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What is equitable division?

| May 26, 2021 | Property Division

One of the most potentially heated aspects of a New York divorce case is the division of assets and debts. A common contributing factor to the acrimony arises from a lack of general understanding of the judicial standard used by a court in a divorce case in regard to property. New York follows the standard of equitable distribution, sometimes referred to as equitable division, and most states do as well, as opposed to those states that follow community property laws.

Definition of equitable division of assets

In a divorce case, an equitable division of assets is a distribution of marital assets in a manner that is just and equitable under the circumstances of the divorcing parties. An equitable division of assets may result in a 50/50 division of property and debt, but that is not required. It is up to the judge to determine what is fair.

Confusion regarding meaning of equitable division

A fair amount of confusion surrounds the concept of equitable division of assets. If a New Yorker is asked what is meant by the equitable division of property in a divorce, that individual very well might respond to the effect that each spouse gets half the property. A mathematical division of assets in this manner is not always just and equitable and is not the guiding principle of this judicial standard.

A handful of states use what is called the community property standard. That standard does dictate that there is a presumption that marital assets should be divided in half. The vast majority of states utilize the equitable division standard as is done in New York.

More information about the equitable division of property standard can be obtained via an initial consultation with a New York divorce lawyer. Other questions about the divorce process can also be garnered from a preliminary appointment.

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