generally speaking, the closer to a 50/50 allocation that will occur at the time of divorce or separation.
Parties are pretty much free to make agreements and allocate their assets any way they want. For example, if a party wants to keep a pension all to himself or herself, and then offset against another asset of equal value, they can do so. This could mean, one party can walk away with the pension and the other party could potentially walk away with the house. As long as they are equal values, this might be something two partners would agree to, but something the court would not do at a trial. The court is basically going to evaluate things and divide them up in a way they feel is fair.
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.