Although divorce can be an emotional endeavor, it can also be a major financial transaction. So, even though you might want to get through the process quickly with as little pain is possible, you should really take the time necessary to ensure that you’re financial interests are fully protected. Since New York is an equitable division state when it comes to property division, your spouse and her attorney, as well as the court, will be looking for a resolution that is fair. That doesn’t mean that the division of property has to be equal.

If that leaves you a little miffed as to where to start with property division, you’re not alone. A lot of New Yorkers struggle to figure out what is fair and which assets they should choose to pursue. This isn’t easy to do, especially given the fact that there are often emotional ties to certain assets. So, let’s look at some of the assets that might be in play in your divorce so that you can start thinking about what makes the most financial sense for you as you move forward.

  • The family home: This is a major asset that often has strong emotional attachment. But fighting over it might not be best for you. You have to consider that, if you obtain the home through your divorce, you’ll be responsible for the mortgage and any upkeep and maintenance. You might be able to swing that, but you might struggle if you’re losing a significant income that was brought in by your spouse. If that’s the case, then you might want to opt for either selling the home or giving it to your spouse in exchange for other assets. If you have children, though, and you can financially afford it, keeping the family home might help provide stability.
  • Personal possessions: While there might be certain personal possessions that you want to fight for, they probably won’t make much of a difference in the overall scheme of your divorce settlement, at least financially speaking. That doesn’t meant that you should simply give up those personal property items that are important to you. Rather, it means that you need to be more strategic in how you approach these assets so that you know where you and your spouse are willing to give and take. This can set you up for securing other assets that you really need or want.
  • Retirement accounts: These accounts are certainly worth fighting for because their value today can balloon over the course of time. So, when you’re negotiating a division of assets, you should try your best to at least get your fair share of retirement accounts. If you want to better ensure your financial future, then you might even consider giving in on other assets that have little financial value but significant emotional meaning to your spouse in exchange for a greater share of retirement assets.
  • A family business: This asset can be challenging to deal with. Whether you fight for it or let it go depends on your circumstances and the strength of the family business. If your business is successful, then you’ll probably want to try to give on other assets so that you can keep it. If it’s struggling, though, then it might be time to consider giving it to your spouse in exchange for other assets or simply selling it and fairly dividing the proceeds with your spouse. It’s of critical importance here that you know the true value of your business, which often entails having a professional evaluation.

Dealing with property division during divorce can be stressful because it’s oftentimes difficult to see how your decisions affect your short-term and long-term wellbeing. Yet, by working with an attorney who is well-versed in divorce and property division, you can come up with a strategy that puts your needs first and better ensures that you can start the next chapter of your life on firm financial footing.

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