During the divorce, a judge can decide that the marital property should be distributed in a specific way to ensure that it is equitable. This decision requires research and fact-finding to address the factors which could contribute to the division of property. The process of dividing property can be overwhelming for many married couples in North Carolina who are pursuing a legal separation, but retaining the services of a dependable family lawyer can help make matters easier to understand.
Defining Equitable Distribution During Divorce or Separation
To better understand the idea of equitable distribution, it is necessary to learn the legal definition and how it is related to the process of divorce. When a couple pursues a divorce, certain cases involve the division of property or assets that have been purchased or gifted during the course of their marriage. Judges may decide to grant distribution of property based on a few different factors, but their ultimate goal is to ensure that the property is distributed fairly and equitably. However, this does not mean that the property will be divided “equally.”
The main theory that courts in North Carolina hold is that marriage is a partnership that involves shared assets and debts. Ultimately, this means that each spouse involved in the divorce has as much of a right to obtain the marital property as the other.
Although there are many factors that are involved in a judge’s decision on dividing property in a fair and equitable manner, the spouse who filed for divorce is not one of those factors, which shows that there is no legal retribution for pursuing a divorce when it comes to asset division. Misconduct that occurred during the course of the relationship does not have any bearing on the way that a judge will distribute the assets or property between two parties during a divorce trial. However, any financial misconduct that is done by either spouse can potentially impact the way that a judge assigns certain assets.
Division of Property in North Carolina
Much of the property that is referred to as marital property is anything owned by the couple as a unit rather than being individually owned. This can include debts, pension, retirement accounts, and much more depending on how the couple managed their finances and assets throughout the course of their time together in North Carolina.
Property and assets in North Carolina are classified as either marital property, divisible property, and separate property.
- Marital property: Any property that is acquired during the course of the marriage is classified as “marital property” and is subject to equitable distribution in North Carolina.
- Divisible property: Changes that occur to a couple’s assets or property during the time between their legal separation and the court’s distribution, which is also any property or assets that are earned during the marriage but not received until after their separation.
- Separate property: This is classified as any property that was obtained by one of the spouses prior to the marriage or was acquired as a gift from one spouse to the other.
Marital property, debt, and assets are all able to be equitably divided in court by an experienced judge. However, some individuals who are moving forward with their divorce may require the assistance of a lawyer they can trust at their side who can offer them access to reliable legal counsel when they need it the most.
Contributing Factors to North Carolina Property Division
In court, a judge will examine the different factors of a divorce case to accurately and fairly determine how their property will be divided. Some of the most important factors that a court may consider when taking on a case involving the marital distribution of assets include:
- The age of both spouses
- The income of both spouses
- The property owned by each spouse
- The custody of their children
- How long the marriage lasted
- Whether the marital property is a liquid asset
- The amount that both spouses contributed to their property
- Existing tax problems for either spouse
- Existing retirement funds or pension plans that are known as “deferred compensation”
- How a spouse contributed to helping their partner with education or their career
- Contributions of a spouse to increase the value of separate property
Behavior that occurred during the course of the marriage does not have a bearing on the way that the judge may choose to distribute marital assets. Affairs and poor behavior do not have an impact on the final decision that the judge makes to equitably divide the existing marital assets that a couple has obtained during the course of their relationship.
Contact a Reliable Equitable Distribution Lawyer in North Carolina
No matter what kind of property or debts you and your spouse have obtained throughout your marriage, it is important to ensure that your right to marital assets is upheld. If you feel that your divorce proceeding in North Carolina requires the supervision of a skilled divorce lawyer, the team at King Law is ready to help and defend you and your rights.
To get started, call us at (888) 748-5464 or reach out to us online today to schedule your consultation with one of our trial-tested North Carolina lawyers.