In North Carolina, equitable distribution is dividing assets and debts you acquired during the marriage. This includes anything from property and money to debt and investments.
There are a few ways to determine equitable distribution. One way is to work out the details yourselves with your spouse. If you can agree about which marital assets belong to you and which belong to your spouse, North Carolina law allows you to work this out outside the courtroom.
Working with an experienced divorce attorney who understands how the law works can help you get through this challenging time and find your way forward!
Court-Ordered Property Division
If you and your spouse can’t agree on property division, one of you must file an Equitable Distribution action before the final divorce judgment.
Let us help you protect your rights as you go through the separation and divorce process of dividing property equally. We can help you file your action before the court makes a final judgment. Working with you to file an Equitable Distribution action protects your rights to a court-ordered distribution of marital property.
Equitable distribution can be complicated, but our legal team can help make it easier for you. Working with us at Plekan Law protects your rights and property so that you can take advantage of what is rightfully yours!
How Equitable Distribution Works
The process of equitable distribution can be complex, but we can help you walk through each action necessary to protect your share of marital assets.
All property in North Carolina is one of three categories:
Marital Property: Both real and personal, acquired by either spouse during the marriage.
Separate Property: Property you acquired before the marriage or as a result of gift or inheritance. You must not have comingled separate property with marital property. Also, any passive income received from separate property is classified as separate property.
Divisible Property: Property that you or your spouse may modify in order to divide the proceeds. Types of divisible property include:
- Marital property with a change in value after the date of separation
- Property acquired after the date of separation as a result of the acts of either spouse during the marriage.
- Any interest or income received from the marital property after the date of separation.
- Changes to any marital debt after the date of separation is also considered divisible property.
After you and your spouse classify your property, you must assess each item at a fair market value. You and your spouse must define, classify, and value each item so that the judge may determine equitable distribution.
Equitable Distribution in North Carolina
In general, Judges prefer to divide marital property equally. However, a Judge may decide on an “unequal division” of property to make other factors more equal for both spouses.
Some factors a Judge may use to determine how to distribute property include:
- Income of each party
- Property of each party
- The debt of each party
- Support obligations from a previous marriage
- The length of the marriage
- Age, health, and education of each party
- The expectation of retirement benefits
- Contributions that have increased the value of property
- The nature of the property and ability to liquidate the property
- Tax implications
- Actions taken by either spouse to preserve or waste property
Plekan Law Makes Equitable Distribution Easier
Often, we can help spouses reach agreements regarding equitable distribution of the marital estate outside of the courtroom.
We can help you work through a separation agreement process with your spouse. Or we can negotiate a fair split with your spouse’s attorney. We can also help you go through a mediation process.
Whether you go to court or not, at Plekan Law, we can help you work through your equitable distribution! We can help you consider everything from your marital residence to tax consequences.
Marital property distribution can be a sticking point in separation and divorce, but with our experienced legal assistance, you can find a way through this and move forward with your life!
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