What is equitable distribution?
Once couples file for divorce, there are still many decisions that are left to be made. Filing for divorce is the first step in the process. Then couples have to decide on their marital issues. They may do this in court or through divorce mediation. For each process, they will have to go through the division of assets. When couples talk about this in mediation, they may be able to cooperate with one another to reach a final, fair decision. However, when this is not possible, they may have a judge divide their assets in court. This can prove to be beneficial to avoid fighting in mediation and having an unsuccessful process that drags out. The distribution of their assets can include various properties, including their house and cars. Equitable distribution is a concept that courts use when dividing marital assets between spouses that are divorcing. For this process, judge will assess determining factors to divide the assets in a fair and just manner. This does not mean that the assets will be divided equally though. Instead, the judge will assess factors, such as each party’s contribution to the marital property, their health, their age, tax consequences and economic status associated with each party. After considering these factors, the judge will make their decision, which can be vastly different for each individual case that they are given.
How are marital and separate property decided?
Before equitable distribution is used to divide assets, assets need to be categorized. They are divided into marital property and separate property. Separate property is not part of the distribution process since it is owned by one individual spouse. This property is acquired by one spouse prior to the marriage. That means that they had ownership of it before they officially married their spouse. This may include a spouse’s inheritance or any personal gifts. Marital property is considered to be assets that are acquired during the marriage between the two spouses. These assets are left to the decision of the court on how they are divided. This process may be able to better divide assets for couples that are splitting their lives.
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.