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What Is Equitable Distribution? March 15, 2019

Bardonia, Rockland County
What Is Equitable Distribution?, Bardonia, New York

Ending a marriage is a challenging experience. Not only will it affect you emotionally, but it also requires working through issues that will impact your future financial health, such as the division of marital property. In many cases, family law court will decide how a couple’s assets should be split between them. Divorce laws are different in every state, but in New York, equitable distribution is the method used to divvy up assets and possessions. To learn more about what this means, use the guide below. 

How Marital Property Is Divided in NY Family Law Court 

What Equitable Distribution Is 

Many divorcing couples mistakenly believe that equitable distribution means their property will automatically be divided among them equally. Instead, the goal of equitable distribution is to split assets in a manner that is fair and reasonable. The law doesn’t set guidelines to go by, thus, the family law court has quite a bit of discretion in determining what is fair. However, before assets can be allocated, the judge must first make the distinction between marital and separate property. New York only allows marital property to be included in equitable distribution, which is anything that was acquired over the course of the marriage.

What Factors Impact the Division 

family lawDividing property can be a complex task and typically requires meticulous scrutiny of a couple’s financial records. Family law courts must also consider a number of factors when deciding what makes an equitable split. This includes the current income of both parties, the duration of the marriage, the health of each spouse, custody decisions, contributions to the marital estate, and tax and debt liabilities. Infidelity, drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence, and criminal activity will generally not factor into a judge’s decisions regarding the division of property. 

What Happens If Spouses Agree on Property Division

As an alternative to equitable distribution, couples may come to an agreement on their own about how to divide their property. In the event they successfully negotiate a settlement, there’s no need for the court to step in. It’s also possible to have a judge split just a portion of the assets if necessary.


To ensure you receive your fair share of property, it’s in your best interest to work with an attorney from Brown, Burgoon, & Hartnagel, P.C. They offer residents of Rockland and Orange counties, NY, more than 25 years of experience and a proven track record of success. Should you need to have your property divided in a family law court, they’ll help you navigate the marital litigation process and present a strong argument on your behalf. Call (845) 624-1966 to schedule a consultation, or visit them online for more information on how they’ll benefit your case. 

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