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​What exactly is Equitable Distribution?

I’m in the midst of getting divorced and I’ve heard about this thing called Equitable Distribution. What exactly is that?

This is a question I hear frequently. Equitable Distribution refers to the splitting of all assets and debts accumulated during the marriage. These things are typically split 50/50. However, in some situations, the Court can determine that one party is entitled to less than 50% or one party should be responsible for more than 50%. However, in most cases, assets and debts accumulated during the marriage are split equally between the parties.

An important thing to remember about Equitable Distribution: it includes ALL assets and debts accumulated during the marriage regardless of who actually accumulated them.

Some examples of assets and debts that can be split during Equitable Distribution:

  • You could be partially on the hook for your soon-to-be-ex’s outrageous credit card debt or school loans or tax debt!

  • If you purchased a house or rental property or vehicle during the marriage, even if just in your name, your spouse can make a claim against it.

  • It also includes your pension! If you accumulated a pension at any point during the marriage, your spouse can make a claim against that.

  • It also includes any valuable equipment such as musical equipment, tools, computers, etc. So the default rule is that anything acquired during the marriage can be possibly split 50/50 between the spouses at the time of Divorce.

If you don’t want that to happen, the best option is to get a pre-nuptial agreement that will specify what, if anything, should be distributed between the spouses in the event of a Divorce. The other option is to reach an agreement with your spouse before filing for Divorce about how to split these things.

The contents of this blog entry are provided for informational purposes only. You should consult with an attorney to determine how the law applies to the facts of your particular case. Reading this blog entry does not create an attorney-client relationship with Kelly McGriff Law.


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