Often, one of the most contentious issues in a divorce proceeding is the division of property. While some couples may be able to come to a quick agreement, others should take the time to ensure the division is fair and proper.

Any property division agreement should be equitable. However, “equitable” does not mean the same thing as “equal.” In rare cases, a 50/50 split will be the best result. However, one party will usually get a larger share to keep things fair. Here are three factors that can impact the division of property.

1. The amount each party contributed to the marriage

Determining who contributed what to a marriage goes beyond a simple accounting of finances. Less concrete contributions must also be considered, including whether one party stayed home to handle all of the household chores or to provide childcare. If you put your career on hold to devote your time to household contributions, your property division agreement should reflect this sacrifice.

2. Economic circumstances

Economic opportunities can be a critical factor in dividing property. Continuing with the above example, if you have been out of the workforce for some time, it may be difficult to find gainful employment. Your share of the marital assets may be greater if this is the case. Conversely, if you have a well-paying job and are likely to be in the position to acquire assets on your own, you may receive less.

3. Length of the marriage

This is not likely to be of much concern for people who have been married for five years. However, couples who have been together for decades have acquired numerous assets and have become accustomed to a certain standard of living. It’s important to take this amount of time into account when dividing property.

Property division goes beyond asset division

One last thing to bear in mind when it comes to property division is that it will include more than assets. Marital debt is also a consideration. You should think about how an equitable division of debt will impact your property division agreement.