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What does equitable distribution mean?

When a married couple divorces, the parties must divide their property according to state law. The law of property division can vary from state to state, but the two main types of property division systems are known as community property and equitable distribution. Like most states, Florida practices equitable distribution.

For states that follow equitable distribution, the judge will weigh each divorce and the circumstances involved in the divorce to make a ruling on how the property split. This does not necessarily mean a 50-50 split of property. Rather, the court will look at a number of factors, including the couple's standard of living and the earning capacity of each party before deciding on the distribution of assets.

For example, if one spouse had a high-paying job while the other spouse stayed home with the children, then even a 50-50 split might leave the stay-at-home spouse in a bad position. After the divorce, the high-earning ex-spouse will be able to earn enough money to make up for his or her loss relatively quickly, but the ex-spouse who stayed with the kids will be at a disadvantage in the job market, and will likely not be able to earn enough money to keep up anything like the standard of living during the marriage. As a result, the court may decide that the stay-at-home spouse should get a larger share of the marital property, and, in some cases, an award of alimony.

The process of a divorce is seldom ever cut and dry; it is often in each party's best interest to make sure their rights are protected and they have the best chance of success by hiring a strong professional team with experience in family law.

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