The words “equal” and “equitable” sound similar enough that you could use them interchangeably, but there is an important difference between the words when it comes to divorce. According to Illinois law, the division of property during a divorce must be equitable but not necessarily equal. An equal division of property focuses on each spouse getting half of the marital property, while an equitable division of property is more concerned with each spouse getting a fair share.
Equitable Division vs. Community Property
Nine states, including Wisconsin, follow the community property law that assumes that each spouse equally owns any assets and debts gained during the marriage and must equally divide them during a divorce. The rest of the states use equitable distribution, which means that the marital properties will be divided based on what is fair for each side. If spouses cannot determine an equitable division on their own, a divorce court will decide for them.
Advantages of Equitable Distribution
Why do most states use equitable distribution instead of equal distribution? In many cases, dividing the marital assets equally would not be a fair arrangement because the spouses are not financially equal:...