If you decide to end your marriage, the division of property between you and your ex-spouse may have significant consequences on your post-divorce lifestyle. Understanding how New York marital property laws work may help you prepare your finances for life after divorce.
According to FindLaw, New York used to have “community property” laws, which meant that property went to whichever spouse had his or her name on the title. Now, the state maintains “equitable division” laws for divorced individuals. That means that a judge attempts to divide properly between the ex-spouses in a fair manner.
The goal of equitable distribution
Under the equitable distribution law, a judge’s job is to divide property between you and your spouse fairly. For example, even if your name is the only one on the title of your home, you and your spouse may split the value of the home if you both paid into the mortgage. Even if your spouse was a homemaker without a salary during your marriage, he or she may still receive a portion of the marital assets based on his or her contributions to the marriage, such as raising children.
Factors that influence property division
There are many things that a judge may consider when dividing property between you and your spouse during a divorce. Some of the most common factors include the length of the marriage and you and your spouse’s ages and overall health. A judge may also consider your incomes and alimony or child support arrangements. In some cases, a judge may try to determine any future financial needs you and your spouse may have and use that information to divide marital assets fairly.