New York divorce courts use the equitable distribution model when dividing marital property upon divorce. This split can be 90/10, 65/35 or 50/50, depending on the circumstances.
Valuing the house
The first step the divorce court will take will be to determine the current value of your home. They will assign an appraiser to do this and, in most cases, order the couples to split the cost of this evaluation. The appraiser evaluates the home based on its current market value, meaning the amount for which you can expect to sell it.
Once the court has established the value of your house, they can begin to divide up your equity. Equity is the difference between what you owe on any mortgage against the home and its current market value. If there is any remaining money after compensating these debts, you will divide them according to an arrangement made by both parties or as ordered by the court.
The time you got married and how you acquired the house could also factor in when dividing equity during the divorce-process. If, for example, you bought the house before marrying and kept it separate from the marital estate, you may not have to share any equity when divorcing. However, if you purchased the home during your marriage or made improvements with marital funds, the court will most likely award both parties a share of the equity.
If one party wants to keep the house, they can buy out the other party’s part of the equity. They could also give up other marital property, such as stocks or bonds. Alternatively, both parties may decide to keep the house and share ownership until the time they sell it (this normally applies in a bird-nesting parenting arrangement).
Ultimately, it is up to you and your spouse to negotiate who gets what regarding home equity division. If you cannot devise an arrangement, then it will be up to a judge to decide how to divide your house. No matter which route you decide to take, it’s important to understand how the law applies in your particular situation to ensure a fair split.