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Property Division, Long Island, NY

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What is Equitable Distribution in a Long Island Divorce?

The division of marital property is perhaps the largest issue in most Long Island divorces. Courts on Long Island are governed by the laws of the State of New York, which provides guidelines for how marital property is to be divided during the divorce proceedings. These rules are known as Equitable Distribution.

Marital Property Is NOT Always Split 50/50

Simply put, New York courts use the equitable distribution doctrine in an attempt to divide marital property fairly and equitably. This does not always mean that each party receives 50 percent of the marital assets. Instead, the courts use many factors in order to determine the most fair and reasonable distribution of the marital property.

Motivated, caring and detail oriented are just some of the few personality traits that come to mind when I describe Rob. Going through a trying time in your life is not when you need the difficulties that come with an inexperienced, disorganized and uncaring attorney. Rob was none of those. Instead, he was a joy to work and made a difficult time less so through his kind and caring demeanor and attention to detail. His timely response and availability were supurb as well. I would, hands down, recommend Rob to anyone that needed someone to be a shining star through the dreary experience of a divorce!!!

What is Marital Property & How Do I Get My Fair Share?

Generally speaking, property acquired during the marriage is considered to be marital property. Marital property can include, but is not limited to:

  • cash
  • bank accounts
  • retirement accounts (such as pensions & 401-Ks)
  • securities
  • notes and mortgages held
  • stocks and stock options
  • contracts
  • broker’s accounts
  • business interests
  • accounts receivable
  • interest in trusts
  • real property
  • household furnishings
  • antiques & collectibles
  • jewelry
  • automobiles, motorcycles, boats, etc.
  • disability pensions
  • judgments held
  • causes of action at law
  • patents and trademarks owned
In order to determine how to calculate the distribution of property, Judges on Long Island consider factors such as:

  • the amount and sources of income at the time of divorce filing;
  • the property of each spouse at the time of divorce filing;
  • any pre-nuptial agreements;
  • duration of the marriage;
  • the age and health of each spouse;
  • who will be the custodial parent;
  • any alimony award;
  • the potential financial needs of each spouse;
  • the potential future earnings of each spouse; and
  • the amounts necessary for support, maintenance, education, and general welfare of the child or children

How Do Long Island Courts Decide Who Gets What?

The above is not an exhaustive list of factors, and every set of circumstances surrounding a divorce may vary. However, Long Island courts almost always take into account the needs and future needs of each party to the divorce, including current and future income and expenses. Earning potential of the spouses is given due consideration as well.

What Is Separate Property & Can I Keep My Own ‘Stuff’?

personal propertyCertain property may be considered “separate” property, and will not be subject to equitable distribution. For example, property that was acquired prior to the marriage, property acquired by inheritance, compensation for personal injury of one spouse, and, certain gifts given to one spouse may not be included in the equitable distribution of a marital estate. Furthermore, any property specifically agreed to be outside of the marital estate by a pre- or post-nuptial agreement will not be considered marital property for purposes of equitable distribution. However, exceptions may exist if a spouse can show that he or she contributed toward the appreciation of any of these “separate” assets.

 

What If My Spouse Cheated?

Generally speaking, Long Island courts consider the totality of the circumstances in determining the distribution of the marital estate. The courts generally do not consider marital misconduct or fault, and typically do not punish or reward either party, so if you thought you would get more of the assets of the marriage because your spouse was unfaithful, that’s usually not the case. However, if a party has acted in a way to intentionally destroy or depreciate the marital property in an attempt to deprive the other party of some benefit, this will be viewed unfavorably by the Court and will be given consideration when determining the apportionment of property.

 

How Do the Debts of One or Both Spouses Come Into Play?

debtMarital debts are often distributed in the same manner as marital assets. However, the distribution of the debts may be different in cases where one spouse has a significantly greater ability to pay, or one spouse is solely responsible for incurring the debt obligation, and incurred the debt for his or her exclusive benefit. In some instances, a debt is incurred by one party and only for the benefit of that party. Generally, any debts incurred during the marriage are considered marital debts, and are therefore subject to equitable distribution. The party who wishes to share the debt with his former spouse has the burden of proof as to why the debt was incurred and whether it was for the benefit of both parties.

 

How To Ensure Your Divorce Distribution is Equitable

As experienced Long Island Divorce attorneys, we can assist you in determining your property rights and negotiating for your best interests during your divorce. We will assess your rights and responsibilities in your divorce, and can help to ensure that you receive everything you are entitled to under New York State law. The Office of Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. provides free consultations to discuss your options. Contact our friendly Client Services Director at 631-923-1910 to schedule yours.

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

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Melissa Rappa
Melissa Rappa
18:09 08 Feb 24
At one of the hardest and most stressful times of my life, it was so comforting to have a team at Hornberger and Verbitsky who ALWAYS responded in record speed to my questions, phone calls, emails or texts and who I felt really cared about helping me through this difficult time. It was a long few years and I am grateful to all of you. Thank you so much Rob, AnneMarie, Christine, Patty, Joan and Lawrence. Your guidance, professionalism and expertise is appreciated beyond measure.
Paul Carmichael
Paul Carmichael
16:21 11 Dec 23
I would give 6 stars if I could. I can't say enough good things about Robert and his firm. We were in a situation for over 2 years and I could have never made it through without Robert's experience and knowledge. He guided me through tough times when needed and his expertise could "read" the situation and make the next best move for me. He was tough when he needed to be tough (thankfully) and at the same time guided me through the process to make me feel comfortable in an uncomfortable situation. I would not want to go through this process without Robert and his team having my back. he helped move the case along and not waste any time or money. One last time, I 100% endorse Robert and his expertise.
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