Equitable Distribution: Dividing Marital Property

Equitable distribution is the means by which marital property is distributed in a New York state divorce.

Marital property is defined as any property which is acquired by either party during the marriage, regardless of who holds title to the asset.

Separate property includes property acquired before the marriage, by inheritance, as well as property designated as separate by a validly executed prenuptial agreement.

Under DRL 236 B (4), mandatory financial disclosure is required for all income and assets without regard to whether it is marital or separate property. Once all property is identified, it is classified as either marital or separate property. Thereafter, valuation takes place.

The following factors are used by the Court to determine the equitable distribution of marital property:

  1. The income of the parties at the time of the marriage and at the time of the commencement of the action.
  2. The duration of the marriage and the age and health of both parties.
  3. The need of a custodial parent to occupy or own the marital residence and/or household items.
  4. The loss of inheritance and pension rights.
  5. An award of maintenance.
  6. Any equitable claim or interest or contribution made by the non titled party as service as a spouse, parent, wage earner, or home maker. Effects on the career of the other spouse are considered as well.
  7. The liquid or non liquid character of the marital property.
  8. The probable future financial circumstances of each party.
  9. The impossibility or difficulty of evaluating any component asset or any interest in a business, corporation or profession, and the economic desirability of retaining such asset or interest intact and free from any claim or interference by the other party.
  10. Tax consequences to each party.
  11. Wasteful dissipation by either spouse.
  12. Any transfer below fair market value made in contemplation of a matrimonial action.
  13. Any other factor the court deems relevant.

Divorcing spouses will usually exchange comprehensive individual statements of net worth. Download a net worth statement template here.

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