Dividing marital assets (or sometimes marital debt) can be very easy or very complicated. Which spouse gets what after a divorce is often of paramount concern to both parties. Marital property division is one of the most acrimonious aspects of divorce law and can even require that experts be hired to assist the Court figure it all out. Indeed, the laws about equitable distribution, and even what constitutes a marital asset in the first place, are changing right now making matters even more complicated.
The division of marital property is called “equitable distribution” because it is not necessarily “equal distribution.” This is different compared to “community property estates” where the partner is automatically awarded half of everything obtained together during the marriage. New York Divorce Law may arguably thus be more “fair” but it is also often much more complicated. In New York, there are many different tests to determine what the husband/wife are entitled to receive. The goal is not necessarily an even split, just an equitable split.
Many couples are not really aware of how involved/intertwined their finances may have become over the years. Discovering and valuing assets for equitable division pursuant to a divorce can often be considered an art as well as a science, especially when assets such as family businesses or intellectual property are involved. Sometimes assets are simply worth what some experts say on a particular day because a market value had to be artificially created for the divorce and only the divorce. That may be good for one side but not the other and when significant assets are at stake, it is common to have more than one expert opinion brought to the judge.
However, valuing assets is not the entire endeavor for the divorce lawyers or the judge. Even then the Court must still determine how it will calculate which party gets what. Dividing marital property can be complicated and involves the consideration of many factors including:
- The duration of the marriage;
- The income of both parties, as well as, their future earning potential;
- The age and health of the parties;
- Homemaking/childcare responsibilities during the marriage;
- The investment of one partner to the other’s education or training;
- The standard of living;
- If marital assets were misappropriated or wasted;
- Separate property holding and each party;
- Loss of Health insurance;
- Loss of inheritance;
- Loss of pension benefits; and
- Tax consequences of equitable distribution to each party.
The Law Offices of Seidner & Associates, PC is very experienced at helping clients either settle or litigate equitable distribution pursuant to a divorce. Our firm’s successful litigation of equitable distribution has been published in The New York Law Journal. Call today for a complimentary consultation about the division of assets for your divorce.