Equitable distribution of property is a court decision regarding the fairest and most equitable division of property for a divorcing couple.
When it comes to dividing property during divorce, equitable does not necessarily mean equal. There is no fixed standard of property division; rather, the court makes these decisions on a case-by-case basis. The only thing it will divide equally is a joint account the couple may have. The length of the marriage will have a huge impact on how property is divided between each person. The longer the couple was married, the more likely the assets will be split 50/50.
A court will also consider the following when deciding how to divide property:
- The amount of separate property owned by each spouse.
- The ability of the parties to acquire property.
- The financial needs and/or liabilities of the parties.
- The contribution to the value of the marital property.
- The premarital property and post-marital property.
- The tax consequences for each person.
- The age, health, skills, and abilities of each person.
Separate Property vs. Marital Property
A court can only distribute property that has been deemed marital property. Separate property refers to assets and monies a person acquired before they were married or outside of the union (i.e. inheritance or gifts specifically for the individual). There are some instances where property that was acquired separately from the marriage will become marital property. For example, if a person bought a car outside the marriage and made payments on it using marital funds it would be considered marital property because both parties were contributing to the monthly payments.
If a couple, with the help of a property division attorney, can agree on how their property should be divided, it doesn’t need to go before the court. Whatever the couple decides will be signed off by a judge to ensure it is legally binding.
Contact the Law Office of Nicholas T. Exarhakis
Our firm’s goal is to provide sound legal counsel to clients going through divorce. We are well-versed in sorting through property division matters before they reach the court.
Call our firm today at (410) 593-0040 or contact us online for a legal consultation.