What Happens to the Marital House in a New York Divorce?

When couples divorce in New York, the courts divide their marital property based on the principle of equitable distribution. This doesn’t mean splitting everything in half. Instead, the law aims to divide property fairly between the spouses based upon their direct and indirect contributions to the assets.

Marital property includes almost everything either spouse earned or acquired during the marriage, like the family home, cars, savings accounts, brokerage accounts, executive compensation such as RSU’s also known as restricted stock units and even tax losses. However, personal gifts, inheritances, and items owned before the marriage usually don’t count as marital property. The court looks at what each person needs and uses the available evidence to make a fair decision on who gets what based upon a variety of set factors


Here’s what you need to know about what this means for the marital home.


Factors the Courts Consider When Dividing Property in New York Divorce Cases

When dividing property in a New York divorce, courts look at many factors to make fair decisions. They consider each person’s income and property, how long the marriage lasted, and the relative health and age of both spouses. If the couple has kids, the court considers what they need to live comfortably. Prenuptial agreements, which are contracts signed before marriage about who gets what if they divorce, can also play a big role in property division determinations. If the couple has one, the court usually follows what it says, as long as it’s fair and both parties understood what they were agreeing to when they created it and provided it was properly executed.


Options for the Marital Home in a New York Divorce

Couples have a few choices about what to do with the marital home in a New York divorce. One option is that the parties agree to sell the house and split the money. Another option is for one spouse to buy out the other’s share. This way, one person can keep the house. Sometimes, both people continue to own the home together for a while, especially if they want to keep things stable for their kids. In that case, they may have a custody agreement which includes nesting. Lastly, the court might also order that the marital home be sold


Is Keeping the Marital Home the Best Idea?

While many clients initially want to keep the marital home, sometimes they come to realize that keeping the marital home may not be the best choice after a divorce. Issues such as payment of capital gains taxes, the cost of upkeep of the house, refinancing of the mortgage, higher mortgage payments due to higher interest rates and the burden of having to sell the marital home later by themselves may be good reasons to sell the marital home now. It may be wise to discuss these issues with both your lawyer and your financial advisor.


How a Lawyer Can Help

Legal representation is essential during a divorce. Divorce attorneys understand New York property division laws and can explain your rights and options. They can communicate on your behalf in negotiations and in court. They can fill out and file all the needed paperwork correctly and on time.

Lawyers can also give you advice on how to handle the marital home and other property. This includes explaining the tax and financial implications of your choices. Additionally, they can explain the effects of any agreements you made before or during the marriage so you know what to expect when it’s time to divide the marital property.


Contact a New York Divorce Attorney Now

Are you ready to talk about your options and make a plan for your divorce? Call Lisa Zeiderman, Esq., today at (212) 769-3500 for an initial consultation. Lisa can give you clear advice, help you understand your rights, and work with you to find a clear path forward.

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