The first factor considered in Equitable Distribution is Substantial Contribution to the Accumulation of the Property.
(This blog is one in a series of blogs regarding Equitable Distribution in Mississippi. Equitable Distribution is the method employed by the Court’s to determine how marital property is to be divided in a divorce. The basics and factors to be considered can be seen here, Marital Property; How it’s Divided (click)).
Factors to be considered in determining contribution include;
Direct or indirect economic contribution to the acquisition of the property;
Direct contributions include earnings from your job and using that income to pay for the house, cars, investments, retirement contributions and paying down debt. These “direct” contributions are attributable to the bread-winning spouse.
Indirect Contributions include child-rearing and homemaking efforts. In fact, the law considers domestic or household duties equivalent to working outside of the home. So who cooked, cleaned, did the dishes, laundry, yard upkeep, maintenance, and other similar tasks are relevant. Stay-at-home moms work!
Contribution to the stability and harmony of the marital and family relationships as measured by quality, quantity of time spent on family duties and duration of the marriage
Stability and Harmony of the Marriage concerns the parties’ conduct. Marital fault and even conduct that may not rise to the level of marital fault are considered here. The division of chores and the “roles” that the husband and wife played matter. Also, length of the marriage is considered.
Contribution to the education, training or other accomplishment bearing on the earning power of the spouse accumulating the assets.
Contributions to Education and Training is most commonly seen when the “young couple” gets married and one spouse works while the other finishes their advanced degree and/or professional training. Did the wife work and/or be the primary caregiver for the children while the husband finished Medical School and residency? Cliche’, but true. Her efforts working, taking care of the young family allowed him to finish his education and training so he can earn a greater living. The Court considers the value the wife contributed so that the husband’s earning capacity could be greater.
Matthew Thompson is a family law attorney in Mississippi and some of the above factors hit “close to home.”
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