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Splitting Assets and Dividing Debts in Divorce

Many divorcing spouses wonder why they are not entitled to an exact 50 percent split of the household assets, but what they do not realize is that courts divide assets equitably in a divorce — not necessarily equally. Courts consider a variety of factors when deciding how to divide family belongings. A good lawyer can help you accurately identify what you deserve as your fair share of the marital property.

Distinguishing marital assets from separate assets

Taking the first step involves produce a Statement of Net Worth, disclosing a true and accurate list of all the items and properties you own under oath. Keep in mind that falsifying your assets in the Statement can be detrimental to your goals during divorce. The next step involves classifying assets as either marital or separate:

  • Marital assets are considered items acquired together during a marriage or accounts that were commingled or maintained together during the marriage.
  • Separate assets are considered items that have been maintained separate and apart from the marriage. Separate assets may include:
    • Real estate property acquired by one spouse before the marriage
    • Inheritances
    • Gifts by third parties to one spouse
    • Compensation from a personal injury case
    • Property designated as separate in a Separation Agreement

Developing an equitable distribution scheme

Under Domestic Relations Law § 236(B)(5)(d), courts may also weigh the following factors when deciding how to divide marital assets equitably:

  • Duration of marriage
  • Age and health of the spouses
  • Income and property of each spouse
  • Loss of inheritance or pension rights through divorce
  • Loss of health insurance benefits through divorce
  • Payment of maintenance
  • Contributions of each spouse to the marriage
  • Liquidity of marital property
  • Future financial circumstances of either spouse
  • Ownership of a business or professional interest
  • Tax consequences to each spouse
  • Waste by either spouse
  • Encumbrances on the property
  • Any factor the court deems relevant

Contact experienced divorce attorneys for legal skilled guidance.

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