The remaining 41 states are Equitable Distribution states. Settlements in Equitable Distribution States do not need to be equal, but they should be fair and equitable. In Equitable Distribution, several factors are taken into account, including the financial situation of each spouse when dividing assets.
Some of the factors considered are:
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• The length of the marriage
• The income or property brought into the marriage by each spouse
• The standard of living established during the marriage
• The age and physical/emotional health of each spouse
• The income and earning potential of each spouse
• The financial situation of each spouse when the divorce is finalized
• The contribution of a spouse to the education, training or earning power of the other
• The needs of the custodial parent to maintain the lifestyle for the children
In addition to these, a court can consider any other factors that it feels might be relevant. This makes it very difficult, if not impossible, to predict the outcome. The bottom line here is that you want to stay out of court, if possible. There’s a good reason why more than 95% of all divorces are ultimately settled out of court.
Also, please remember that debts usually get divided in divorce as well. However, Community Property states treat debt differently than Equitable Distribution states, so please make sure that you consult with an experienced divorce specialist.
Hopefully this basic description of how assets get divided in divorce will help you as you are going through your divorce. But as you can see, this can be an extremely complicated process filled with unseen potholes. Having a competent divorce financial professional on your team can help you get your fair share of the assets that you’ve worked so hard to accumulate.
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Jeff Landers is the President and Founder of Bedrock Divorce Advisors, a divorce financial strategy firm which exclusively advises affluent women throughout the United States before, during and after divorce. Jeff is the author of the new book, Divorce: Think Financially, Not Emotionally - What Women Need To Know About Securing Their Financial Future Before, During, And After Divorce, which provides women going through the crisis of divorce with the tools they need to secure their financial future. He is donating a portion of all book profits to Bedrock Divorce Fund for Abused Women, Inc. For your free article on Understanding How Assets Get Divided in A Divorce click here.