In about 1980, New York State switched from a Title State to an Equitable Distribution State with regard to the divorce assets of a marriage. Before equitable distribution, we were a Title State, which meant that if the house was in your name, it was your house. After equitable distribution, the courts decided that they would split the assets fairly. Equitable means fair, not even. It did not mean that assets were split 50/50. It just meant they would be split fairly.
Very recently, the courts have decided that more and more of the cases really should be decided on a 50/50 basis, but that also depends on how long you were married, how the assets were earned, who gave you the assets, and whether they were given to you by your parents or awarded them in a lawsuit. All of these have an effect on what the assets will be called. Some of them will be called separate property in which case they are not divided equitably. They belong to whoever owns them. It can be very, very complicated to trace the assets and figure out whether it’s separate property, marital property, or what the division should be. That’s one of the complicated parts of a divorce.
Leslye M. Schlesinger is an attorney located in New City, New York serving Rockland and Westchester County with quality legal services. She guides divorcing couples through alternative dispute resolution, including collaborative divorce and mediation. If you need her effective legal services, contact Leslye M. Schlesinger for a consultation.