Equitable distribution is the term used to describe how the marital assets and debts of a divorcing couple are divided between the parties at the time of the divorce. Notice that it is not referred to as equal distribution, this is because the particular equities of a particular divorce case may not require or rather may not justify an equal division of all assets and debts between the parties. One example of such an outcome is where use and possession of the marital home is awarded to the spouse whom, after the divorce, will be providing a majority of the care for the parties’ children.
In general, however, a court will begin with the premise that each party should receive an equal portion of the marital assets and marital debts. It then becomes the responsibilities of the parties to convince the court that some other division of the parties assets and debts, other than an equal division, is equitable or appropriate under the facts and circumstances of their particular case.
In general what constitutes a marital asset or a marital debt that is subject to Equitable Distribution is any asset or debt obtained or incurred by either party during the course of the marriage. With regard to assets it does not matter if that asset is titled in just one of the parties names or was physically purchased or otherwise obtained by just one of the parties. The same can be said with regard to debts. The fact that a debt was incurred under just one of the parties names does not indicate that the debt is the responsibility of that party even if the other party had no knowledge of the debt