Equitable Distribution Means Fair, Not Equal

For many North Carolina couples facing a divorce, dividing property is the most challenging part of the process. If you and your soon-to-be-ex cannot agree on how to split bank accounts, vacation homes, and custody of Fido, the court will do it for you. At Warren Family Law, we often help clients work through their divorce and achieve the best possible outcome.

According to the North Carolina Judicial Branch, a spouse can request that the court help divide the debts and assets acquired during the marriage. You may also include other requests when filing the complaint seeking equitable distribution. This includes child support/custody, alimony, and divorce. If your spouse filed a complaint against you, you might make your request in an “answer.”

It is important to note that equitable distribution does not always mean the split is 50/50. In this situation the term “equitable” equals fair. The law includes many factors that make the division fair, even if it is unequal. When a complaint goes to court, the judge looks at several aspects of your life, including the following:

  • Age and health
  • Length of the marriage
  • Income
  • Property
  • Debts and assets

The contribution of you and your spouse to your union, the earning power of you both, and tax implications are also components of the decision. Marital misconduct does not affect the decision, except in situations where it accompanies financial misconduct after you separate.

There is no standard form that you can file for equitable distribution. Depending on your particular circumstances, the process can be time-consuming and complex. Different counties may have different information requirements. An attorney can help you understand how the proceedings work and ensure you meet deadlines for specific paperwork. Visit our webpage for more information on this topic.

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