Know that equitable distribution is supposed to be fair
New York, much like many other jurisdictions in the country, is an equitable distribution state. This means that judges focus their attention on splitting up property fairly. There are many factors that Williamsville judges take into account when deciding what’s the most equitable way to divide up a couple’s property.
A judge will generally take into account both the health and age of each spouse before making any decisions about what should happen with the property that they own. They’ll also look to see what property and income each spouse brought into the marriage and how that compared to what each of them has now that their divorce is imminent.
Most New York family law judges will also want to know whether either spouse has been awarded alimony and about the living arrangements that the custodial parent plans to have. Finally, a judge will try to gain some perspective as to the future economic factors that may affect each spouse.
Family law judges used to divide up assets based on whose name it was titled in without concerning themselves with who contributed to paying for it back when New York was a community property state. This left many homemaker spouses who put their careers on hold to care for the family vulnerable to ending up with little to nothing when they divorced.
New York’s transition from being a community property to an equitable distribution state has changed this narrative. This doesn’t mean that judges always reach the fairest of decisions though.
One of the best things that you can do if you’re preparing to get divorced is to consult with an attorney. The earlier in the divorce process that you do this, the better the chance that your lawyer can protect your best interests during property division.