The process of divorce is very complex and requires a great amount of patience. There are many matters a separating couple has to consider before they move on with their lives. One of the major parts of divorce requires spouses to split their assets between the two of them. In some cases, two spouses can come to an amicable agreement about how to distribute their belongings outside of a courtroom. Other times, one spouse may feel they are entitled to more of the assets for a multitude of reasons. When this happens, the couple may have to determine the division of their assets through court.
Marital Property vs. Separate Property
When spouses go to court to divide their assets, a judge decides which assets belong to whom. When doing so, they break it down according to marital property and separate property. The differences between the two are as follows:
- Marital Property: Any assets and debts that are acquired during the marriage by both spouses. Marital property also includes any separate property that was brought into the marriage and agreed upon as marital property.
- Separate Property: Any assets and debts that were acquired before the marriage and agreed to stay separate. This may include other properties, gifts, and inheritance.
The state of New York uses “equitable distribution” to help divide assets between spouses. While many may believe this means splitting assets equally, that is not the case. Equitable distribution is the fair and just split of a separating couple’s assets during a divorce. State courts consider several factors before splitting marital property in a fair way. Some of these factors may include:
- The age and health of each spouse
- The duration of the marriage
- Economic circumstances
- Each spouse’s contribution to marital property
- Any tax consequence that may apply
When courts distribute assets equitably, they do not usually consider marital fault. This means they may not consider which spouse is at fault for the end of the marriage when splitting properties. What courts may consider while distributing property is at economic fault. If one spouse irresponsibly wastes their assets in order to change their finances, a court may sway in the other spouse’s favor.
Mediation is often a useful tool for couples during a divorce. It assists spouses in coming to an agreement regarding certain marital issues. With mediation, both spouses can negotiate on the matters at hand instead of allowing a judge to decide where their assets belong. Mediation also saves money for the couple as well as the court.
Contact our Firm
If you are going through a divorce and wish to speak with an attorney about your division of assets, contact The Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C. today.
Matters of divorce and family law should be navigated with the guidance of an experienced attorney. If you need strong legal representation regarding matters of divorce, family law, and estate law, contact the Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C. to schedule a consultation today.