What Does Equitable Distribution Actually Mean?

The end of a marriage hopefully will mean that you and your spouse are moving on to happier lives but it will definitely mean that your shared, marital property is going to be divided. How this happens is somewhat up to you both. If you can agree on property division methods outside of court, either one of you can get as little or as much as you see fit. If you cannot agree – you are divorcing so this is a likely scenario – the presiding judge will need to use a method called equitable distribution. But just what does that mean?

The name is a little misleading. When you hear ‘equitable’ you may understandably think about equality and even shares, something like a 50-50 split. The truth is essentially the opposite. New York divorce courts, as well as most others in the country, use equitable distribution, or a system that is based on fairness. Rather than just getting handed a portion of your property, you need to show that you have earned it, or that your ex-spouse has not.

Equitable distribution can make your divorce feel very much like a competition. Even an uncontested divorce can heat up and run into problems once the couple realizes that they now need to contend for pieces of their property they thought were rightfully theirs. You can imagine the frustration and surprise one might feel when learning that they are not guaranteed to get half of their spouse’s savings account, something they were relying on to get by after the divorce finalized.

Appraisals & Arguments

Certain high-cost pieces of your marital property should be appraised for their full value before continuing with the equitable distribution process. In particular, you will need to know how much your home is currently worth on the market. This may also be necessary for any family automobiles, especially those that have been purchased somewhat recently.

You will also want to prepare your arguments as to why you deserve your specific shares of certain items. Do not think that every bit of your property needs to be split. You can attempt to be granted the full value of an asset if you think that is fair, or equitable. The success you find all depends on your preparation, though.

To get ready for the almost-inevitable conflict over your property, work closely with a legal professional you can trust, a family lawyer who has years of experience, someone like the Dutchess County divorce attorneys you will find at the Law Office of Dennis R. Vetrano, Jr., LLC. Our entire team is focused exclusively on family law, earning us a steadfast reputation of excellence and dozens of 5-star client testimonials. Learn what we can do for you today by calling 845.605.4330 and requesting a free consultation.

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