Equitable division is a legal theory that property acquired during marriage is distributed between spouses during a divorce based on an individualized set of factors. The property is not divided equally, as in community property theory.
Equitable division is more flexible than community property, but the outcome is harder to forecast because factors are subjectively deliberated by a judge.
Each state has a set of factors that a judge looks at to decide how the property is to be distributed between spouses. In most states, they include: 1) duration of marriage, 2) age, health and occupation, 3) lifestyle, 4) responsibility and needs, 5) contributions of the parties to the marriage, tangible and intangible 6) sources and amounts of income, 7) spousal abuse or marital infidelity, and 8) professional skills and employability.
All states except nine — Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin — operate under equitable division.