When you get a divorce, one of the most important aspects of settling with your spouse is dividing your property. The state law tells courts they must use the concept of equitable distribution in property division situations.
Cornell Law School explains equitable distribution is a fair division of assets as opposed to community property division, which is a 50/50 split. Because fairness is the guiding point, it may mean you and your spouse get unequal assets.
Reaching a fair decision
To ensure fairness in the property division process, the court will look at various factors. These may include ownership rights, financial situations after the divorce, need and how the allocation of assets may impact the children.
The court may look into the marriage to help make its decision. Something such as adultery may come into play. In addition, the court may consider inheritances. For example, if you have a large inheritance, the court may award more assets to your spouse to balance things out. Another consideration is the length of your marriage. If you have not been together long, the court may be more likely to look at the investments into each asset when deciding who will get it.
If the court will divide your assets, the judge has a lot of leeway in making the decisions. The better option is to try to come to an agreement between yourselves. This keeps the decision in your hands and allows you to make choices that make the most sense for your situation. In the end, you probably will come out better if you can divide your property outside of the courtroom.