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Equitable Distribution is Not Equal Distribution in Long Island Divorce

by | Jul 17, 2018 | Property Division, NY

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.

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 631-923-1910 to set up your free consultation and case evaluation with one of our experienced Family Law attorneys.

For more information about Property Division in your divorce, visit our Complete Guide to Dividing Property in Divorce.

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

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