Whether a couple will experience a simple property division or a complex one during their divorce will depend entirely on the assets and debts the individuals hold at the time their marriage comes to an end. In New York, divorcing couples are subject to equitable division laws that govern how the items they own will be divided. During the equitable division process, a couple's assets will be evaluated and the court will divide them between the parties in a way that seems fair.
Prior posts on this family law blog have explored property division; property owned during a marriage can be categorized as either marital or separate. If property is truly separate and has not in any way been commingled between the parties, either through their use or financial support, then the owner of the separate property will take it after their marriage ends. Marital property is all of the other property, including, but not limited to, those items that were acquired during marriage with shared marital assets.
Equitable division does not mandate that a court will evenly or equally divide a couple's marital property. In fact, it requires a court to look at how to benefit both parties in the most equitable and fair way. This is often where a relatively simple property division will become a complex one.
For example, if a couple has no children and both have the ability to financially support themselves after their marriage ends, then a court may have an easier time finding a fair balance for the distribution. If, however, one of the partners to the couple has given up a career for the sake of taking care of the family and cannot quickly enter the workforce to earn an income, then the court may have to make distributions in favor of that individual to keep the breakdown of assets fair.
All divorces experience complexities. The property division process can be incredibly challenging when financial, emotional and health-related factors come into play. Readers who wish to learn more about this topic may want to speak directly with their divorce or family law attorneys.
Source: FindLaw, "The FindLaw Guide to Divorce and Property Division," accessed November 21, 2016