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Who Gets What in a Divorce? Equitable Distribution!


As a divorce attorney and mediator for over 35 years, I have been guiding many spouses successfully on the path to divorce. The more educated you are about divorce, the better decisions you can make. I receive all kinds of questions about support, child custody and equitable distribution.

Today in this blog, I am going to answer some of your questions about equitable distribution.

What is equitable distribution?

Joel, Bayside, Queens

Equitable distribution is a method of dividing property at the time of divorce.

All states except for Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin follow the principles of equitable distribution.

Is all property subject to equitable distribution?

Nikki, NYC

No, it is not. Equitable distribution applies only to marital property. Marital property is all property acquired during the marriage. Marital property does not include property obtained during marriage by gift, bequest, devise or descent.

Property along with any assets acquired before marriage, is considered the separate property of the acquiring spouse, unless someone has done work on the property.

If my spouse and I agree on how we should divide our property, do we have to rely on equitable distribution laws?

Bryan, Amagansett, Long Island

A court will only engage in equitable distribution if a divorcing couple is unable to negotiate a property settlement. If a couple is able to agree on how to divide their property court intervention is not necessary. Couples can “opt out” of the equitable distribution laws in an agreement.

What Factors Are Considered In Determining How To Divide Marital Property?

Arlene, Merrick, NY

  • Financial condition and earning power of each spouse.
  • The value of each spouse's separate property, including a spouse's business, business interests, retirement plans, 401(k) plans, stocks, bonds, etc.
  • How each spouse contributed to the acquisition of marital property.
  • How much each spouse contributed to the education and earning power of the other spouse.
  • Future financial needs and liabilities of each spouse.
  • The ages and overall health of each spouse.
  • Premarital and prenuptial agreements.
  • Spousal maintenance or alimony obligations.

Thank you for submitting your questions and contributing to our blog.

As a divorce attorney, mediator and equitable distribution expert, I can answer all your questions during our comprehensive Free 1 hour consultation.

I will be happy to help you with your divorce whether you mediate or litigate. A tailored divorce process is available based upon your needs and wants! My divorce team and I will guide you on what you are entitled to in your divorce. You may be surprised to learn you are entitled to more than you thought.

Our FREE 1 HOUR CONSULTATIONS are very informative and conveniently still available virtually.

I look forward to speaking with you.

Warm regards,


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