What is marital property?
The easy, quick answer is that marital property is any asset acquired during the marriage or agreed to be marital property at the beginning of the marriage. Separate property is an asset owned before the marriage and not agreed to become marital property. With that in mind, there are countless examples of how separate property can mutate into marital property. There are also examples of assets gained during the marriage that stay separate property, including personal injury awards, gifts, and inheritances. It is important to discuss your situation with an effective attorney because, no matter your emotional stake in a possession, marital property will be distributed using the principle of equitable distribution.
What is equitable distribution?
Equitable distribution is defined as a split of assets in a fair and just manner. At one time, a divorcing couple would split things evenly. This is not always the case, to the surprise of many. Depending on significant factors, the state will divide marital property in a way that is fair to both parties. A split can be equal if the court deems it to be fair. It can also be any number of other percentages. It is important to have proper counsel that can protect your rights.
When ruling on property division, the court will consider:
- The duration of the marriage
- The health and age of each spouse
- The income and potential future earnings of each spouse
- How each spouse contributed to marital property
- Any child custody considerations
Marital fault’s impact on property distribution
Citing fault grounds once had its impact on divorce cases. New York changed its approach to divorce and now focus on what is deems to be more significant factors. Courts may no longer take into consideration if your spouse cheated on you and you may no longer win a greater amount of the property because of it. On the other hand, economic fault does. If your spouse is caught trying to manipulate the decision by purposefully wasting assets or another act that would sway a decision in their favor, the court may decide in your favor.
Contact a Suffolk County property distribution attorney
If you are facing a divorce and have concerns over the division of your marital property, the time to speak with counsel is now. Clients that come to our firm can count on a staunch and thorough approach to this process and trust that their claim to any contested property will be effectively argued in the courtroom. Want to learn more about how we can help? Contact The Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C. for a consultation.