Equitable Distribution in New York Divorce & Separations

The Division of Property


When facing a contested divorce or uncontested divorce in New York State, property division must either be agreed upon by both parties or ruled upon by the Court. In New York State, equitable distribution is the process which is used to allocate the division of property between spouses. Although there are laws laid out to this effect in New York, determining what is marital property and what is separate property can be extremely complex and difficult, and requires the expertise of a seasoned divorce attorney to navigate. 

Equitable distribution refers to the process for dispersing property acquired by or owned by either spouse upon the termination of the marriage. When a marriage is dissolved, the courts must make decisions regarding the distribution of property. There are a number of factors that the court must consider before the property is divided, regardless of whether the divorcing couple hails from Hudson, Catskill, Poughkeepsie, Kingston, or any other town or city in New York State.

Dividing property fairly in a NYS divorce settlement can be a daunting and confusing task.

Dividing property fairly in a NYS divorce settlement can be a daunting and confusing task.

Marital Property in Divorce or Legal Separations

What is considered marital property in a New York divorce?

In New York State, marital property is defined as property acquired during the marriage, property acquired before the execution of a separation agreement or judgment, or property acquired by either party prior to the commencement of a divorce action.  

Businesses, degrees, and licenses can all be considered property subject to equitable distribution, or property division, in a Columbia County divorce. If one spouse’s business was formed during the marriage, then it is considered marital property under New York State equitable distribution principles. If the business was created prior to the marriage, but continued to exist during marriage, then the other spouse has an interest in any increase in the value of the business. If one spouse obtained any kind of degree during the marriage, the increased earnings as a result of the license may be subject to equitable distribution. 

Marital debt is also subject to property division when drafting a Greene County separation agreement. If the debt occurred during the marriage, it is marital debt. It does not matter if that debt is in your name or your spouse's name.  

Regardless of the specific property you and your partner have which may be subject to equitable distribution, a seasoned divorce lawyer is invaluable in helping you keep the property that is yours and in claiming part of any property that should be shared.  In recent divorces of clients located in Hudson, Catskill, Poughkeepsie, and Kingston, close scrutiny by our firm was required to ensure that the clients received their fair share of marital property without being unduly burdened by more than their fair share of the marital debt.

In New York State marital property distribution, the courts will sort out what is to be considered separate property and what is to be considered marital property, with an eye to the arguments presented by either side. Separate property usually remains separate, and marital property is distributed equitably between both spouses. The court will also take into consideration the individual circumstances surrounding the case and the circumstances of both parties. Having an experienced divorce lawyer on your side will assist you in obtaining the outcome that will be most beneficial to your future, with regard to property distribution. Our Columbia County based law offices understand what may be considered marital property, what may be personal property, and the information and evidence required by the court to make a determination in accordance with your legal rights.

One of the most common marital assets in a divorce is the marital residence.

One of the most common marital assets in a divorce is the marital residence.

Separate Property in Divorce or Legal Separations

What is personal or separate property in a New York divorce?

Separate property in New York State matrimonial property division is defined as: property acquired before marriage; property acquired as inheritance or gifts from a person other than the spouse; personal injury compensation; property acquired in exchange for the increase in value of separate property considered separate according to a written agreement between the spouses.  To claim separate property, one spouse must provide proof that the property is indeed separate, rather than marital property.  Our Columbia County law offices provide you with the advantage you need to prevail on such questions. Working with accountants in complex scenarios, we assist you in separate property determinations involving:  

  • real property
  • bank accounts
  • investment accounts
  • retirement accounts; and
  • any other asset that has value.

Equitable distribution can raise numerous questions that we are prepared to address. For skilled legal representation that will get you results, contact our law offices today.  We are proud to serve clients throughout upstate New York, including Hudson, Catskill, Poughkeepsie, Kingston, and other towns in Columbia County, Greene County, Dutchess County, Ulster County, and beyond. 

Non-commingled inherited property is separate property in a New York divorce.

Non-commingled inherited property is separate property in a New York divorce.

Contact Us

Legal Inquiry

The Law Offices of Heidi T. Cochrane

PO Box 117, 2602 Route 23, Hillsdale, New York 12529, United States

(518) 965-1077