New York Adds Domestic Violence as a New Factor to Consider for Equitable Distribution

Domestic Relations Law §236 now includes domestic violence as a factor to consider when determining equitable distribution in New York.

When the Legislature amended Domestic Relations Law (DRL) §236B(5)(d) in April 2020 by adding a new factor that the court must consider in distributing property between divorcing spouses, they implied it be on future matrimonial litigation as well as existing case law. The amended law essentially mandates that the court consider “whether either party has committed an act or acts of domestic violence, as described in [Social Services Law §459-a] against the other party and the nature, extent, duration, and impact of such act or acts.” DRL §236B(5)(d)(14).

Domestic violence causes physical, emotional, and psychological effects on the victim. Thus, the legislation believes that abuse within a marriage must be considered in order to appropriately resolve its termination and the financial situation that goes along with it. This new law is significantly amended from current law, which described “egregious” misconduct as being fault-neutral since the beginning of equitable distribution, which was more than 40 years ago.

Since New York is an equitable distribution state for property and debt, under the state’s divorce law for property distribution, the court will decide how to divide property and marital debt using the state’s equitable distribution laws. As per the amended Domestic Relations Law §236, the legislation requires judges to consider domestic violence when making an equitable distribution decision between divorcing spouses.

With the amended Domestic Relations Law §236 in effect, a victim of domestic violence can now get more than fifty percent of marital property. Marital property includes:

  • Real property you and your spouse bought during the marriage
  • Personal property, like cars, boats, furniture, and artwork you and your spouse bought during the marriage
  • Cash, securities, bank accounts, and retirement accounts obtained during the marriage
  • Advanced educational degrees gained during the marriage

Hiring a Divorce Lawyer in Brooklyn Can Help With Your Divorce Case

Deciding to end a marriage is never easy, but it can be the best decision when domestic violence is happening. It’s important for people who are considering a divorce to seek support from a divorce attorney to help them navigate through this major life-changing event.  

The best divorce lawyers in Brooklyn are the ones at The Louis Law Firm, PLLC. These top divorce lawyers in Brooklyn are here to help you during a difficult time. They have the knowledge, experience, compassion, and commitment to helping those who are looking to file for divorce. Contact The Louis Law Firm, PLLC at (347) 689-7562 to schedule a free consultation.

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