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Equitable distribution: Factors the court considers

Divorce will bring to light many questions regarding property division and equitable distribution. It's a common mistake to assume that equitable distribution results in a 50/50 split.

In the event of mediation, the distribution of property is subject to negotiation by the divorcing individuals. If your case moves to family court, the judge will review your situation and make decisions based on factors that include:

  • Duration of the marriage
  • The financial needs of both individuals
  • The financial liabilities of both individuals
  • Which spouse has physical custody of any children
  • The earning potential of both individuals
  • The amount of money each person contributed to the property
  • Nonmonetary contributions, such as if one parent stayed home to raise your children
  • Age and health
  • Total value of separate property
  • Child support obligations
  • Spousal support obligations

Since the court considers all these factors, there's no way of knowing exactly how things will end up. Here are some things you can do to minimize stress and remain organized:

  • Create a property division and debt checklist
  • Opt for mediation, as opposed to litigation, as you maintain more control over the divorce process
  • Make note of any assets the other party may be hiding

Many people go into the divorce process with the idea that they'll receive half of all marital property. While it may be close, equitable distribution doesn't mean equal division.

If you're concerned about property division and protecting your legal rights, take the time to organize your finances and prepare for every possible situation. This will position you to make informed decisions along the way.

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