Honolulu Property Division Lawyers
Dividing Property Through Equitable Distribution
Hawaii family courts follows equitable distribution principles in property
settlements. This approach is based on the belief that all property acquired
by the couple during their marriage is marital property and hence subject
to division. Judges in equitable division jurisdictions are authorized
to divide assets unevenly if necessary to achieve what they view as an
equitable result. In a nutshell, the courts views marriage as a partnership
and generally divide assets and allocated debts accordingly.
Call Coates Frey Tanimoto & Gibson, AAL, LLLC for help approaching
Equitable Versus Equal
Equity strives to achieve a general sense of fair play. If a judge believes
it is appropriate to deviate from an exact 50-50 split in order to arrive
at a result that is fair and equitable in a given case, then that Judge
may do and often does so.
It is important to understand that equitable distribution principles still
generally start at a basic 50-50 split analysis for property distribution,
in much the same way that a community property approach does. The key
difference is that judges in Hawaii and other equitable distribution states
are not absolutely bound to follow an exact even split the way they would
be in community property states. Judges in equitable distribution jurisdictions
like in Hawaii have the ability to switch to a 40-60 distribution of the
marital assets, or even 70-30 percent, or whatever percentage they believe
is appropriate. If the Court does deviate from the basic 50-50 split,
generally the judge will explain why such an allocation is just and equitable.
What Affects Equitable Distribution?
Taking an equitable division approach to property settlement allows the
judge to make decisions based on the specific circumstances of the case.
Some of the factors a court might consider in making an equitable distribution
of a couple’s assets include:
- The length of the marriage
The respective conditions in which each side will be left following the
- The nature of the various property items (inherited, separate, or premarital
property may be treated differently from that accumulated during marriage
and will often be returned to the spouse who was the original owner)
- The responsibilities each party had during the marriage (including their
respective economic and non-economic contributions)
- Whether there are children and who they will be living with after divorce
- The respective health and education levels of both parties
- The dissipation or wasting of any assets during the marriage
- The relative abilities and earning potentials of the parties
Our Honolulu property division attorneys will help you review your assets
before appearing before a judge. If you’d rather make the decisions
regarding property distribution yourself, our lawyers can help you draft
an uncontested settlement as well.
Reach out to Coates Frey Tanimoto & Gibson, AAL, LLLC at
(808) 518-6376 or complete our
simple contact form to schedule a free initial consultation.