Marital property includes anything earned or acquired by either spouse during the marriage that is not separate property. This includes wages earned by either spouse, increased value of pensions, and debts incurred by either spouse during the marriage.
New York’s Domestic Relations Law requires “equitable distribution” of the couple’s marital property at the time of divorce. This means that the assets and debts of the marriage are divided in a way that is fair, but not necessary equal.
Only marital property needs to be divided, since separate property already belongs to one spouse or the other. However, in a separation agreement or stipulation settling the divorce, you should list any items you want to have clearly understood as separate to prevent disagreement in the future.
In an uncontested divorce, if there is marital property that needs to be divided, it must be divided in writing in the form of a Stipulation of Settlement. If you and your spouse cannot come to a written agreement about the marital property, the court may consider your case contested, or the court may order a hearing (inquest) so you and your spouse can bring proof of and testify regarding your marital property.