Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Feb 27, 2020

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Divorce is difficult enough strictly on an emotional level, but deciding who gets what and who pays what can make the situation downright stressful. However, according to one New York divorce lawyer, the equitable distribution of assets and child support issues are not as difficult as many people realize.

NY equitable distribution of assets

How are assets, debts and property divided in New York divorces? According to Elliot Schlissel, a New York Attorney whose practice area includes divorce, estate planning and many others, New York has an equitable distribution statute and each party is entitled to their equitable share of the assets. He explained:

In very long-term marriages, the equitable share ends up being approximately 50/50, but both property and debts are equitably divided, so if the parties have credit card bills, each party has an equitable responsibility depending on their earning potential for those bills. Assets, such as pensions and 401ks are also divided in the divorce. It’s not a 50/50 division. It’s not, as California has, community property, where they divide the assets equally; here, they divide it in relation to each party’s contribution towards the marriage.

NY child support

There is a federal statute called the Child Support Standards Act, according to Schlissel, which has been adopted in all 50 states’ something many people simply don’t realize. He told us:

This lays out a scheme for the non-custodial parent to pay child support to the residential custodial parent. The breakdown of child support is as follows:

  • 17% gross wages less FICA for one child;
  • 25% gross wages less FICA for two children;
  • 29% gross wages less FICA for three children;
  • 31% gross wages less FICA for four children;
  • No less than 35% gross wages less FICA for five children or more.

In addition, Schlissel says that the non-custodial parent must pay the custodial parent his or her percentage of the combined family income towards child care expenses, either medical or dental insurance and/or medical and dental expenses’ and that it also applies to coinsurance and deductibles.