New York Divorce Law
The end of a marriage can be an understandably challenging time, especially if children are involved. You need to have you and your children’s best interests in mind as you attempt to negotiate with the one person you’re trying to disassociate with. During this process, you should make sure that you’re on top of the complex divorce matters so you don’t lose out on what you need.
LawInfo’s New York Divorce Law articles can help relieve some of the stress of the process. You’ll learn about the state’s divorce prerequisites, how property is divided and many other divorce topics. Whether you need assistance in Buffalo, New York City or Syracuse, LawInfo can help connect you with a New York divorce attorney.
Equitable Distribution in New York
Not everything that you and your spouse owned will be divided and distributed evenly upon divorce. New York is an equitable distribution state, which means that while the division of property may not be necessarily equal, it’s fair to each spouse’s needs.
It’s important to note that when a court decides upon the equitable distribution of property, certain property will be excluded from distribution. Only marital property—most property and debts acquired during the marriage—will be considered for distribution. Separate property—including property owned separately before marriage and gifts, inheritances and insurance or personal injury payments—is typically not included in distribution.
The court bases the distribution proportions on several factors, including:
- The marriage’s duration.
- Each spouse’s health and age.
- The custodial parent’s need for the marital home.
- A spouse’s loss of benefits (including inheritances or insurance) upon dissolution.
New York Annulment
Where a regular divorce dissolves a valid marriage, an annulment dissolves an invalid marriage. An invalid marriage is one that did not meet the requirements of a legal marriage in New York. Those requirements include a spouse’s basic capacity to give consent, their free will to marry and legal marriage age requirements. An invalid marriage can be annulled if a spouse:
- Is under 18 years of age and didn’t receive parental or court approval for marriage.
- Was married to another person at the same time.
- Was married under force or duress.
- Was fraudulently deceived into marrying their partner.
- Did not possess the mental capacity to consent.
- Did not possess the physical capacity for sexual intercourse.
New York Legal Separation
A legal separation is different from a divorce and an annulment because it is not a dissolution and it’s not court-ordered. You can think of a legal separation as a break from living with your spouse in order to sort out issues in your marriage. Sometimes a legal separation will lead to a divorce if things can’t be worked out.
To make your separation legal, you and your spouse will need to make a separation agreement that includes details about what will happen to your property, children and debts during your separation. You don’t need a court to approve the agreement, but you’ll need to notarize it at your local County Clerk’s office.