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Divorce In An Equitable Distribution State

Equitable distribution is a method of dividing marital property during a divorce in which each spouse is entitled to a fair and just share of the marital assets and debts. Equitable distribution is used in most US states, which are known as equitable distribution states.

What to Know About Equitable Distribution Divorce

In equitable distribution states, marital property is divided according to several factors, including:

  • The length of the marriage
  • Each spouse's income and earning potential
  • Each spouse's contribution to the marriage, both financially and non-financially
  • The value of each spouse's non-marital property, such as property owned prior to the marriage or inherited property
  • The economic circumstances of each spouse

Equitable distribution states require a complete and accurate accounting of all marital assets and debts, including real estate, investments, retirement accounts, and personal property. In general, each spouse is entitled to an equitable share of the marital property, which does not necessarily mean an equal 50/50 split (which is what is found in states using the other form of divorce, community property). 

Equitable distribution states also address other divorce issues, including spousal support (alimony), child support, and child custody. Spousal support is awarded to a financially dependent spouse to provide them with financial support after the divorce and is based on several factors, including the length of the marriage and each spouse's income and earning potential. Child support is awarded to provide financial support for any children of the marriage and is based on the income of both parents and the needs of the children. Child custody is determined based on the best interests of the child and may be awarded to one or both parents, depending on the circumstances of the case.

It should be noted that divorces in equitable distribution states offer couples the opportunity to be assigned debts and property based on the totality of the divorce agreement. For instance, the judge will take into account instances of one party owning more property than the other when it's time to divide marital debts. 

Equitable distribution states provide a framework for dividing marital property and addressing other divorce-related issues in a fair and just manner, taking into account the specific circumstances of each case. It is important to work with a qualified family law attorney to ensure that your rights and interests are protected during the divorce process. Speak to a lawyer today to learn more about divorce law in an equitable distribution state.