What are "Community Property" States? What are "Equitable Distribution" States?
In the United States, laws governing the division of marital assets and property in a divorce vary from state to state. Community property states, which include Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin, generally consider each spouse to own jointly all property acquired during the marriage. Accordingly, marital assets and property are divided equally upon divorce. In contrast, equitable distribution states focus on equity instead of the equal division of assets. There, judges have more power to balance various contributions to the marriage.