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What is Equitable Distribution?

White square with a gold border and the black words “What is equitable distribution?” with the Freed Marcroft family law firm logo in the lower right corner.When it comes to dividing property in a divorce, Connecticut is an “equitable distribution” or “equitable division” state.  It is not, as is sometimes misunderstood, a “community property” state.

Read on to learn more.

What is Equitable Distribution?

Courts in equitable distribution states like Connecticut divide marital property according to what is fair, or equitable, for both spouses. This isn’t the same as equal distribution.  Equitable does not necessarily mean 50/50.  The focus of equitable distribution is the needs of each spouse and the facts of the case.  The spouses either reach an agreement on what constitutes an equitable distribution of property, or the judge decides.

The keyword when you think of equitable distribution is equitable.

How Does Property Division Work in Connecticut?

Equitable distribution in Connecticut’s is quite different from other states that follow the equitable distribution rule of property division.  This is because, in addition to being an equitable distribution state, Connecticut is an “all property state.”

In a Connecticut divorce, family law courts have broad authority to award marital property to either spouse, regardless of:

  • how it is titled
  • when it was acquired
  • or whether it was received as a gift or inheritance.

In Connecticut, all property is marital property, which is a sharp contrast to the law in most equitable distribution states.  In theory, this means that everything owned by both spouses (and all debts owned by both spouses) is “fair game” or subject to division in a Connecticut divorce.  This is what makes Connecticut an “all property” state, which means that everything the couple owns or owes is fair game when it comes to dividing things up in divorce.

Next Steps

As you can tell, equitable distribution isn’t simple in Connecticut — which means there is a lot of opportunity for creative negotiations, strategy, and solutions. It’s important to have an experienced divorced legal team as your guide.

Our first step at Freed Marcroft, the Goals & Planning Conference, is designed to get to the heart of your problem and unveil your true goals.  Then, we take those goals, analyze them along with the facts of your case, and present you with recommendations and options on how to move forward.

Schedule your Goals & Planning Conference today, or contact us either here or by phone at 860-560-8160.

Written by Meghan Freed