Thousands of couples every year in New York realize that their relationship is no longer healthy or happy, so they file for divorce. When they do, they typically have to sort out their property issues with one another and make arrangements to provide for any children that they share.
Most people considering divorce worry about what the outcome may be. After all, only those with marital agreements generally have the ability to predict how they will split their property with their ex. If you litigate the division of your property, will a New York family law judge split it 50/50 between you and your ex?
The New York property division approach is equitable, not equal
When people talk about a 50-50 split of marital assets, they talk about the community property approach. However, New York does not employ the community property standard for divorce cases. Instead, equitable distribution is the goal and the law. Equitable means just, not even, so a 50/50 isn’t necessarily the appropriate solution in a New York divorce.
A judge has to look at the unique marital circumstances and the situation of each spouse. Their health, education and work history can all influence how the judge divides their property. So, too, can the length of their marriage, their custody arrangements for minor children and even unpaid contributions to the household throughout the marriage.
Quite a bit is left to the discretion of the judge overseeing the divorce, which makes it difficult, if not impossible, to accurately predict what will happen with specific assets in a New York divorce.
Understanding the law can help you prepare for negotiations or court
While learning about the New York equitable distribution rules won’t let you exactly predict how the courts might split your property, understanding the approach makes it easier for you to plan for court. You can potentially improve your position by showing how your spouse has certain economic advantages or by exploring your contributions to the family.
Knowledge about the equitable distribution standard can also help you better negotiate with your spouse if you hope to settle the property division issues outside of court. Learning about state law and your rights can help you prepare for a high-asset divorce.