What is Equitable Distribution?

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The hardest part of any couple’s relationship is a divorce. Nobody predicts they will divorce their spouse, but when they do, they wish they had taken certain precautions to help protect their assets from equitable distribution. Contested divorces very often end in courts deciding what happens with their assets. Generally, both spouses will feel as though they were snubbed, so it is usually best to try and settle the terms of your divorce outside the courtroom setting, via mediation. However, if you are unable to do so for any reason, you most likely have several questions concerning the equitable distribution process. If you find yourself in this situation, here are some of the questions you may have:

What is the difference between marital and separate property?

Marital property includes assets accumulated during your marriage, such as your home. Separate property generally includes assets accumulated either before marriage or outside of your marriage, such as gifts or inheritance. Generally, marital property is subject to equitable distribution, while separate property is not.

How do courts determine who gets what assets in a divorce?

The courts will consider several things when divvying up your assets, including, but not limited to:

  • The value of your property
  • You and your spouse’s earning potential
  • Debts and liabilities
  • You and your spouse’s age
  • Your property, as well as income
  • Tax consequences
  • You and your spouse’s health
  • Your respective economic circumstances once your assets are divided
  • The length of your marriage
  • Property settlement agreements
  • Your marital standard of living
  • Whether you need a trust to help cover the cost of reasonably foreseeable medical or educational costs for a child
  • Whether you or your spouse deferred career goals for the benefit of your marriage

How can I protect myself in a divorce?

Fortunately, there are means to protect your assets in the event of a divorce. For example, before you are married, you and your spouse may draft a prenuptial agreement together. A prenuptial agreement can establish the terms of your divorce, should one ever be necessary, and it seeks to avoid all potential conflicts regarding your assets. If you are already married, you may still draft a postnuptial agreement, which functions the same as a prenuptial agreement, though it is drafted after your marriage is official. If you and your spouse own a business together, you may also draft a shareholder agreement, which also seeks to eliminate any potential business disputes should you divorce.

Contact our experienced New York firm

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.

Why choose our firm?

We have an excellent AVVO rating from our many happy clients

We will tirelessly pursue a favorable resolution to your case

We offer aggressive and effective representation

We treat our clients with the compassion, patience, and respect that they deserve

We have more than 20 years of dedicated legal experience

We have the legal knowledge necessary to help you obtain the outcome you desire

We tailor our practice to the representation of your divorce case

What Our Clients Are Saying

I hired Susan to represent me in a divorce matter where I was fighting for custody and to limit my wife's equitable share of our assets. I won custody of our son, kept the marital residence, kept my professional practice, kept my building and paid less than half to my wife. This was after a long-term marriage. She could persuade the court that equitable is not equal and sometimes the man does deserve to win!

‐ Dave

I first must say that I had been represented by two prior attorneys both of whom had simply taken my money and left me nothing to show for it in my custody case. They kept telling me what they were doing for me but I found out they were lying. Susan on the other hand had gotten me temporary custody and support for my children and myself within two months of hiring her. I cannot say enough about her.

‐ Craig

After talking to a few other attorneys, I hired Susan to represent me in my divorce and custody dispute. I was reluctant to go with her because she was the cheapest out of all the other attorneys I met with, but I'm so glad I did. I am 100% positive no one else would have done such a great job with my case as Susan and her staff. Her work is quality, her staff is reliable and her character is honorable. There...

‐ Linda

I had a very difficult case where I had already burned through two attorneys who were unable to get me custody of my children and complete my divorce. Susan was able to rapidly work out an agreement and not let it just malinger on like my previous experiences. She was also considerate of my financial situation unlike all of the other lawyers I had spoken to. I highly recommend her if you want complete and caring service with an in-depth knowledge of...

‐ Joanne


The Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C. proudly serves clients throughout Suffolk County, New York in their divorce, family law, and estate planning matters. If you require the services of an experienced Suffolk County attorney, schedule a consultation with The Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C. today.

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