In equitable distribution states, all property, whenever or however acquired, regardless of legal title, is subject to equal or unequal division.
Most states divide property according to equitable distribution statutes. Parties often have misconceptions about what is subject to division. For instance, in some states, if your spouse inherits money before marriage, even if the funds were always kept in his name and he never used them for family purposes, the funds are still subject to division. Such funds are part of the marital estate subject to equitable division. In this situation the division could be unequal, especially if the marriage was of short duration.
Each state’s divorce laws set forth mandatory "factors" judges must consider before making an equitable property division or awarding alimony. Some states also have "discretionary" factors courts may consider. Here are some mandatory "factors" incorporated into most state laws. Ask you lawyer for a copy of your state’s statute.
- Length of the marriage
- Age, health, occupation of the parties
- Station in life and life-style
- Liabilities and needs
- Contribution to the marital estate (economic, domestic, child-rearing, etc.)
- Assets and liabilities, sources and amount of income
- Behavior of the parties during the marriage
- Vocational skills, employability