divorcing couple

Equitable Distribution in North Carolina

North Carolina couples must decide on a variety of issues during a divorce, such as how to divide debts and marital property. State courts uphold the equitable distribution principle. This implies a fair division of all assets and obligations accumulated throughout the marriage. It may not always imply equality. Here are some things to consider if you want to learn more about equitable distribution in North Carolina. 

What Is Marital vs. Separate Property?

Making the distinction between separate and marital property is one of the first steps in the process. With marital property, these assets and any other debts obtained throughout the union belong to both parties.

However, separate property is a little different. These assets could be gifts or inheritances given to one spouse. In these cases, those assets are separate property. If one partner acquired significant debt, then that may be considered separate property as well.

Unfortunately, many of these situations are not clear-cut. Sometimes, debts and assets are commingled. With that, there was no property division, and they were used as marital assets. For example, an inheritance was used to open a business for the couple. In that instance, the property could be deemed as marital.

Once all the assets and debts have been separated, the courts must value them. This process can be complicated, especially for couples with investments, businesses, or real estate. However, there must be an accurate assessment to make a fair distribution for both spouses. 

What Are a Few Equitable Distribution Factors?

North Carolina law considers a few factors when determining how to distribute marital assets and debts. The North Carolina General Statutes specify that these elements are reviewed for an equitable distribution. These factors include:

  • The duration of the marriage
  • The age, physical, and mental health of each spouse
  • Their income and earning capacity
  • Contributions made by each spouse

These factors are not exhaustive. Often, the court has the discretion to weigh each one based on the case’s specific circumstances.

After considering the above factors, the court will issue an equitable distribution order. Remember that “equitable” does not always mean equal. The court wants a fair distribution, but that may not necessarily result in a 50-50 split.

Do You Need Legal Assistance for This Process?

Consider working with an attorney when high-value assets or substantial debts are tied to the marriage. A family law attorney can make sure that your debts and assets are appropriately valued. Along with that, you will have a skilled advocate who will help you receive a fair distribution of assets. 

Find Out How Equitable Distribution Could Affect You

Equitable distribution in North Carolina ensures a fair division of marital assets and debts when a union ends in divorce. The courts promote fairness and equity in the process by following a systematic approach. 

Anyone going through a divorce in North Carolina needs to understand their rights and obligations during the process. The attorneys at Stephen E. Robertson Law Office are here to help. Contact us to schedule a consultation for your case. You can set up an appointment by calling 336-370-6760 today.