Marital Property vs. Separate Property in New York

The state of New York follows equitable distribution guidelines when dividing property during divorce. This means that all marital property will be distributed equitably, which is the fair division of assets and debts acquired during the union. Whether specific assets and possessions qualify as marital property or separate property will determine how they will be distributed during divorce proceedings.

What is marital property?
During divorce, the court will divide the marital property and the spouses will be able to retain all of their separate property. Marital property includes any property obtained by both or either spouse during their marriage. Common types of marital property include:

  • The incomes of both spouses
  • Any property purchased with either income
  • Any property purchased during the marriage, such as a home or vehicle
  • The appreciation of all marital property during the marriage
  • The retirement benefits earned by each spouse during the marriage

What is separate property?
Separate property is not divided by the courts when a couple divorces. Each spouse is able to keep their own separate property unless the other spouse has contributed to its increase in value. Separate property includes:

  • Property either spouse acquired before the marriage began
  • Property received individually by a spouse as a gift or inheritance, unless it was from the other spouse
  • Compensation for personal injuries sustained by one spouse
  • Any property designated as separate property in a valid prenuptial agreement or written contract
  • Property obtained from the proceeds or appreciation in value of separate property, unless the appreciation is in part due to the involvement of the other spouse

If you are getting divorced and believe that you are at risk of losing your separate property, it is important to enlist powerful legal counsel. Our New York City divorce attorney at the Law Offices of Andrew J. Spinnell, LLC has more than 30 years of experience and can advocate on your behalf during equitable distribution proceedings. Visit our website for more information or contact our firm to learn how we can protect your rights and interests!