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What if a property is too difficult to divide in a divorce?

On Behalf of | Nov 17, 2023 | Divorce

In New York family law cases, property division can be a source of contention with both sides wanting to retain specific items. This is often categorized as properties of significant value like real estate, automobiles, jewelry and art. However, people can disagree over any property from the marriage.

While this can lead to discord, once it is decided who will get what, it is rarely complicated. For example, if a person is awarded an automobile, they will simply get the automobile. There are some properties that would be divided in normal circumstances but there is significant complexity in doing so. In these instances, alternatives must be found. It is essential for people in this situation to be prepared.

The court strives for practical solutions

When dividing property, the objective is to achieve fairness. This is what is meant by the term equitable distribution. Still, dividing some properties can be inordinately difficult if the court were to go by the basic laws for splitting property equitably among the parties. Therefore, it will make a distributive award to reach a reasonable conclusion.

This is common in circumstances where a person owns a business, a corporation or is in a profession that would be too much of a burden to divide. In some cases, it simply does not make sense to try and handle a case in the conventional way of assessing separate property and marital property and dividing it as such.

For example, if a person is a partner is a partner in a restaurant, then it would be difficult to give the non-owning spouse a portion of the owner’s share. This would mean instead of equitable distribution, there could be a distributive award.

The court can also order that the person who is not receiving a part of a business or other property could be given use of a marital home independent of who technically owns it. The court will detail the factors it assessed when making its determination and give a list of reasons as to why it chose the course of action it did.

Even complicated property division can be handled fairly

It is understandable to wonder about the future with any family law case. While people will automatically focus on children and their financial prospects, property division should not be ignored. That includes property that falls into this category of being difficult to divide.

In these cases, it is useful to be fully prepared and to know what to expect. For business owners and others who are thinking about whether they will lose what they have worked for and the spouse who is legally entitled to a portion of what was built, it is imperative to be aware of how the law handles these issues and to take the necessary steps to reach a positive outcome to move forward.