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The concept of equitable distribution

On Behalf of | Jan 14, 2022 | Family Law

Alabama divorces can be messy regardless of how much a divorcing couple works together. In order to keep things fair, most Alabama divorce courts use a process called equitable distribution.

What is equitable distribution?

Equitable distribution is how the court will decide to divide property if the couple cannot come to an agreement or compromise. This concept states that the property will be divided equally between the two persons or in whatever way is most fair.

The court may decide that splitting a property 50/50 isn’t fair to both parties. For example, if one spouse has no job or assets of their own due to supporting their spouse as a homemaker, the court may be more inclined to provide them with property and assets to ensure their quality of life.

The reasons for divorce might also influence what the court deems to be fair distribution. Divorce on the basis of domestic violence or extramarital affairs might change what’s considered fair.

For property that can’t be easily split, the court will usually order that property be sold and the profits split between the two people. This can include anything from the house to a boat or other assets.

What property is subject to equitable distribution?

Most property that was acquired by both parties during their marriage is subject to equitable distribution in the divorce. Property that each person brought with them into the marriage, such as cars and bank accounts they owned before getting married, can’t be brought into equitable distribution.

One person can argue that they made more contributions or they need the property for whatever reason. The court also takes that into consideration when deciding who gets what.

Can couples reach their own compromises?

Couples are more than welcome to find their own resolution and compromises to how property is distributed. Odds are that the divorcing couple will know their needs and what works better than the court will.

Sometimes, for one reason or another, the couple is unable to work together, or one party refuses to compromise. In that case, the court would take over and divide the property according to what they would consider equitable distribution.