For those who haven’t signed a prenuptial agreement, asset division can be a stressful task for divorcing couples to tackle. Over the years, you and your spouse have probably gathered a fair amount of assets. But now that you’re separating, you have the task of dividing those assets. So how does the process work?

New York is an equitable distribution state

Some states still abide by community property laws. This means that during a divorce, all assets acquired during the marriage are split equally between parties. New York is not one of these states. Rather, New York abides by equitable distribution laws, meaning a court divides marital assets fairly, not equally.

In order to determine what is fair, a judge will look at several factors of your individual life, as well as your marriage. Some of those factors include:

  • Your income level after the divorce
  • Your age and overall health
  • How long your marriage lasted
  • Your financial contributions to the marriage
  • Your non-financial contributions to the marriage (for example, parenting involvement)
  • The total value of your separate property
  • Any adverse reasons for the divorce (for example, extramarital affairs or domestic violence)

Every case is different, and these are only a fraction of the factors that a judge might take into consideration when determining equitable distribution.

How can you prepare?

Particularly when it comes to dividing your assets, some of which might be valuable or sentimental, it’s important to be prepared.

One of the main tasks ahead of you is to categorize and value your assets. This includes determining which assets you acquired during the marriage, which assets you owned before the marriage and which assets were gifts or inheritances that you received during the marriage. If you have any paperwork that proves your sole ownership of an asset, now is the time to get it in order.

Get the most out of your divorce

To get the most out of your divorce, understanding how New York divides assets is important. You’ll be able to prepare for what’s to come while avoiding any surprises along the way. And when asset division is complete, you’ll hopefully be able to move forward from your divorce and make some new memories.