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How is Property Divided in Equitable Distribution States?

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Question: How is Property Divided in Equitable Distribution States?
Answer: Equitable Distribution of Marital Property

There are two legal theories that govern how marital property is divided: Community Property or Equitable distribution.

Equitable distribution is more common than community property laws and instead of requiring a 50/50 split of marital property; it takes into account the financial situation of each spouse. While equitable distribution is more flexible, it is also harder to forecast the outcome, since there are so many factors taken into consideration during settlement negotiations. Factors considered in equitable distribution include:

  • The length of the marriage.
  • The age and physical and emotional health of the spouses.
  • The income or property brought to the marriage by each spouse.
  • The standard of living established during the marriage.
  • Any written agreement made by the spouses before or during the marriage concerning property distribution.
  • The economic situation of each spouse at the time the division of property becomes effective.
  • The income and earning potential of each spouse.
  • The contribution by each spouse to the education, training or earning power of the other spouse.
  • The contribution of each spouse as to the acquisition of any marital property as well as the contribution of a spouse as a homemaker.
  • The tax consequences to each spouse.
  • The present value of any marital property.
  • The need for the custodial parent to remain in the marital home and keep possession of household effects.
  • The marital debts and liabilities and the ability of each spouse to pay those debts.
  • Any other factors the court may feel are relevant.

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