There have been exciting New Developments in Equitable Distribution law in New York.  The  latest factors include the impact of domestic violence on distribution of marital property and the distribution, so to speak of domestic companion animals.  

The factors for EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION are as long as they are divorce but the below list is a  current list of what a Judge may consider in dividing up the marital estate in the event of an unfortunate divorce.

DOMESTIC RELATIONS LAW §236B(D) allows the Court broad discretion as to how to divide marital property. They consider the following statutory factors, as well as anything else deemed just and proper. 

The below list has been amended and companion  animals have now been provided for in this equation.

  1. Income and property as of the date of marriage and date of filing
  2. Length of marriage age and health of husband and wife
  3.  Who should occupy, own or possess  the marital residence and contents
  4. Any inheritance or pension rights that might terminate after dissolution of the marriage
  5. Health insurance benefits lost after divorce
  6. An award of maintenance
  7. All contributions  made  to any marital property, whether it be direct or indirect contributions made by the nontitled spouse toward acquisition or appreciation in the asset. The court will no longer consider a spouse’s enhanced earning capacity of a  license, or educational degree or career appreciation as something to be divided  but the court can still consider any other type of enhanced earning capacity resulting from direct or indirect contributions of the non-titled spouse during the marriage.
  8. Whether the asset in question is liquid or non-liquid would  be another factors to be considered and taken into account in making the equitable distribution award.
  9. Future financial circumstances of the husband and wife as a result of the divorce
  10. Economic considerations as to selling verses retaining an assert in its present state and separate from interference by the other party.
  11. The effect of tax consequences to husband and wife
  12.   The wasteful dissipation of assets by either spouse
  13. Any intentional transfer of assets done in anticipation of a divorce action to the detriment of the other spouse
  14. Domestic violence and the nature of it the extent of it and its duration, which went into law on  May 3, 2020. WB, LLP – SJP NYSBA FLS 999998.05912/125642013v.1 3
  15. As for companion animals in the end 2021 the New York State legislature decided to amend the law which governs the “equitable distribution” of marital property.  That statute change now directs that “in awarding the possession of a companion animal, the court shall consider the best interest of such animal.”
  16. And lastly, any other factor which the court shall expressly find to be just and proper and equitable.

That said, it is well settled law that “While equitable distribution does not necessarily mean equal distribution, when both spouses have made significant contributions to a marriage of long duration, the division of marital property should be as equal as possible in a divorce case.” Eschemuller v. Eschemuller, 167 A.D.3d 983 (2d Dep’t 2018). That means that in order to have  a strong case for equal distribution of the marital assets you would want to have a long term marriage with relative contributions by both the husband and wife. This is because the Courtin New York views marriage as an economic partnership.

For instance, In the case of Sogloff to Cravo v. Diegel, 163 A.D.3d 920, 83 N.Y.S.3d 91 (2d Dep’t 2018) the Court affirmed the lower Supreme Court’s award of  45% of the marital residence and funds despite the long length of the marriage because the husband did not make a comparable contribution to the Wife’s contribution,  Whereas in other cases, the Court split the marital assets equally because the parties were able to demonstrate both a lengthy marriage and significant contributions.

By: Your Manhattan Divorce Lawyer 

and New York City Divorce Lawyer Lisa Beth Older 

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