Equitable Distribution and Divorce in North Carolina

Are you going through a divorce? If so, and you have joint assets or property, you may want to learn about equitable distribution. Equitable distribution is a legal term used to describe how assets and property are divided during the divorce process. It is important to note, however, that equitable does not mean equal. Rather, it means a division of assets will be done in a fair manner to be determined by a court.

What kind of factors will a court consider in an equitable distribution agreement? Well, there are a variety of things a judge will weigh when making these decisions. If you are going through a divorce and are unfamiliar with or have questions about equitable distribution, the team at Arnold & Smith PLLC would like to hear from you. We have years of experience working with couples going through the divorce process and can help you better understand what equitable distribution is and how it can benefit you.

Equitable Distribution: What Is It?

Equitable distribution is a legal term referring to the process of dividing property, assets, and debts a divorcing couple may have. Like many legalities involving divorce, it is important to understand what it is and how it impacts you because when all is said and done, it could end up having a big impact on your life. If you are unfamiliar with the term or have questions about how it may impact you, Arnold & Smith, PLLC is here to help.

Factors That Can Impact the Equitable Distribution Process

What factors will a judge look at when hashing out the details of an equitable distribution plan? Are there certain factors that might work against you? What if you are the one who files for divorce? Will that be used against you? The short answer is no. When it comes to equitable distribution, it does not matter which party files for divorce. In the state of North Carolina, the court will make its decision on how to split property and assets in a fair and unbiased manner.

When it comes to factors that might impact the court’s decision, there are a few things to consider. While courts will not typically penalize a party if there is marital misconduct at play, they may look unfavorably upon a party if they are engaging in illegal behavior, such as fraud. If a court discovers one spouse is engaged in illegal behavior, it could play a role in determining how assets and property are split.

What to Do With Separate Property

If one spouse happens to own property or assets from before the marriage, they are considered separate property and are not typically included in equitable distribution plans. What qualifies as separate property, though? For starters, an inheritance or a gift that was given to one spouse. Also, if a spouse owned a home or property before the marriage and never added their partner to the deed or title, that would be considered separate property, as well.

On the flip side of the coin is marital property. This type of property is owned by both spouses and includes assets or property purchased during the course of the marriage. Examples of marital property include retirement accounts and other financial accounts and homes purchased in both partner’s names.

However, it is possible for separate property to become marital property over time. For example, if one partner has a home they purchased before they married, their spouse can be added to the title once they get married.

Can You Choose How the Property Is Split?

The court is not the only body that has a say in how property and assets are split up. In fact, the couple has a say. It is actually ideal for both parties to have a say and be on the same page throughout the process. The more civility there is, the better. Communication and the ability to negotiate are important to ensure the division of assets is done in a fair manner. Cooperation from both sides can also help to avoid a long, expensive litigation process.

If you are going through a divorce and have property or assets that need to be divided, you should reach out to an experienced divorce attorney. The team at Arnold & Smith PLLC can help. When you work with our team, we will make sure your assets are divided in a fair and equitable manner. Give our office a call at 704-370-2828 to schedule a consultation.