Tash & Kurtz - Family Law Attorneys

At the Crossroads Excellent Counsel.
At the Crossroads Excellent Counsel.

FAQs

Equitable Distribution FAQs

What is "equitable distribution"?
How is property divided in North Carolina?
What property is subject to equitable distribution?
Is my business or professional practice subject to equitable distribution?
Does equitable distribution mean that all marital property is divided evenly?

What is "equitable distribution"?
Equitable distribution is a method for dividing the marital property (both assets and debts) in a manner that is fair and equitable for all parties. North Carolina has enacted equitable distribution statutes which govern the way in which these claims proceed upon separation and/or divorce of married persons.

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How is property divided in North Carolina?
Initially, all property is considered marital property unless proven to be separate property. Separate property falls into three categories in North Carolina: (i) property owned by one spouse prior to the date of marriage, (ii) property inherited, or (iii) property acquired by gift from someone other than the other spouse. The goal of North Carolina’s Equitable Distribution scheme is the fair and just division of marital property. Generally, the court will presume that a 50/50 split is fair, absent some circumstance that indicates otherwise. Twelve different factors are considered when one or both party(ies) request an unequal division of assets and debts. The factors include, but not limited to: the unequal earning power of the parties, the expectation of non-vested pension or retirement benefits, contributions made by one spouse to the education or career development of the other, the need of a parent with custody of a child or children of the marriage to occupy the marital residence and use or own its household effects.

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What property is subject to equitable distribution?
All property acquired by either party or both parties during the marriage, but before the execution of a separation agreement, and/or before the commencement of a matrimonial action, regardless of the form in which title is held is subject to equitable distribution. It does not include property provided for in a written agreement. It does not include "separate property", which is defined as property acquired before marriage; property acquired by bequest, devise, descent or gift from a party other than the spouse; compensation for personal injuries; property acquired in exchange for or the increase in value of separate property; property described as separate property pursuant to written agreement of the parties. However, the increase in value of separate property (or property acquired in exchange for separate property) is marital property to the extent that the appreciation is due in part to the direct or indirect contributions or efforts of the other spouse.

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Is my business or professional practice subject to equitable distribution?
Yes. Businesses, professional practices, and enhanced earning capacity attributable to the attainment of a career, professional license, educational degree, profession, or license may be considered "property" subject to equitable distribution.

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Does equitable distribution mean that all marital property is divided evenly?
No. Equitable does not mean equal. Marital property must be distributed “equitably” between the parties, considering the circumstances of the case and of the respective parties. There is, however, a presumption in North Carolina that equal is equitable, but economic factors may result in an unequal division.

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For more information on Equitable Distribution, please see our Equitable Distribution page.

For additional questions, contact Tash & Kurtz, PLLC.

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