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The factors that drive equitable distribution

As you navigate the property division process in your divorce, you might hear about equitable distribution. Some people assume this to mean that the courts want all marital assets divided equally. In fact, equitable distribution focuses on fair distribution in each specific case, not necessarily an equal split.

It is important to understand the factors involved in equitable distribution to help you prepare for the process.

Separate or marital property

Any property you owned separately in the marriage typically remains with the original owner. The courts do not factor these assets into the distribution. Distribution focuses on marital property, which is the property you acquired jointly in the marriage.

Important distribution factors

When the court assesses the situation for equitable distribution, the length of the marriage and the financial contributions of each spouse apply. The judge also considers each spouse’s individual needs, careers and education.

Distribution options

Equitable distribution means ensuring that each of you gets a fair amount of the assets. You can offset one asset with another, such as when one spouse keeps the family home, and the other keeps a specific investment account. Find the balance that works for your individual situation. Sometimes that means an even split of the assets, but equitable distribution allows for other approaches as well.

According to Forbes, financial problems contribute to 37% of divorces in the United States. The more you understand about equitable distribution and its benefits for ensuring fair asset division in divorce, the easier it is to appreciate its role. Know which assets you want from the process and negotiate accordingly.