In divorce proceedings in New York, the manner of dividing property is called Equitable Distribution. Unlike community property, equitable distribution does not necessarily mean equal. If a divorcing couple cannot agree on how to go their separate ways, the court will decide how to split their marital assets. The division of marital property often becomes one of the most contested aspects of a divorce, especially when high-net worth assets are involved.
Separate property, or property that was acquired before the marriage, is not divided. When deciding on Equitable Distribution, a judge will take into consideration many factors such as the duration of the marriage and each spouses, age, health, income, and financial future. Each spouse’s contribution to acquiring marital assets is also taken into consideration, including indirect contributions such as a mother’s decision to stay at home to care for the family.
New York’s law regarding equitable distribution came into effect on July 19, 1980, and in the decades since its initial passage, the law has been refined both by legislative alteration and judicial interpretation. Lawyers at Dobrish Michaels Gross LLP have been involved with this law since its inception, and our senior partner was involved both with its planning and implementation in 1979 and 1980. Our firm has been involved in the litigation of numerous issues relating to property division, with some of our cases clarifying or changing the existing law. Our attorneys have lectured and written about equitable distribution extensively, as well as worked towards its clarification in their bar association activities.