Family Courts Just Aren’t Interested So Much in Fault When it Comes to Equitable Distribution, or Property Division (If Ever)

“Wronged” spouses are always amazed and then shocked that here in Florida, a no-fault divorce state, the non-economic “sins” of a spouse (such as adultery) are generally not taken into account in equitable distribution, or property division.

New York state, on the other hand, remains a fault-based divorce state. The only one in fact.

But even in a state like New York, where “fault grounds” are alive and well, fault is not generally a factor in property division there either. For fault to influence equitable distribution, even in New York, the fault must be “egregious” and “shock the conscience of the court”.

What is egregious fault?

It is not deceiving your spouse into believing that a child who is the product of an affair is in fact your spouse’s child, New York’s highest court recently held. Not sufficiently shocking.

Examples of what is considered egregious fault in New York include extreme domestic violence and trying to bribe the judge presiding over the case.

So wronged Floridians should take some solace that, even in fault-based divorce, fault likely doesn’t affect the property division any more than it does here in Florida.

Read more in this Gotham Gazette article: Court Sets High Bar for ‘Egregious’.