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LawTalk
LawTalk, Attorney and Counselor at Law
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 37639
Experience:  30 years legal experience. I remain current in Family Law through regular continuing education.
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In getting a divorce I do not understand what an 'equitable'

Customer Question

in getting a divorce I do not understand what an 'equitable' state means
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  LawTalk replied 8 months ago.

Good evening,

I'm Doug, and I'm sorry to hear of the confusion. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today.

I think what you mean is a state that follows the Equitable Distribution theory of the division of marital assets in the event of a divorce. Let me explain it to you.

In a divorce, the manner in which the courts allocate the property accumulated during a marriage depends on whether the state in which the divorce is sought is one that follows Community Property law or Equitable Distribution law.

In the states following Community Property law, in the absence of a divorce settlement agreement to the contrary,the courts attempt to divide the marital assets 50/50 as between the spouses,with each spouse receiving half of the assets and half of the debts. The following states follow Community Property law:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Idaho
  • Louisiana
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • Texas
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

The other states however, including Missouri, follow an Equitable Distribution law in the distribution of marital assets in a divorce. All property acquired during the marriage, or paid for during the marriage, is considered to be marital property.

Equitable distribution looks at a number of factors in determining how to divide the marital assets and debts.

Factors which the court typically considers include:

1. The length of the marriage.
2. The amount of work done to accumulate/improve the property.
3. Fault of one spouse or the other for the break-up—such as adultery
4. The earning capacities of the spouses.
5. Separate property held by each spouse.
6. The value of the contribution of a spouse who maintains the home as a home-maker.

While there often is a division of marital assets that are very close to 50/50, the judge has great discretion and may also choose to weigh the contribution to the marriage by the spouses in non financial terms, such as home-making and child rearing, as well as to whether one person earned much more through employment than the other spouse who also worked for wages.

You may reply back to me using the Reply link and I will be happy to continue to assist you until I am able to address your concerns, to your satisfaction.

I hope that I have been able to fully answer your question. As I am not an employee of JustAnswer, please be so kind as to rate my service to you. That is the only way I am compensated for assisting you. Thank you in advance.

I wish you and yours the best in 2016,

Doug

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Ok well since I am getting a divorce in Missouri my husband is telling me that since he made more money than I did and contributed more to the 401K then I did that he would get the majority of the money in the 401(k) and the equity in our house like percentage based i.e. he made 80% of money he gets 80% of what we have
Expert:  LawTalk replied 8 months ago.

That is really highly unlikely though. As a rule most judges will never split assets at less than 40/60 or 45/55. If he gets more, it will almost certainly not be all that much more. And because he earns a lot more money than you, you will also most likely be entitled to spousal support.

You may reply back to me using the Reply link and I will be happy to continue to assist you until I am able to address your concerns, to your satisfaction.

Please remember to rate my service to you so that I can be compensated for helping you. Thank you in advance.

I wish you and yours the best in 2016,

Doug

Expert:  LawTalk replied 8 months ago.

It is possible that your questions and issues might be better served by an in-depth conversation with me. If you are interested, for a very nominal charge I can offer you a private phone conference.

Please know that I answered your question in good faith, providing you with the information that you asked for, and I did that with the expectation that you would act likewise and rate my service to you. If I have already provided you with the information you asked for and you have no additional questions, would you please now rate my service to you so I can be compensated for assisting you? Rating me costs you nothing as you have already paid the deposit for my help. All rating does is ensure that I am paid for my time in working with you.

Thanks in advance for your rating of my service, It is greatly appreciated,

Doug