What is Equitable Distribution?

When a couple gets divorced, they are very often left to pick up the emotional, and financial pieces. When you and your spouse have not drafted any sort of marital agreement and cannot agree on the terms of your divorce, there is a very good chance you will fall into the litigation process. Nobody wants this to happen, but the unfortunate reality is that it does, and all too often. When you have a contested divorce, some of your assets may be up for grabs. This is why you must read on to learn more about what you can do going forward and hire an experienced attorney who is ready to fight for your rights and the assets of which you are entitled. Here are some of the questions you may have regarding equitable distribution:

What is the difference between marital and exempt property?

Essentially, when you marry someone, your assets are separated into two primary categories–marital property and exempt property. Marital property will generally include any assets you and your spouse have accumulated during your marriage. On the other hand, exempt property includes assets accumulated before or outside of your marriage. For example, inheritances and gifts are usually considered exempt property.

How will the courts determine who gets what assets in a divorce?

Unfortunately, “equitable” does not mean “equal.” Rather, it more closely means fair and just in the eyes of the courts. However, unsurprisingly, most couples do not feel content with the court’s determinations at the end of the equitable distribution process. Essentially, the courts will consider several things when divvying assets. For example, courts will consider you and your spouse’s age, your health, debts and liabilities, marital standard of living, duration of your marriage, the value of your property, and more. 

How do I protect my assets in a divorce?

There are several things you can do to protect your assets in a divorce. The best way to do so is by drafting a prenuptial agreement. A prenuptial agreement, drafted before marriage, can help secure your assets and predetermine the terms of your divorce in writing, should one occur. Additionally, if you and your spouse jointly own a business, you may draft a shareholder agreement, which can establish what will happen with your business should you get a divorce. Lastly, if you are already married, you may draft a postnuptial agreement. A postnuptial agreement functions essentially the same as a prenuptial agreement, however, it is drafted after marriage. 

Contact our experienced Long Island firm

Peter V. Mandi, Esq. is an experienced divorce and family law attorney located in Bohemia, New York. If you require strong and dedicated legal representation in Long Island, New York, contact Peter V. Mandi & Associates, Inc. today.