What is "Equitable Division of Property"?
Often people hear the term "equitable division", and they think that phrase means an equal (50/50) division of property in a dissolution of marriage proceeding. However, the courts are vested with discretion in dividing up martial property and distributing it among the parties. Equitable division, therefore, is not a guarantee of an even 50/50 split among the parties. A court may divide and distribute property as it deems just based on a variety of factors including, but not limited to one spouse's foregone income or educational opportunties, one spouse's contribution to raising the chidren of the marriage, and/or his or her ability to support himself or herself after the dissolution, etc. If a court reviews a property award, it will not be set aside simply because the division is not 50/50, rather there must be a showing that the award is inequitable. Accordingly, parties to a dissolution of marriage proceeding should recognize that when they hear the term "equitable division", this means what the court deems just, not simply a 50/50 split.
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