Property Division

Under New York State’s equitable distribution law, there are two kinds of property. Separate property is property acquired prior to marriage, or property acquired through inheritance. Separate property belongs to the party who has title to it. Marital property is property acquired during the marriage. The court is required to make an “equitable” (not necessarily equal) distribution of the marital property. In a marriage of long duration, most judges will split the marital property equally. Problems can arise in putting a value on marital property (for example, a business started during the marriage). Pensions and retirement accounts are generally considered marital property to the extent that they were earned during the marriage.