What is Equitable Distribution in a Divorce?
Couples never imagine they will get a divorce. Unfortunately, divorces happen, and in our society, they happen now more than ever. Divorce is both an emotionally and financially taxing process, which is why you most likely want it to be over with as soon as possible. Unfortunately, when you are in a contested divorce, you will enter the litigation process, which is rarely completed in a timely fashion. Additionally, your assets will be distributed “equitably,” which does not mean an even 50/50 split. “Equitably,” simply put, means a fair and just split in the eyes of the court. This, rather obviously, is extremely worrisome to couples, as both spouses generally believe they are entitled to more than they receive. If you believe your assets are at stake, here are some of the questions you may have:
What property is exempt from a divorce?
There are two types of property: marital property, and separate property. In a divorce, the courts will divvy your marital property as they see fit. Marital property includes essentially all accumulated assets in the duration of your marriage. Separate property, on the other hand, is generally exempt from the equitable distribution process, and it includes assets such as gifts or inheritance.
How will my assets get divided in a divorce?
The courts will consider several things when dividing your assets, including, though not limited to the following:
- Whether a spouse contributed to the education, training, or earning power of another spouse
- The value of your property
- You and your spouse’s earning potential
- Debts and liabilities
- You and your spouse’s age
- Your property, as well as income
- Tax consequences
- Property settlement agreements
- Your marital standard of living
- Whether you will need help covering the cost of reasonably foreseeable medical or educational costs for a child
- Whether you or your spouse deferred career goals for the benefit of your marriage
- You and your spouse’s health
- Your respective economic circumstances once your assets are divided
- The length of your marriage
Can I protect my assets from a divorce?
In short, yes, you can. You may file a prenuptial agreement, which will outline what will happen to your assets in the event of a divorce. However, you should know that you can only file a prenuptial agreement before you are married. If you are already married, you may draft a postnuptial agreement, which functions essentially the same as a prenuptial agreement.
Contact our experienced New York firm
The Law Office of Peter L. Jameson, PLLC is an experienced divorce and family law firm located in New City, NY. It is essential to retain effective legal guidance during such pivotal times in life. Contact our firm today to discuss your legal matter and get the quality legal representation you deserve.