When a couple makes the difficult decision to divorce, they may not know what comes next or be prepared for what to expect. They likely know that issues such as property division will need to be resolved but may not know how they will be resolved during their divorce.

Property division in New York is conducted according to equitable property division rules. What this means for the divorcing couple is that the family law court will seek to reach a property division settlement agreement that is as fair and equitable to the divorcing spouses as possible. The court will examine a variety of factors to determine what a fair and equitable property division settlement agreement will be.

Factors the family law court will consider to try to reach a fair division of property include the income and property of each of the spouses when they entered the marriage and when they filed for divorce; and age and health of each of the spouses; the likely financial needs of each of the spouses; whether spousal maintenance, or alimony, has been awarded to one of the spouses; and any domestic requirements of the custodial parent.

It is important to note that generally only marital property, or income and property acquired during the marriage, is subject to the property division process. Marital property can be contrasted from separate property which is generally not subject to the property division process and can include property one of the spouses entered the marriage with, inheritances, gifts and some other types of property. Property can refer to bank accounts, a family home, cars, home furnishings and other real estate.

Property division can be one of the many challenges divorcing couples face during their divorce. Understanding property division rules, and how to prepare for the property division process by prioritizing their interests, can help divorcing couples be better prepared as they work through their divorce.

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