Decatur Family Law and Probate Attorney

What does equitable distribution mean anyway?

On Behalf of | Jul 25, 2023 | Divorce

If you are involved in a divorce (or even just contemplating it) in our state, you likely have heard the term, “equitable distribution.” However, it is possible you have never heard it, and you may be left wondering what it means.

Equitable distribution of property

Equitable distribution of property is a legal principle that is used to divide marital assets and debts during a divorce. In Texas, the court follows equitable distribution when dividing assets in a divorce, despite recognizing community property laws.

According to Texas Family Code Section 7.001, et seq., requires the equitable distribution of property. It does this by instructing family law judges to divide the community property in a just and fair manner. The judge will consider the rights of each spouse and any children. This means that the division of property must be equitable. It will be based on the specific circumstances of each marriage.

Not equal

Equitable distribution does not necessarily mean equal distribution. Instead, it aims to achieve a fair and just result based on the specific circumstances of each case. This can result in one spouse receiving a larger share of the marital property if the court determines that it would be fair and just to do so.

Community property states

In contrast to community property states, where marital property is generally divided equally between the spouses, equitable distribution states consider a variety of factors to determine a fair division of assets. Some of these factors may include the length of the marriage, the age and health of each spouse, their respective incomes and earning potential, their contributions to the marriage (including non-financial contributions such as homemaking and child-rearing) and any fault or misconduct that may have contributed to the breakdown of the marriage.