Equitable Distribution in Divorce: 8 Commonly Asked Questions Answered


There are many challenges you have to face when negotiating a divorce settlement. Aside from the obvious emotional turmoil attached to such a scenario, you are also going to have lots of questions that need answering, about the distribution of assets, for example.

It is always advisable to access professional divorce process legal advice so that you have the best chance of coming through the divorce with the best possible outcome.

In the meantime, here’s an overview of some of the most commonly asked divorce questions in relation to equitable distribution.

Are you bound by equitable distribution laws?

There is a legal framework designed to help couples to reach a property settlement if they are unable to reach an agreement outside of court proceedings.

You don’t have to be bound by those laws if you are able to negotiate an agreement on how to distribute marital assets such as property.

Will all property be subject to equitable distribution?

A key point to remember is that equitable distribution laws are only applicable to marital property.

This means that only property that was acquired during the marriage will be subject to equitable distribution. Property that was inherited during the marriage may also be excluded, but it is always best to get professional legal guidance for clarity.

Can gifts be excluded?

If your spouse gave you some property during the marriage these are not generally excluded. This means that these assets will be viewed as marital property when negotiating a settlement.

What about if you hold title to a property?

An asset that you hold a separate title to might or might not be considered an asset that is to be excluded from the negotiations.

Holding a separate title is not the only determining factor when it comes to agreeing on whether it is marital property or not. It is always best to seek legal guidance in order to clarify the situation, as circumstances change between couples.

Will any marital property be divided equally?

Although an equal division of assets is a common outcome it is not necessarily what will happen in every case.

If you are unable to reach an amicable settlement the court will make a decision to award a percentage that is considered to be fair in the circumstances.

What methods are used by the court to establish a fair division of property?

There are a number of salient points the court will consider in trying to reach a fair decision.

These include a review of the financial condition and earning potential of each spouse. A look at what each spouse contributed to the acquisition of marital property. The future financial needs of each spouse.

These are just some of the considerations. Your lawyer can go through these in greater detail.

What if there was infidelity in the marriage?

You cannot expect to receive a greater percentage of the assets even when the other party committed adultery or there was evidence of domestic violence.

How is property valued by the court?

In general terms, marital property will be valued based on its fair market valuation at the time litigation is filed. These are just some of the many questions you are bound to have when facing a divorce settlement negotiation. The best course of action, when you agree to divorce, is to seek out professional help. Your lawyer will be able to give you all the information and guidance needed to reach the best possible settlement.