When people marry, they want love and romance. When people divorce, they want money and stuff. Due to the latter fact, there are laws governing property division between divorcing couples.
Property division, also called equitable distribution in New York, is a process of dividing the rights and obligations pertaining to marital property between a divorcing husband and wife. The husband and wife can come to an agreement about their property via a property settlement or, if they disagree, they can go to court and have a judge decide what to do with the property.
New York is what is called an equitable distribution state. That means that only the property that was obtained during the marriage is subject to division in the divorce. There are many factors taken into account by the court when it decides who gets what.
Those factors include non-monetary contributions, economic misconduct, contributions to the other person's education, and many more. Non-monetary contributions include household chores, homemaking, and cooking, as well as taking care of the children. Economic misconduct includes wasting money or fraudulently spending it.
The court's job is to look at all of the factors that laws say must be taken into account and apply them to individual cases. The court may look at things like what each individual's contributions were within the marriage and what each individuals needs and earning ability will be after the marriage. Needs can include the needs of the children, resulting in the individual who has primary custody of the couple's children to get more money and the home.
Of course, if the divorcing couple has a prenup, that can hugely affect the property division. A prenup, also called a premarital contract, will if validly entered into supersede property division laws and be treated as determinative regarding how property is divided.