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Is Domestic Violence Taken into Consideration in Property Distributions?

In divorce proceedings, the issue of domestic violence can significantly impact the distribution of assets and liabilities. In the state of New York, where equitable distribution laws govern the division of marital property, understanding how domestic violence is considered is crucial. New York’s Domestic Relations Law § 236, which sets out the criteria divorce judges use in equitable distribution of property, now includes consideration of whether either party has committed domestic violence against the other party. The law acknowledges that domestic violence can have profound effects on a victim's financial situation and ability to participate fully in the marriage. As such, it is considered when determining how to divide marital assets and liabilities.


A spouse seeking a greater share of equitable distribution based on domestic violence must demonstrate not only that one or more violent acts occurred but also that they had a direct impact on the victim’s financial situation. For example, if the victim had to leave their job or career due to the abuse, resulting in a loss of income or professional opportunities, the court may take this into account when dividing assets.

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