Equitable Distribution

In a divorce proceeding there are a number of considerations that will have long-term consequences for the spouses, as well as the entire family, especially determining how marital property will be divided. New York is known as an "equitable distribution" state which means that the law requires a divorcing couples' marital property to be divided fairly.

Gassman Baiamonte Gruner, P.C. routinely advises clients on issues related to marital property and the state's equitable distribution rules. We leverage our unique capabilities to provide clients with a distinct advantage in obtaining a favorable result whether by a settlement or in litigation.

What is marital property?

In a divorce, each spouse is entitled to retain their own personal, or separate property. This includes property that was  acquired by either spouse before marriage,  property that was received individually as an inheritance or gift, compensation for personal injuries or another legal settlement, and any property under a valid pre-marital agreement.

However, marital property must be fairly divided, including:

  • Property that was purchased by each spouse during the marriage, regardless of who held title
  • Property that was acquired by the couple while they were married (such as a house or car)
  • Each spouse's income during marriage
  • Retirement benefits that each spouse earned during the marriage

How does the court determine equitable distribution?

Equitable distribution does not mean that a couple's property will be split evenly, but in a way that leads to a fair outcome for both spouses. A court relies upon a number of factors in dividing marital property including:

  • The financial condition and earning power of each spouse
  • How much each spouse contributed to the acquisition of marital property
  • Contributions to the education and earning power of either spouse
  • Future financial needs and liabilities of each spouse
  • Spousal maintenance (alimony)

Additional property that falls under equitable distribution rules includes businesses, professional practices, and enhanced earning capacity that results from career advancement, obtaining a professional license, or educational degree. While separate property is not divided, the court will consider the value of each spouse's separate property, and may grant a reasonable monetary award to one of the spouses.

Although New York is an equitable distribution state, dividing marital property can still be very complicated. In particular, business assets are very difficult to divide and depend on a "fair valuation."

Ultimately, arriving at a fair distribution of marital property requires the expertise of attorneys, as well as court appointed appraisers, accountants and other financial professionals.

By collaborating with a network of financial specialists, we can help determine the fair value of your marital property, ascertain business valuations and uncover any hidden assets. We have the experience and knowledge necessary to properly counsel you on issues involving complicated tax considerations and any other matter that may arise in the distribution of property.  In the event that an equitable distribution order was arrived at unfairly, we will pursue litigation in the appellate court. If you have questions about your marital property rights under equitable distribution rules or any matter related to your divorce, call the law office of Gassman Baiamonte Gruner ,P.C. today.

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