Legally reviewed by:
King Law
May 16, 2024

Equitable distribution is a legal principle used in many jurisdictions to divide property and assets between spouses during a divorce or separation. It is a method of ensuring a fair and just division of marital property, taking into account various factors and circumstances. Equitable distribution can be done at different stages during a divorce depending on the party’s preferences and ability to agree on different things. 

The primary difference between equitable distribution before and after divorce lies in the timing of when the division of assets and debts takes place.

Equitable Distribution Before Divorce:

  • Couples voluntarily choose to pursue equitable distribution before the divorce is finalized.
  • This approach allows couples to address and resolve property and debt division early on, potentially providing a clearer financial picture during the divorce process.
  • It may involve negotiating and reaching agreements through mediation or collaborative law processes.
  • Resolving financial matters beforehand can streamline the divorce process by reducing the number of issues to be addressed later.
  • Temporary support arrangements, if needed, can be established during this phase.

Equitable Distribution After Divorce:

  • In many cases, equitable distribution occurs as part of the divorce proceedings.
  • The division of assets and debts takes place once the couple has legally dissolved their marriage.
  • The court may intervene if the spouses are unable to reach a mutual agreement or if there are disputes regarding the division of property and debts.
  • In such cases, the court will consider various factors such as the length of the marriage, each spouse’s financial contributions, their respective needs, and other relevant circumstances to determine an equitable distribution of assets and debts.
  • The court’s decision on equitable distribution becomes part of the final divorce decree.

Hopefully, the differences listed above help you to start thinking about what method may work better for you and your particular situation. There could be several reasons why someone might choose to pursue equitable distribution before divorce rather than waiting until after the divorce, and every reason is valid. To summarize the information above, a few potential reasons include:

  1.   Resolution of financial matters: Equitable distribution involves dividing marital assets and debts between spouses. By addressing these matters early on, couples can have a clearer understanding of their financial standing and may be better prepared for the divorce process.
  2.   Streamlining the divorce process: By resolving property and debt distribution in advance, the divorce process may be expedited. This approach can reduce the number of issues to be addressed during the divorce proceedings, potentially making the overall process quicker and more efficient.
  3.   Preservation of assets: Initiating equitable distribution early can help prevent the dissipation or depletion of marital assets. If one spouse has concerns about the other’s handling of shared assets or suspects potential misconduct, pursuing equitable distribution beforehand can help protect their interests.
  4.   Temporary support: In cases where one spouse is financially dependent on the other, seeking equitable distribution before divorce could allow for the establishment of temporary support arrangements. This can help ensure that both parties have the necessary financial resources during the separation period.

It’s important to note that the availability and timing of equitable distribution may vary depending on jurisdiction and the specific circumstances of the case. Consulting with a family law attorney can provide you with personalized guidance based on your situation and the laws in your jurisdiction. At King Law, our experienced Family Law attorneys understand how to best approach equitable distribution under the circumstances of your unique situation. Our goal is to help you through this process, listen to your concerns, and reach the best possible outcome for you. Contact King Law at 888-748-KING (5464) for a consultation. We have offices located across western North Carolina and upstate South Carolina. We are here to serve you and to guide you as we navigate this journey together. 

Legally reviewed by:
King Law
Carolina Attorneys
May 16, 2024

This blog post has been reviewed and verified by legal experts at King Law. Our team is dedicated to providing premium legal services with compassion, innovation, trust, and advocacy. Serving Western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina, we offer flexible meeting options and strive to exceed client expectations with high-quality legal representation and exceptional client relationships.

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