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Equitable distribution isn’t necessarily equal distribution

On Behalf of | Jan 26, 2023 | Divorce

As you start planning for your divorce, you’ll see that Connecticut (like most states) is an “equitable distribution” state. People often think that means that marital assets are divided between spouses equally, or 50-50. Equitable distribution, however, means fair – not equal – division of assets between the divorcing spouses.

That’s the goal of the property division portion of the divorce – whether a couple is able to negotiate their own property division settlement, with the help of their attorneys, or they have to turn the matter over to a judge to decide. Of course, even if a couple negotiates their own settlement, a judge has to approve it.

What factors are considered?

Equitable division is in many ways more fair than a 50-50 split, which “community property” states strive for. That’s because there are a lot of factors to consider when determining what is fair for each spouse. These include:

  • The length of the marriage
  • How much income each spouse contributed
  • Non-monetary contributions of each spouse – for example, if one took time away from work to raise the kids and take care of the home
  • The age and health of each spouse 

A judge will also consider each spouse’s contribution to the couple’s debt. If one spouse, for example, has a gambling problem that cost the family a lot of money or perhaps ran up credit cards, the other spouse may be given more of the assets. They can also make the case that they shouldn’t have responsibility for debt accrued by their spouse without their knowledge and/or consent.

Whether you’re able to work out a division of assets and debts with your spouse or you have to put all or part of the agreement in a judge’s hands, it’s crucial to have experienced legal guidance to protect your rights and help you seek the best possible outcome.

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