Equitable distribution implies that marital property is not divided 50/50, but equitably based on each party’s need. Therefore, the judge decides which spouse receives more than half of the property based on statutory factors. If you are divorcing your spouse in Charlotte, consider partnering with expert equitable distribution lawyers at King Law to help you get your fair share of marital property.
How to File an Equitable Distribution Claim in Charlotte
Divorcing Charlotte couples with settlement agreements can divide marital property outside court, causing no need for equitable distribution. However, for those who cannot agree, either spouse is eligible to file for the equitable distribution claim.
The two primary conditions for filing equitable distribution claims are as follows;
- Marriage: You must prove you have been legally married to the other party in the claim.
- Divorce: You must have separated from your spouse for at least a year and intend to divorce.
Equitable distribution involves complicated processes; either spouse is required to file the claim at a certain point during the divorce proceedings. Afterward, you must wait for the judge’s settlement on the property division. If either fails to file a claim before the divorce is finalized, they lose the right to assert the claim and only remain with the right to their marital title.
North Carolina offers interim distribution to the financially-disadvantaged spouse who solely depend on their partner’s income to help them survive before the final equitable distribution judgment. Apart from separation agreements, couples can also avoid equitable distribution by signing prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are documents developed before and during the marriage which detail parties’ rights and distribution of assets in divorce or death.
The Equitable Distribution Process
As mentioned, for Charlotte couples who fail to have an amicable settlement on how to divide property, there is the option of filing an equitable distribution claim settled by the judge. The process involves four fundamental steps; identification, classification, valuation, and distribution.
Each party in the divorce must identify and list all their assets and debts, whether individual or shared with their spouses or third parties. Assets may include real estate, bank accounts, life insurance, retirement policies, vehicles, stocks, bonds, and individual property such as jewelry and art with a value over $500. It would help if you listed debts such as credit card loans, mortgages, students, and personal loans.
After listing the assets, the courts will classify them into three property types to facilitate fair distribution. The property can be classified as marital property, separate or divisible property. The separate property maintains individual ownership; however, divisible and marital property is equitably divided by the judge based on statutory factors.
Valuation and Distribution
The courts and parties will determine the fair market value depending on the type of assets and consult expert witness testimony for assets whose value is unclear. Before division and distribution of property, parties will meet with a North Carolina-certified family financial mediator to settle on the property distribution agreement. If parties fail to agree, the judge makes the decision based on the principle of fairness considering specifications of the North Carolina General Statute for Equitable Distribution.
North Carolina General Statute for Equitable Distribution
Although North Carolina is a no-fault divorce state, either spouse’s financial misconduct is still considered a key element during property division. Instead of a 50/50 system, judges use a North Carolina General Statute to ensure equitable distribution of property. Statue factors considered in dividing property during a divorce include each party’s income, property, and liabilities.
Parental custody, duration of the marriage, physical and mental health, and obligations from previous marriages are also considered. Pension, retirement plans, tax consequences, liquid and non-liquid marital property, education, and career development contributions determine who gets more property. The North Carolina General State laws intend to incorporate both parties’ needs and ensure that the divorce does not present a greater advantage to one party.
Classification of Assets and Property
As mentioned, the property can be classified as marital, separate, or divisible during the equitable distribution process. The classification determines how the property is divided during equitable distribution as follows:
Marital property refers to all property acquired by spouses individually and collectively during the marriage. North Carolina law presumes that all property acquired after the date of marriage till the date of separation is marital property belonging to both parties unless proved otherwise.
Separate property refers to all personal property and increases in the value of personal property that either spouse owned before the marriage. It also includes property that either spouse acquired as an exchange, gift, or inheritance during the marriage. Property issued as a gift by a spouse remains separate property unless stated otherwise during conveyance.
The divisible property includes the appreciated or depreciated value of marital and divisible property after the separation date and final division. It also includes property, property rights, and passive income received after separation and before the final division with the spouse’s input during the marriage. Passive debt appreciations and depreciation are also considered divisible property for each spouse to contribute fairly to payments.
Why Should You Hire a Charlotte Equitable Distribution Attorney?
Given the complexities and difficulties of dividing property during divorce, it is important to consider partnering with expert equitable distribution attorneys. You should hire King Law equitable distribution lawyers if you have a divorce in Charlotte or the surrounding area. Our attorneys will help you track all property records and properly identify all marital assets and liabilities with their values to determine the best property distribution plan.
We will help you contact financial experts to ensure that you establish appropriate property values and accounts for the liquidation cost of properties. Our lawyers will also offer legal counsel during mediations with family financial mediators and defense in court.
Contact the Experienced Charlotte Equitable Distribution Lawyer at King Law Today
North Carolina uses the equitable distribution process to ensure an equitable division of assets and debts during a divorce. If you cannot agree with your spouse, you must file an equitable distribution claim during the divorce and wait for the judge’s decision. Fortunately, couples can avoid these complex processes by signing a separation agreement during the divorce or having a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.
Suppose you or your loved one is getting divorced and need to develop an equitable distribution claim; consider partnering with experts at King Law instead of self-representation. We have a committed team of professional lawyers who will represent you during equitable distribution negotiations and court proceedings with your spouse or judge. Our equitable distribution attorneys will ensure you receive a fair share of your marital assets to help you reorganize your life after divorce.
For more information, call us at (888) 748-5464 or (888) 748-KING. You can also fill out our contact form.