The actual division of rights and interests in all types of tangible and intangible property is called “equitable distribution”.

The step-by-step process involved by courts in equitable distribution are as follows:

  • Accurately identify the property existing at the date of separation
  • Determine what is marital property, what is separate property (not subject to division) and what is mixed property (only part of which may be subject to division)
  • Determine the fair market value of the property subject to division
  • Distribute the assets and property in a fair and equitable manner

The primary goal of equitable distribution is to divide property equitably and fairly. The secondary goal is to minimize the litigation costs so that the assets of the parties available for support, maintenance, future income, retirement income, college education and similar needs are not consumed by the court fight. There are several ways to fast-track equitable distribution including mediation, binding arbitration and collaborative law.