When dividing marital assets during a divorce, some people expect a fifty-fifty split, but that isn't how it is done. Divorce courts use what is known as equitable distribution, which is a fancy way of saying that the court will divide the assets in a way that it deems fair. Here are four common factors that the court will consider in an equitable distribution:
The court will consider your respective financial conditions after the divorce. The idea is to "boost" the poorer spouse's financial situation so that they don't become destitute after the divorce is finalized. Take an example of a situation where one person earns a quarter of their spouse's salary. If this couple's assets are divided in an equal manner, the lower-earning person will be at a disadvantage.
In addition to your respective finances, the court will also consider your respective earning capacities. This is because even if you have equal money in your individual bank accounts, one of you may have a higher earning capacity than the other one. If that's the case, then the spouse with more money in the bank will benefit from the asset division more than their partner. Therefore, the spouse with the higher-earning capacity (maybe they have an established business or are more educated) may receive less property than their partner.
Contribution to Education
Contribution to education can take many different ways. For example, a person can support their spouse's education by taking care of the kids while the other concentrates on their education. Another person can use their salary to pay for their spouse's tuition. If such couples break up, it will be the court's mandate to ensure that the person who supported the other gets to reap, so to speak, from their partner's educational investment. Therefore, by supporting your partner's education, you are entitled to some of the benefits of their education, and your entitlement will come in an increased share of assets.
Future Financial Needs
Lastly, the court will also look at your future financial needs to ensure that the spouse with more needs doesn't suffer at the expense of their partner. For example, if you have a chronic disease that requires constant medication and assistance with your daily life, then (other factors constant) you have a higher financial need than your partner and therefore should receive slightly more assets than them.
What may seem fair to the court or your partner may be unfair to you. Therefore, you need an experienced divorce lawyer to ensure that your voice is heard and the distribution of assets is really equitable.