Last Updated On: May 11, 2022

Is New York a Community Property State?

Going through a divorce is always difficult. You will have to deal with issues such as property division, spousal support, and child custody and visitation. You might wonder whether New York is a community property state. An experienced New York divorce lawyer can help you so that you know what to expect.

Is New York a Community Property State?

New York was once a community property state, however, that is not the case any longer. Instead, it is now an equitable distribution state, which means that all property acquired throughout the marriage in Manhattan or the New York City area, is distributed in a way that’s considered equitable among the spouses.

It’s important to know that “equitable” doesn’t necessarily mean that the property is split evenly between the couple. Instead, it means that marital property is divided fairly.

What is the Difference Between Marital and Separate Property?

Some people may be confused when it comes to marital and separate property when going through a divorce. Your family law attorney may be able to help you to get a better understanding of the differences between these types of property.

Marital property is the property that the couple acquired during the marriage. It doesn’t matter if those things were gained by only one spouse or by both, jointly. This is the property that gets distributed as part of the divorce settlement.

Meanwhile, separate property is the property that either party acquired before the marriage took place. Whether the person purchased it or inherited it as a gift, these items remain separate during the divorce.

The following are considered separate property and not subject to division per the divorce settlement:

• Any property acquired by either spouse prior to the marriage.

• Gifts or inheritances left to one only one of the spouses.

• Personal injury settlements awarded to only one spouse.

• Property deemed separate in a prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement.

All other property would be considered marital property and would be equitably distributed as part of the divorce settlement.

How Does the Court Determine Equitable Distribution of Property in a Divorce?

When a couple in New York City gets a divorce, the court will determine how their marital property is equitably split. The judge will determine a variety of factors before making a decision on property division. Those factors include the following:

• Each spouse’s age and overall health

• The duration of the marriage 

• The financial contribution of each spouse to the marriage 

• The amount of time each spouse spent at home to tend to household affairs and care for the children

• The income and assets of either spouse and whether either spouse wasted marital assets.

• Each spouse’s potential earning capacity

• Health insurance or inheritance a spouse might lose due to the divorce

• An award of spousal maintenance to one spouse from the court

• Tax implications of property division

Various other factors might also be examined by the judge when determining the division of property. The court will also take into consideration any agreements between divorcing spouses. If a couple is able to agree on how to split their marital property, the judge can amend it in the divorce settlement. However, if the couple is unable to come to an agreement, the judge will make a decision based on the above factors and ensure that the property is equitably divided. To speak with an experienced New York divorce lawyer, please call today.

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