Does Party Conduct Influence Equitable Division of Property in NY?

Since New York is an equitable distribution state, the assets of the parties will be divided up “equitably”.   This is done with the concept of considering what the parties contributed towards the marriage.  One of the most important aspects of determining equitable division in New York has to do with determining all of the property linked to the marriage first.  Since property division sets the tone for the future, more often than not parties to a divorce are curious about what will influence the final decision.

In general, misconduct that could be classified as “ordinary” does not influence how marital property is divided up in the courts.  In the event that one party attempts to hide assets to protect them from being divided, the court does have some leeway if this secrecy is uncovered.  The trial court may even decide that NY equitable division in these cases involves giving all of the concealed funds or assets to the other spouse.

If assets have been dissipated in other ways, the court has the authority to rule in a manner that is determined to “fairly compensate” for the dissipation.  This might include situations where a party has caused the other party to sustain a permanent disability or money that has been spent on gambling or drugs.

In short, you need to consult with someone who is experienced in the process of equitable division in NY to determine how property could be divided in your case.  While general misconduct does not influence property awards often, there are exceptions.

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