A divorce can involve various conflicting emotions, though spouses must also deal with the practical aspects of dissolving their marriage. The most pressing matters to deal with concern property division and child custody.
Understanding the laws governing divorce in New York state can help you avoid unnecessary conflicts and delays.
What Determines Property Division?
In New York, the court encourages divorcing spouses to reach an agreement about property division; however, when this does not happen, the law tasks a judge with deciding what each party receives. Property is either marital or separate. Marital property is acquired during the marriage, regardless of which spouse purchases or earns it and can include income, investments and retirement funds. In New York, these assets are subject to fair rather than equal division between the parties.
Spouses seeking a divorce in New York may keep the property or assets they bring to a marriage except when the other spouse contributes to their value increase. In such cases, the parties must divide them equitably.
Separate property may include an inheritance or gift, real estate, personal injury settlements and anything listed in a prenuptial agreement.
What Determines Child Custody?
Ideally, both parents can agree about co-parenting their children following a divorce. A judge will either approve the parents’ proposal or mandate another, but it must always consider the childrens’ well-being. For example, parents may share physical and legal custody, giving them an equal say in child-rearing decisions and time with their children. Alternatively, the court may grant physical custody to one parent with visitation for the other. Both parents may share decision-making responsibilities in either scenario, provided this arrangement benefits their children.
Divorce is challenging but avoiding a protracted and bitter court battle requires both parties’ cooperation.