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Is New York an Equitable Distribution State?


When people think of getting divorced, they often worry about how their property will be divided between themselves and their spouses. Often, the process of dividing property can be what drags on a divorce proceeding. However, this process varies depending on the state in which people live. Some states are equitable distribution states while other are community property states.

Most states are equitable distribution states. When a court follows equitable distribution rules, it divides assets between the spouses as fairly (equitably) as possible. The court looks at each spouse’s ability to support himself or herself, the duration of the marriage, each spouse’s age, and each spouse’s general health. The property may not be exactly equal in the division, but the process aims to be fair.

In a minority of states, judges apply community property rules. Community property laws allow judges to divide the couple’s joint assets exactly in half. This process allows for a quick and clean division of marital property, though it may not be fair.

New York happens to be an equitable distribution state; however, only marital property is considered up for division by the court. Each spouse gets to keep his or her own separate property. Marital property includes all assets and debts acquired by either or both spouses during the marriage regardless of the form in which the title is held. Separate property is usually any assets either spouse had prior to the marriage, any assets received as an inheritance or gift, compensation for personal injuries, and property acquired from the proceeds or appreciation in value of separate property.

If you’re concerned about how your property might be divided during a divorce, talk to one of our skilled Dutchess County divorce attorneys. The Law Office of Dennis R. Vetrano, Jr., LLC has the knowledge, experience, and resources to offer each case, from negotiations to litigation. We can address the questions or concerns you may have regarding your divorce proceeding. Our firm prides itself on the level of personal service we are able to provide. Let us see what we can do for you.

Contact us at (845) 605-4330 or fill out our online form to schedule a free, confidential consultation with us today.