Equitable Distribution States





When a state uses equitable distribution, as the division of property method, the spouses' property is divided in a way that is "fair" to both spouses. It can be 50-50, but sometimes, not.

Which states are Equitable Distribution States?

  • Alabama,
  • Alaska,
  • Arkansas,
  • Colorado,
  • Connecticut,
  • Delaware,
  • District of Columbia,
  • Florida,
  • Georgia,
  • Hawaii,
  • Illinois,
  • Indiana,
  • Iowa,
  • Kansas,
  • Kentucky,

  • Need a Family Lawyer?Legal Match can help you find an attorney in your area--get consults for your most important questions, ASAP!

  • Maine,
  • Maryland,
  • Massachusetts,
  • Michigan,
  • Minnesota,
  • Mississippi,
  • Missouri,
  • Montana,
  • Nebraska,
  • New Hampshire,
  • New Jersey,
  • New York,
  • North Carolina,
  • North Dakota,


  • Note: Debt is also shared, unless it's specifically one party's debt. Whether you live in an equitable distribution or a community property state, you will need to divide your debt. You can do this on your own, or you can allow the judge to make the decision for you. The CareOne program can be a helpful resource if you have debt. Read the review at CareOne Credit.

  • Ohio,
  • Oklahoma,
  • Oregon,
  • Pennsylvania,
  • Rhode Island,
  • South Carolina,
  • South Dakota,
  • Tennessee,
  • Utah,
  • Vermont,
  • Virginia,
  • West Virginia,
  • Wisconsin,
  • Wyoming.

If your state doesn't appear in this list, then you most likely live in a Community Property State.

What does Equitable Distribution mean for me?

Just to make this very clear: Marital law is different in every state. Even though your state may be an ED state, there may be certain parts of family law that are not equitable.

  • Some property can remain separate if it stayed separate to begin with. For instance, an inheritance that was kept separate will remain separate property. However, if the inheritance was commingled with marital property, then it could be divided as marital property would be.

  • Some states may give more "property" in whatever form that means, to the person who is not at fault, if this would be a contested divorce.

  • Judges generally make decisions about how much property each spouse receives based on the income and financial standing of each party, the length of the marriage, and if the custodial spouse wishes to stay in the marital home with the children.

  • Some couples spend their time arguing using attorneys, and this is really difficult to call off. I must point out that if you and your ex wish to spend 20 hours arguing, that's $5000 each if you each spend $250/hr on attorneys. That's just to get one document completed!

  • Let's say it takes you a few hours to get your education, get lots of facts for how your case will be handled. Then, you spend 10 hours discussing things with your ex over a few weeks--basically, mediating your own divorce. That's $10,000 you will have saved yourselves. You can now do what you WANT to with that money, and not rely on the legal system unnecessarily.

Filing for a Property Settlement Agreement

Real-Divorce recommends: For most legal paperwork, it's best to check out the reputation of the company, and I check on all the online divorce companies! Use a company that is tried and true, with high BBB ratings and money back guarantees.

After you've discussed the marital property and decided how you will divide it using equitable distribution, any of these companies will be able to help you with your online divorce paperwork. I really like RocketLawyer, (they allow you to access as many legal docs as you need for a small fee each month--or year) because you can get all your docs done in one place for a very reasonable, flat fee. RocketLawyer is DIY legal. Save up to 90% off your legal documents

Legalzoom is also widely known, but they will type the documents for you for a flat fee. Many important docs are included in the price.



Read reviews and learn more about each program: RocketLawyer, Legalzoom, US Legal Forms, and 3StepDivorce.

Read more Divorce Paperwork Articles here:

    Divorce Paperwork--Main Page
    Community Property States
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