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How do New York judges divide property in absence of agreement?

On Behalf of | Oct 15, 2015 | Property And Asset Division

Property division is an important aspect of divorce, and an issue that can be the source of much controversy in the dissolution process. Because of the potential financial loss married people can face in divorce, more people are turning to marital agreements to protect their assets in the event their marriage fails.

Turning to a prenuptial agreement is good planning, of course, but what about those who have missed their opportunity to establish such an agreement? Or, alternatively, what about those who have established a prenuptial agreement but that agreement has been declared wholly invalid and unenforceable? In these cases, courts apply default rules when it comes to dividing up property. 

Different states have different approaches to property division, but New York follows a general approach followed by most states known as equitable distribution. Under this approach, the basic aim of property division is to divide up property in a way that is fair and equitable for both parties. In some cases, this may mean an equal division, but often it will not.

Judges in New York are required by statute to take into account a variety of factors when determining how to divide property. No one factor is given more weight than others under the law, though a judge may choose to put more emphasis on certain factors than on others. In other words, judges have a lot of discretion when it comes to dividing up property.

In our next post, we’ll take a look at some of the statutory factors for property division and why having an experienced advocate through the property division process is important. 

SourceNew York Domestic Relations Law, Section 236