Equitable Distribution in Divorce Cases

In many marriages, one spouse acquires or saves substantially greater assets than the other. When such marriages end in divorce, the court may grant a lesser share of marital assets to the less affluent spouse. In other words, a court’s equitable distribution of marital property does not necessarily result in an equal division but in a disposition that the court deems fit under the circumstances of the case. A court’s discretion in dividing community assets was the topic of a recent opinion issued by a New York court, in a case in which the husband’s wealth far exceeded the wife’s. If you are contemplating filing for divorce, it is advisable to speak to a seasoned New York divorce attorney to discuss what to expect in terms of equitable distribution of your marital estate.

History of the Case

It is reported that the wife filed for divorce from the husband. Due to the complexities of the marital estate, a bifurcated trial was issued to determine what constituted marital versus separate property and how any marital property should be divided. Following the trial, the court issued a judgment equitably distributing the estate and issuing spousal and child support awards. The parties both filed appeals, but the trial court’s rulings were modified but affirmed on appeal.

Equitable Distribution in Divorce Cases 

The appellate court explained that marriage is deemed an economic partnership and that New York Domestic Relations Laws dictate that the equitable distribution of marital assets should be driven by the facts of a particular case in consideration of numerous statutory factors, such as each party’s income and assets at the time of the marriage and when the divorce action was filed, the length of the marriage, and each party’s economic and non-economic contribution to the marriage.

A court has broad discretion in determining what constitutes an equitable distribution of marital property, and its determination should not be overruled absent a clear abuse of discretion. In the subject case, the appellate court explained that the husband earned a significant yearly salary when the couple was married and throughout the marriage and had substantial assets prior to getting married. Conversely, the wife earned a modest income, and her financial contributions to the marriage were insignificant. Thus, based on the duration of the marriage and the amount of separate property the husband contributed to the marital estate, the court found that a fair and equitable distribution resulted in the wife being awarded 25% of the marital assets while the husband was granted 75%.

Meet with an Experienced Family Law Attorney in New York

Many marriages involve spouses with disparate incomes, and when a couple that has unequal assets divorces, the differences in the parties’ wealth can impact how their property is divided. If you are thinking about getting divorced, it is important to understand how divorce may impact you financially, and you should speak to a divorce attorney. Ksenia Rudyuk is a skillful family law attorney who is adept at helping parties protect their rights with regard to equitable distribution of marital property, and if you hire her, she will work diligently on your behalf. You can reach Ms. Rudyuk through the online form or at 212-706-2001 to schedule a meeting.

Contact Information