Are Assets Split 50/50 in a Divorce?

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There are many decisions that need to be made when a couple decides to get divorced. Besides child custody one of the most important decisions that must be addressed is the division of property. Whether it is a family home, cars, jewelry, artwork, etc. property must be split between the two spouses. Depending on the circumstances of the divorce and each party, assets may be split 50/50 but that is not necessarily standard. If you are going through a divorce and need legal advice during the division of property, do not hesitate to contact an experienced Suffolk County property distribution lawyer.

What is an Equitable Distribution State?

An equitable distribution state differs from what is known as a community property state. In a community property state, all assets that are acquired by either spouse during a marriage are considered shared property. It does not matter which spouse bought or received them. Additionally, these laws state that if the marriage ends in a divorce each spouse is entitled to half or 50% of the community assets.

In an equitable distribution state, many assets will be considered joint property, but not all. In the event of a divorce, a court will work to divide the property between the two spouses in a way that is considered fair but does not have to be equal. If one spouse makes a significantly higher amount of money, a court may award the lower-earning spouse more assets to ensure an equitable split.

What are Marital vs Separate Assets?

Before a court can determine which spouse will receive which assets, it must first be decided what property is considered marital and what is considered separate. Generally, any assets that a spouse had on their own before the marriage can be considered separate, for example, a car gifted to them before the couple met.

Assets acquired during the marriage are probably now considered marital assets as they were bought or obtained using the funds and circumstances of the marriage. Even if one spouse’s income funded the purchase, if it was intended for familial or marital purposes it will likely be considered joint property. Additionally, separate assets can become marital property under certain circumstances. For one, a house that one spouse owned before marriage could be considered joint property if the other spouse contributed to it financially or by taking care of it.

Does Property Get Split 50/50 During a Divorce?

The answer will vary from state to state, but in New York, no, assets will not automatically be split 50/50 between the couple during a divorce. New York is an equitable distribution state so while a 50/50 split may be what is fair depending on the financial situation of either party, it is not necessarily going to work out that way.

During a divorce a court will typically assess the details of each spouse’s financial situation including their income, debts, earning capacity, financial responsibilities, and more. They will then determine what percentage of the property each spouse is entitled to and distribute certain assets to either party. Because NY is an equitable distribution state the division of property will be fair but not always equal.

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