Do you know what happens to your property after you divorce?

For may couples who are facing this course of action, the process remains a mystery up until formal property division occurs. This does not have to be the case; spouses in New York can learn about their property rights before they ever enter a courtroom. Preparing yourself for the property division process is a useful exercise that can help you efficiently allocate your marital holdings.

Do you understand the concept of equitable distribution?

The state’s Equitable Distribution Law characterizes marriage as a social partnership with financial implications. That means that judges are required to divide marital property in the fairest way property. Keep in mind that equitable division is not the same as equal division; in some cases, one spouse may receive the lion’s share of certain assets because of a variety of special factors. You should not necessarily expect to receive an amount that adds up to exactly half of the marital estate.

So, what happens when you actually take your spouse to court?

When you enter a New York courtroom to pursue simple property division, a decision will be made on how to allocate the property that you obtained during the marriage. Property acquired by either party will be considered during this process. Pension plans and retirement funds can be considered in this property list. Separate property, on the other hand, consists of assets that were either owned before the marriage or given to one of the spouses by someone outside of the marriage. Inheritances may also be considered separate property in a large number of cases.

It may be difficult to predict the outcome of your property division process before you begin the actual legal proceedings. Spouses who are pursuing property division may benefit from consulting legal and financial professionals. These team members can help partners identify the assets that matter most. This can lead to a more efficient and effective negotiation.

Source: NYCourts.gov, “Divorce Information & Frequently Asked Questions” Aug. 18, 2014