Deciding to divorce can be a messy, emotional experience, but the legal process of divorce itself involves a lot of detailed, painstaking work. In many divorces, the most technically difficult part of the process is the division of property.
How property division is handled during divorce
Property division in New York follows equitable property division rules, which means that the property division settlement agreement should be as fair and equitable as possible.
The process begins with listing all the couple’s assets and liabilities and determining what should be considered marital property and what should be considered separate property.
Marital property generally consists of assets acquired during the marriage. Examples of marital property can include real estate; personal property including cars, boats, furniture and artwork the spouses acquired during the marriage; cash, securities, bank accounts, retirement accounts and pensions; advance education degrees and permits used to engage in specialized businesses earned during the marriage; and more.
Separate property is not usually subject to the property division process as marital property is. Generally, separate property consists of assets owned by the parties before the marriage, although there are some types of assets acquired during the marriage that may be considered separate. Examples inheritances and gifts given by someone other than the spouses; personal injury compensation; separate property described in an agreement such as a prenuptial agreement; and some other types of property.
Property division can be worked out more easily when the divorcing couples understand how it is addressed. It will help them develop a fair property settlement agreement both spouses can live with.