Since equitable distribution is a complex area under family law in North Carolina, it’s best to retain an experienced Asheville equitable distribution lawyer to aid you in handling the case. Our family law lawyers at King Law have worked with plenty of spouses and have rich knowledge of everything about equitable distribution law in North Carolina.
The Process of Equitable Distribution in Asheville, North Carolina
During the marriage, couples usually invest and acquire assets, such as real estate property, cars, business, stock options, etc. Equitable distribution law in North Carolina provides a mechanism to be used to divide these properties between spouses after separation. Once either party petitions the court seeking equitable distribution after separation, the process begins as outlined below.
Determining and Valuing the Divisible Property
All properties that qualify to be distributed must first be identified and valued. In this case, the property to be distributed is referred to as “marital property” and encompasses all assets and liabilities acquired by the couple from the date of marriage to the date of separation. “Separate property” is property acquired by either party before marriage or after separation and doesn’t qualify to be divided. Inheritance, gifts, or other property acquired by bequest or devise during the marriage is also categorized as separate property.
In the quest to save time and the judicial economy, North Carolina now requires parties to try and reach an agreement with the help of a mediator on how to divide marital property before the court can intervene. The separated spouse may choose their own mediator, but if they cannot agree, the court will choose a mediator. In either case, the mediator is required to be neutral and only facilitate the parties to come up with a settlement agreement. If the mediation fails, the case proceeds to trial, and the court will determine how the marital property will be distributed.
If the mediating party succeeds in helping the separated spouses come up with the settlement agreement, they will sign it, and no further court hearing is required. If matters go to trial, the judge will issue an order on how the marital property will be divided. Whether your issue settles outside the court or after trial, having an equitable distribution lawyer guide you and represent you every step of the way will help ensure the best possible outcome.
Does Equitable Mean Equal in North Carolina Separations?
Not necessarily. In most cases, the distribution of marital property is 50/50 unless the court finds that dividing in this manner would result in an “inequitable” distribution. Some of the factors that come into play when determining how to divide the applicable assets and liabilities include:
- Length of marriage
- Age and physical/mental health of each party
- Income, separate assets, and debts of each party
- Child custody
- Contribution of each spouse to the progress of the other, e.g., career or education
- Contribution of either party to maintain, preserve, or develop the marital property, especially during the period after separation
Many other factors, some unique to each case, will be considered before an equitable distribution agreement is reached. How the equitable distribution ends is a vital factor in how you live and cope after divorce. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to have an experienced Asheville family law equitable distribution attorney on your side to protect your legal and financial rights.
When Can You File for Equitable Distribution?
In North Carolina, you may file for equitable distribution any time after you separate from your partner. Separation is defined as when either spouse formally files a complaint in court stating that there are “irreconcilable differences” between the spouses. After the separation order is issued, the spouses cannot live in the same house. Equitable distribution may be finalized at any time before or after the divorce.
Why You Need an Equitable Distribution Lawyer
Days, weeks, and months following separation from your spouse can be challenging. In this state, you may want to finalize things as fast as possible and restart a new lifestyle. However, missing out on some properties may negatively affect your lifestyle after the case is concluded. Working with an equitable distribution lawyer in Asheville will help you take most of the matters off your hands and position you on the right track for the best possible outcome. Divorce lawyers will help you by:
- Hiring expert accountants to discover and value all assets, including those that are hidden
- Properly consider the tax obligations that divided property comes with
- Ensure that your separate properties are protected
You had invested so much in your marriage, and losing what you rightfully deserve shouldn’t be the case after separation. Work with the divorce attorneys at King Law to obtain a fair distribution.
Contact Skilled and Experienced Asheville Equitable Distribution Lawyer Today
Separation from a spouse can be hard, especially when it happens when least expected. Having a friendly law expert by your side to guide and advance through the many legal processes following a separation can ease things.
At King Law, we understand that you tried your best to resolve issues to save the marriage, but, in the end, the worst happened. That is why we treat every client with respect and in a friendly manner with the sole purpose of representing their best interest exhaustively. Give us a call today at (888) 748-5464 or (888) 748-KING. You can also fill out our contact form.