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Equitable Distribution is Not Equal Distribution in Long Island Divorce

by | Jul 17, 2018 | divorce, divorce lawyer long island ny, marital property, News and Events

For many clients getting a divorce on Long Island, one of the most important issues is the division of property. It’s important to recognize that in New York, property is divided equitably, not equally. Although the words sound similar, they can lead to incredibly different results in your Long Island Divorce.

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Factors to be Considered in Equitable Distribution

Marital Property

For couples seeking a divorce on Long Island, it’s important to understand that marital property will be divided equitably. Simply put, marital property is everything owned by one or more spouses during the marriage. Money and other assets acquired during the marriage are presumed to be marital property.

How Courts Decide What is Marital Property

In order to equitably divide marital property, Long Island courts look to a number of statutory factors. Some of those factors include:

  • The duration of the marriage
  • Each spouse’s income and property during the marriage
  • Each spouse’s contribution to the marriage
  • Each spouse’s age and health
  • Which spouse was awarded custody
  • Whether maintenance was granted
  • The liquidity of marital property
  • The loss of inheritance and pension rights upon the dissolution of the marriage

Marital Fault is Not Considered When Dividing Property

This is a common question asked by many clients, especially if one spouse has had an affair. On Long Island, for purposes of equitable distribution, the courts will not consider marital fault, such as adultery or abandonment. Domestic violence and criminal activities will also not be considered, as long as it did not affect the couple’s finances.

Separate Property

For purposes of equitable distribution, each spouse’s separate property will not be considered for equitable distribution. Separate property consists of the assets that were acquired by each spouse prior to the marriage, as well as any gifts and inheritances you individually acquired, even if acquired during the marriage.

If separate property is exchanged for new personal property during the marriage, that new property is typically also considered separate property. If, for example, you own a boat prior to the marriage, and then, after you marry your spouse, you sell that boat to purchase a new one, as long as no marital funds are additionally used to purchase the new boat, it’s considered separate property.

Comingling of Marital and Separate Property

During your Long Island Divorce, it’s very important to show that no commingling of separate property with marital property has occurred. If commingling has happened, that separate property can be transformed into marital property.

Have More Questions About Equitable Distribution? Contact Us at 631-923-1910

If you are in the process of a Long Island Divorce, or, are considering beginning the process, equitable distribution will play a big role. It’s important that you have an experienced Long Island Divorce Attorney by your side along the way. We can help. Contact our Long Island Divorce & Family Law firm at 631-629-2545 to set up your free consultation and case evaluation with one of our experienced Family Law attorneys.

See this page for Your Guide to Preparing for a Contested Divorce.

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Everett Roberts
Everett Roberts
14:30 18 Mar 20
Going through a divorce was very challenging and emotional. Searching for an attorney can be challenging as well when you consider everything that is at stake. The choice I made to work with Rob Hornberger was surely the best choice available. His professionalism, expertise, and understanding made him and the entire team perfectly suited to achieve the outcomes I desired. Rob was always available to answer my questions and give me advice and legal considerations that affected my situation. The support I received from his staff was exemplary as well. The staff was courteous, kind, and also very professional. Thank you so much Rob and team for a worry free experience.
Annemarie Cusumano
Annemarie Cusumano
21:41 17 Mar 20
Being in family court especially when your children are on the line is extremely emotional and stressful but working with Robert and Christine put me at ease and made the process as pleasant as a situation like that can be. I have a now 3 year old daughter (who is the most important person in my life) and I've been working with them for over two years since my daughter was 7 months old, the case has been up and down and through it all Rob and Christine have never given up. My original case was due to a neglect charge. Cps is not easy to work with, but Rob and Christine were vigilant and I ended up getting my daughter back within 8 months and did not have to plead guilty to the neglect. Currently I am in family court to figure out a custody agreement. They are professional, empathetic, and patient. They have always explained everything thoroughly, informed me of all my options and advised me of what my best option would be. They always respond quickly when I contact them with questions or concerns and most importantly they fight for me in court and don't give up even when things get rough. Before hiring Rob and Christine I met with other attorneys who did not make me feel confident or comfortable at all about my case, so I am very grateful to have found Rob and Christine and to be represented by such great attorneys. I highly recommend them for any family court matters and will definitely continue to use them in the future if needed.
Steven Frierman
Steven Frierman
02:25 07 Mar 20
After meeting with 3 different lawyers, we felt Robert understood us best and he genuinely had our best interests at heart. This helped us resolve a few minor issues in a timely fashion and make a potentially stressful situation go more smoothly.Thank you
Randi Gottlieb
Randi Gottlieb
18:47 03 Mar 20
Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. - Mr. Robert Hornberger and his staff are beyond professional, they quickly gave me my consultation appointment, and helped me with an after-Divorce issue. Mr. Hornberger was empathetic and explained to me what I should expect. Mr. Hornberger was extremely professional and advised me of my options, he helped me proceed with accurate and smart decisions. I wish I had Mr. Hornberger and his highly recommended staff when I was getting divorced. I would highly recommend Robert and his staff to anyone who is getting a divorce or in need of help with situations after the divorce!
Rob Spielmann
Rob Spielmann
22:15 27 Feb 20
They made our process so easy. They were there to answer and help with any questions that came up. Very friendly


  • I have known Robert for more than 8 eight years. Robert has represented many of my family and friends. Each and every one has raved about Robert’s professionalism and expertise. He is knowledgable, friendly and truly cares about his clients. I would not hesitate to continue to refer Robert and his firm in the future!
  • I’ve known Robert for most of my life, and feel very fortunate that I have been able to turn to a good friend for various kinds of legal advice. He is very intelligent, straight forward, and professional. Most importantly though, Robert always finds the fastest resolution, and will not waste your time or money. He is NOT in the habit of dragging things through litigation if there is no need for the added expense. I have referred a few of my friends to Robert, and they have all been more than satisfied in their experience with him. Highly recommend!!



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