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A divorce means that you will have to divide your assets. Often, judges will dictate what you can keep and what your spouse can have. In New York, judges use equitable distribution for property division.

Before you divide your property, it is crucial to understand what separate and marital property are. Likewise, you need to understand how equitable distribution works and how it might affect you.

What is separate and marital property?

According to the New York City Bar, martial property is real property that you and your spouse obtained while married. This may include:

  • Houses
  • Boats
  • Furniture
  • Artwork

Also, it may include your bank accounts, your pensions or your business permits.

Separate property is any property that you owned before you married your spouse. This includes personal and real property. It also includes any property that you inherited or that you received as a gift from a person who is not your spouse. Any awards or compensation that you receive for injuries is also separate property.

You can also discuss separate and marital property with your spouse in advance. If the two of you have an agreement, some marital property may count as separate property.

What is equitable distribution?

Some people mistake equitable distribution for equal distribution. Equitable distribution is division according to what is fair for both parties. Judges do have some leeway when deciding what is fair and just in a divorce.

Your description of your property, your financial situation and the value of your assets affect the judge’s final decision. Discover more about property division on our web page.