Juan Luciano Discusses Equitable Distribution in New York

November 12, 2020: Manhattan, NY - For those who are considering a divorce in New York City or the surrounding areas, the concept of equitable distribution laws may be confusing given the term. For some, the term equitable distribution might seem to mean an even division of property. But equitable distribution, under New York Law, has a much more nuanced meaning.

When clients consult with Juan Luciano, Esq., a Manhattan divorce attorney, one of the things that they typically discuss is asset division. Because New York is known as an equitable distribution state, clients will often misunderstand what equitable distribution really means under the law.

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“Equitable distribution laws were developed to be a more fair way of dividing assets in the case of divorce,” New York City divorce lawyer explains. “Today, more couples come to the marriage with assets of their own. Under equitable distribution laws, those assets will be retained by the spouse who owned the asset at the time of the marriage. The courts will then distribute those assets that are considered marital assets, or those that the couple acquired during the marriage. These will be the primary home or other real estate, investments, retirement accounts, businesses. Anything that the couple acquired as a couple will be divided.”

The question then becomes whether those marital assets are divided evenly. As it turns out, “equitably” does not mean “evenly.” If a couple divorces in New York, the courts will attempt to divide marital assets equitably, but the judge gets to decide what equitable means in each case, based on what has been contributed by each spouse and what each will need to move on.

“Once the determination of marital property is made, the courts will then divide it considering many different factors. They will consider each spouse’s income, the length of the marriage, whether there are children involved, and who will have custody, whether there is any spousal support,” NYC divorce attorney continued. “The courts make every effort to consider a holistic view of the couple’s assets, finances, debts, and the future division of responsibilities to ensure that marital assets are being fairly distributed. Although this can be complicated, divorce lawyers in equitable distribution states understand that it is their responsibility to make sure that assets have been itemized with valuations and attempt to get their clients to work together toward a fair resolution. It’s better if we can get our clients to work out an agreement amicably before we get the courts involved. When it has to go before the court, it adds time, expense, and even more emotion to an already emotional ordeal.“

Mr. Luciano further explains that the courts encourage couples to work cooperatively and decide between themselves how to fairly divide their marital assets and debts. When this happens, the judge will typically approve an agreement that has been agreed upon by the parties themselves, providing it is a fair one.


Juan Luciano, Esp. is an experienced divorce lawyer who practices in New York City and surrounding areas. Interested parties who have further questions about equitable distribution or are searching for an experienced divorce lawyer in New York can learn more about him and his practice on his website and social media.


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