Distributive Award Law and Legal Definition

A distributive award is any payment, in real or personal property, payable in a lump sum or over time, in fixed amounts, made from separate property or income, and not from marital property and are not payments of spousal support. A court may order a distributive award to one spouse from the other's separate property if it is equitable to do so. Hence, the court can make a distributive award to facilitate, effectuate, or supplement a division of marital property. Further, the court may require any distributive award to be secured by a lien on the payor's property. Likewise, the court can make a distributive award in lieu of a division of marital property to achieve equity between the spouses, if it determines that a division of the marital property in kind or in money would be impractical or burdensome. If a spouse engages in financial misconduct, such as the dissipation, destruction, concealment, or fraudulent disposition of assets, a court may compensate the offended spouse with a distributive award or with a greater award of marital property.