Equitable Distribution in the state of North Carolina is recognized as the process of distributing marital assets and marital debt. The steps involved in the equitable distribution of property include:
- Determination of what property will be part of the distribution;
- Valuation of the property that is part of the distribution;
- Actual distribution of the property.
In North Carolina, the equitable distribution laws can be complex and should be navigated by an attorney. Marital property and separate property have very distinct characteristics. Separate property can include things such as properties bought or acquired before the marriage, property inherited by one spouse or was a gift to one spouse, and property that the spouses agreed to exclude from marital property such as listed within a prenuptial agreement.
Separate property can occasionally become marital property through a process in which the non-marital property is mixed together with the marital property and both become indistinguishable from the other. Properties have to be valued for equitable distribution purposes and the key issues to this are the dates used and evidence of value. The dates used to determine value can be very important because the value of properties and assets have a tendency to change over time. If both parties agree on the value of properties and assets, the court will accept those values, but if the parties cannot agree, the court must be given evidence of valuation to render a final decision. There should be an equal division by using net value of marital property and net value of divisible property unless the court determines that an equal division is not equitable. A party may request an unequal division. The court will examine different factors, including: the income, property, and liabilities of each party at the time of distribution; the duration of the marriage; the age and physical and mental health of both parties; whether one parent needs to stay in the marital home with the child(ren); and other factors designated per statute.
To get the information that you need, please schedule an initial consultation today at my Asheville office. Contact Hooks Law, P.C. online or by calling 828-333-2630.