From the perspective of the separating spouses, divorce is often an emotional battle. However, it is also a financial transaction. You and your spouse have built a financial relationship together, most likely sharing both assets and debts during the marriage. One of the key issues in a divorce is dividing the marriage’s assets and debts between the spouses.
New York is an “equitable distribution” state, which means that its divorce laws focus on dividing both assets and debts fairly between the spouses. Although “fairly” can mean “equally” in some cases, an equitable division is not always an equal one. Instead, equitable distribution looks at each spouse’s earning capacity after the marriage, as well as other factors, when deciding how both assets and debts should be split.
As a rule, an asset or debt is considered “marital property” if it was acquired after the couple was married. It does not matter if the title to a particular asset or debt is in the name of only one spouse. For example, a professional license earned after marriage may be considered a marital asset, even though only one spouse holds the license.
Although dividing assets and debts is a financial concern, it can be emotionally difficult, just like any aspect of a divorce. Options like negotiation and mediation allow spouses to resolve less-contentious issues, while the courts are always available if and when negotiations break down.
The first step in ensuring an equitable distribution of assets and debts is to choose an experienced Long Island divorce lawyer with whom to work. Your attorney can help protect your legal rights and help build a brighter future. Contact us today to learn more.