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What is Equitable Distribution in a Divorce?

There is a great deal of stress and patience that is involved in the divorce process. This stems from the need to separate two lives that were brought together over a period of time. Doing so involves the division of assets between both spouses. During a divorce, spouses are often concerned about their assets and finances being affected. While many people believe their assets will be divided equally during a divorce, this is not always the case. In reality, most contested divorces often result in “equitable distribution.” This means that the couple’s assets are divided by the court in a way that is fair and just to the spouses. When going through this process, it is important to retain the services of an experienced attorney who can represent your best interests and protect your assets.

Division of Property

Couples who go to court in order to separate their property relinquish their right to do so themselves. Instead, a judge is given the right to divide their asset for them. In doing so, the judge works to determine which of the couple’s assets are considered marital property and which are separate property. Simply put, marital property is assets that are acquired or converted into both spouses’ property throughout the duration of their marriage. Alternatively, separate property is assets that are acquired before the marriage and agreed to stay separate throughout the relationship. 

How Do Courts Divide Assets in a Divorce?

In most cases, marital property is subject to equitable distribution in a divorce. However, separate property usually is not equitably distributed between the spouses, as they are deemed each spouse’s individual assets. In addition to this, the judge may consider other aspects relating to both spouses’ finances. This can include their ages, earnings, debts, liabilities, tax consequences, economic status, and more.

How Can I Protect My Assets From a Divorce?

When entering a marriage, it is important to address the ways you can protect your assets in the event of a divorce. While this conversation can be difficult, it can also pay off in the long run. One of the most common ways to protect assets is a prenuptial agreement. This outlines what will happen to both spouses’ assets if they divorce in the future. If the couple runs a business, they can draft a shareholder agreement as well to detail their interests in the business. If a couple is already married, they can no longer sign a prenuptial agreement. Instead, they can draft a postnuptial agreement that functions similarly to a prenuptial agreement. However, this is drafted after they are already married. 

Contact our Firm

If you need an experienced legal team to guide you through your divorce, contact Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark L.L.C today.