Understanding Equitable Distribution

by Inzamam

Understanding Equitable Distribution & Division of Property in Divorce

During a divorce, equitable distribution entails dividing property between partners based on several factors, all of which weigh the amount that each party should receive. Since states follow equitable distribution laws, it’s important to understand the meaning and implications of equitable distribution.

Today, we’ll review what equitable distribution means and how it can impact the division of property in a divorce. 

A Deeper Look at Equitable Distribution 

Some people may be able to reach their own agreement about property division during a divorce. If not, then the court will step in to divide the belongings. The two methods used for dividing property are community property and equitable distribution. Equitable distribution does not assume each person should get identically appraised assets. Instead, it looks at a variety of factors to determine how to divide marital property. 

Factors to Determine Equitable Distribution

For equitable distribution, the courts examine several factors to assess who receives which assets. They may look at:

  • Spending habits
  • Earning potential
  • Education and employability 
  • Health status
  • Financial needs
  • The cause of the divorce

Based on the factors above, the court will divide the property in the way they consider fair to each party. Most times, property acquired before marriage or inherited is excluded, as it is separate property. Marital property or property obtained during the marriage is handled with equitable distribution. 

Equitable distribution will consider the factors above when assessing property division for a couple with a stay-at-home parent. While the stay-at-home parent was not working outside the home to bring in income, that parent was contributing to the household. Based on such information, the courts may decide it is equitable to evenly divide the assets. 

How do Prenuptial Agreements Impact Equitable Distribution?

Prenuptial agreements are held higher in court than equitable distribution. The courts will adhere to the property division of the prenuptial agreement rather than judicial command if one exists

Is Equitable Distribution Required? 

Equitable distribution is used when parties can not agree on their own about property distribution. Equitable distribution is not required. If the two people can come to an agreement on their own, they can divide the property in the way they want. 

To ensure fair equitable distribution, it’s imperative that the courts know all of the factors. Working with a professional can help you present your side and get a fair distribution. Consult a professional to learn more about equitable distribution and how it may impact your divorce.

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