Divorce is often described as an emotionally draining experience. In most cases, emotions run high when a relationship splits given all of the changes, such as moving to a new place, changes in a child's living arrangements, changes in financial status, and more. No attorney can stop the emotions that come with a divorce. However, an experienced family law attorney can ensure that you are prepared for what will occur at every step of the way. Antonio Jimenez is a compassionate divorce lawyer that understands the anxiety our divorce clients experience. That is why his goal is to make sure that you understand the divorce process. One part of a divorce that most divorcing couples must complete is equitable distribution.
Understanding Equitable Distribution
Equitable distribution is the court process of dividing one's assets or items that the parties own. When looking to distribute the assets equitably, the court will only consider splitting marital property. Marital property consists of those assets that were acquired during the marriage. Therefore, the court will only decide on those assets obtained after the date of the marriage and before the date of separation.
During the equitable distribution process, the court will divide not only marital assets but also matrimonial debts. This includes any debts acquired during the marriage. Equitable distribution of marital assets occurs regardless of whose name the property was purchased. However, there are circumstances, such as in the case of inheritance, in which one party's property will remain separate.
Equitable Distribution Factors
Equitable distribution does not mean that property will be distributed equally. Equitable in family court means fair, not equal. Many clients become anxious when they learn this. However, there are many factors that the court considers before determining how to divide assets and debts in a fair way. These factors include:
- Economic Circumstances of the parties: The judge will consider each party's financial circumstances at the time of a divorce. If one side has a significant amount of resources, from employment or otherwise, the court will consider this when distributing funds. This is not unfairly to burden the spouse who has more limited resources
- Length of Marriage and Contributions by the Parties: The court will also consider the length of the marriage in comparison to the contributions of each party during the marriage when determining how to divide assets.
- Dissipation: The court will also look at the spending of the parties in the two-year period just before the divorce to determine whether one spouse intentionally wasted marital funds.
These are just a few of the factors that the court considers when determining how to distribute property. As in most divorce cases, you need the assistance of an experienced attorney to determine how the specific circumstances of your case will impact equitable distribution in your case.
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I concentrate my practice on divorce and family law cases. If you need an attorney that will aggressively protect your rights, you can count on me to help. I take pride in my ability to accurately advise you of the best course of action to meet your particular needs. If you need legal assistance on a family law matter, call me directly for a free, no-obligation phone consultation.