How much can ED change if a case is litgated (sued for divorce)? Do judges usually adhere to established principles of ED, or does everything become arguable in court, such as “who really paid for what” sorts of issues, with the resulting ED being quite different than if couples
had agreed to an SA based on established ED principles (i.e., x,y, and z are all marital property
and divided 50/50, or negotiated this for that)? Are character issues usually used to influence ED in court (spouse wasteful, selfish, spendthrift, etc.)? It seems to me that if Litigating a divorce case resulted in consistently different outcomes for any issue (ED, alimony, CC, CS),
then more people would choose to do it, despite the expense and trauma, rather than settle via an SA. It seems that this is a motivating factor to avoid unneccessary expense and wasting the court’s time, unless the case has some very unique,highly contentious issues to it.

                                                                                 Your perspective appreciated


A court uses a step by step process to resolve ED. Property that was purchased/acquired during the marriage (other than inheritance and gifts to an individual spouse) is martial in nature and subject to division, no matter who paid for it. The court aims to divide the entire marital estate equitably, which is presumably equally, unless either party can demonstrate otherwise, using a myriad of factors such as those you list. (for a complete list check out the statute under property division on this site).