When a married couple decides to get divorced, several things take place within the legal divorce proceedings. One of these things is equitable distribution, the division of marital property between the spouses if the two cannot agree regarding how jointly owned property will be divided. While it sounds like equitable distribution would be a strict, “equal,” 50/50 split between the spouses, the court determines how property will be divided fairly, as opposed to equally.
Factors in Divorce Property Distribution
The factors that the courts take into consideration when dividing property are:
- Non-marital property vs. marital property (only non-marital property is divided)
- Earning power of each of the spouses (a spouse with less earning power may be awarded more property)
- Which spouse earned the property (that spouse has more entitlement to the property)
- Services as a homemaker (courts consider homemaker as a job)
- Waste and dissipation (one spouse’s gambling losses, spending exorbitant amounts of money)
- Fault (spousal abuse)
- Duration of marriage (the longer the marriage, the more equal the division of property)
- Age and health of the spouses (a sick spouse may be awarded more property)
- Tax consequences (a spouse may be awarded more property to offset the tax obligations)
- Existing premarital agreements (existing premarital agreements are normally upheld)
Whether in a community state or not, fairness is still often necessary to determine division of marital property. For instance, if a couple getting divorced owns a business and a house and one spouse is determined as the sole manager of the company, the business may be awarded to that spouse while the house is awarded to the other spouse, to make the division fair.
We Are Here To Help
Like so many family law issues, equitable distribution and community property principles can be stressful and emotional to deal with. No one wants to walk away from a divorce feeling like they got robbed of the property they rightly deserved. Consulting with a Phoenix family attorney can ensure you understand your rights and receive a fair amount of property during your divorce proceeding, 480.345.2652.