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What Is Equitable Distribution in a Divorce? February 11, 2019

Gates, Monroe
What Is Equitable Distribution in a Divorce?, Gates, New York

Divorce is a complex process requiring many major decisions that will affect your future. One of the most challenging issues to deal with is the division of marital property. If you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement on your own, the court will determine how everything should be split. Divorce laws vary from state to state, but in New York, property is divided using the equitable distribution method. Protect your best interests by understanding what this means and how it may apply to your specific circumstances.  

How Marital Property Is Divided in a NY Divorce 

What Does Equitable Distribution Mean?

Equitable distribution doesn’t mean property will automatically be divided 50/50 between spouses. Instead, it is up to the court’s discretion to split it in a manner that is considered fair. Divorce laws don’t stipulate a set rule for who should receive what or how much they get. Before a judge can begin allocating assets, they must first distinguish marital property from separate property. Only marital property – generally defined as any property acquired during the marriage – can be included in equitable distribution. 

Factors Used to Decide Who Gets What 

divorce lawDeciding on a fair division of property is often complicated and demands thorough analysis of financial documents provided by both spouses. New York divorce law also requires the court to take several factors into account when concluding what is equitable. This includes the length of the marriage, the individual assets and income of each spouse, other contributions to the marriage, the age and health of each party, child custody, tax and debt obligations, and prior spending history. Since every case is different, the judge will weigh these considerations according to the unique affairs of each couple. 


Whether negotiating with an ex or going to court, you need a reputable and skilled attorney to defend your interests when it comes time to divide your marital property. With more than 15 years of experience, the Law Office of Marilyn J. Palumbo has guided countless Rochester, NY,  residents through the equitable distribution process. This firm has profound knowledge of divorce law and will assist in determining the true value of your assets to help you receive a fair settlement. Call (585) 227-7330 to schedule a consultation, or visit them online for more information on how they’ll assist you. 

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