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Property Division in Divorce: New York's Equitable Distribution Law

Marriage paperwork

Navigating the complexities of divorce can be overwhelming, particularly when dividing your assets. As an experienced Long Island-based family law attorney with over 30 years of practice, Anthony LoPresti understands the intricacies of New York's Equitable Distribution Law. We will explore the principles of this law and offer guidance on protecting your financial interests during a divorce.

Understanding Equitable Distribution

Equitable Distribution vs. Community Property

When dividing marital property in a divorce, states follow one of two systems: equitable distribution or community property. New York is an equitable distribution state, meaning marital assets are divided fairly and equitably but not necessarily equally. This differs from community property states, where spouses divide marital assets equally (50/50).

Defining Marital and Separate Property

Before the equitable distribution process begins, it is crucial to differentiate between marital and separate property. Marital property includes all assets and debts acquired by either spouse during the marriage. This may encompass real estate, investment/bank accounts, retirement accounts, vehicles, and businesses. Separate property, on the other hand, is any property owned by a spouse before the marriage or acquired by gift or inheritance during the marriage. Separate property remains the exclusive property of the spouse and is not subject to division during a divorce.

Factors Influencing Equitable Distribution

New York courts consider several factors when determining the equitable division of marital property, including but not limited to:

  1. Duration of the marriage
  2. Age and health of both parties
  3. Income and earning potential of each spouse
  4. Contributions of each spouse to the marriage (financial and non-financial)
  5. Present and future financial needs of each spouse
  6. Tax consequences of property distribution
  7. Custody arrangements for any children

It is important to note that the court has considerable discretion when dividing assets and debts, so the outcome may vary from case to case.

Protecting Your Assets and Interests

Accurate Valuation of Marital Assets

An essential step in the equitable distribution process is accurately valuing your marital assets. This may involve appraisals, business valuations, and actuarial evaluations of retirement accounts. An experienced family law attorney like Anthony LoPresti can help ensure that your assets are properly valued so that you receive a fair share in the divorce.

Negotiating a Fair Settlement

Divorcing couples can often negotiate a fair and equitable settlement without court intervention. Through negotiation or alternative dispute resolution methods, couples can work together to divide their assets to meet their individual needs and circumstances. Retaining the services of a skilled family law attorney can be invaluable in these negotiations, as they can advocate for your best interests and help you reach a satisfactory agreement.

Navigating Complex Asset Division

In some cases, the division of marital property can become quite complex, especially when dealing with high-net-worth individuals, business interests, or substantial retirement accounts. In these situations, it is crucial to have an attorney with extensive experience handling these cases.

Divorce is a challenging and emotional process, often involving dividing your most valuable assets. To ensure a fair and equitable distribution of property, it is essential to seek the guidance of an experienced family law attorney like Anthony LoPresti.

By understanding the principles of New York's Equitable Distribution Law, accurately valuing your assets, and effectively negotiating a settlement, you can protect your financial interests and move forward with confidence. If you are facing a divorce and have concerns about property division, don't hesitate to contact Anthony LoPresti for a consultation.

Secure Your Financial Future

Take control of your financial future during this difficult time. Contact Anthony LoPresti, an experienced Long Island family law attorney, to schedule a consultation and begin safeguarding your assets during your divorce. Contact us today at 516-252-0223 to get started.