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What is the difference between equitable distribution and community property states?

On Behalf of | Mar 21, 2020 | Property Division |

In the U.S., each state gets to decide its laws pertaining to divorce. When it comes to property division during a divorce, some states use community property law and others use equitable distribution. Understanding each type of law is helpful just in case you move to another state that does not use the same laws as North Carolina. 

According to Business Insider, North Carolina is an equitable distribution state, which means the court divides property fairly but not always equally. There are only a limited number of community property states. In those states, the courts divide property equally. 

Fair and equal 

The concepts of fair and equal are completely different when it comes to property division. In a situation where the court divides property fairly, you may not get the same number of assets as your spouse or even the exact same value of assets. In a situation where the court divides the assets equally, you will each get 50% of the assets without regard to other details. 


Your best bet regardless of where you live is to reach a property division settlement with your spouse instead of leaving it in the court’s hands. Reaching a settlement allows you to have control over who gets which assets and lets you decide what is best without the entanglements of the law. The court will still have to approve a settlement, but as long as it is fair and just, the court will usually be fine with whatever you decide, and you will not have to subject yourself to the property division laws of your state.