Divorce is hard. On top of the emotional turmoil, you are also faced with the unpleasant task of dividing your property. Equitable Distribution, the process for dividing the property accumulated during your marriage, has several important legal limitations you should be aware of. That is why it is important to contact an Equitable Distribution and Property Settlement attorney in Monroe, NC.
1. Equitable Distribution Only Applies to Marital Property
A marriage is not only a union of people, but it is also a union of things. It is important to know that the property your spouse brought into the marriage, in addition to gifts received from a friend or loved one other than your spouse, is not marital property and will not be considered as such when your assets are divided. Knowing what qualifies as marital property helps the process run smoothly and alleviates conflict during this stage of your divorce.
2. The Divorce Does NOT Have to be Final Before Dividing Your Property
While parties to a divorce are required to live separate and apart for at least one year before an absolute divorce can be granted, it is not necessary that the divorce be finalized prior to equitable distribution. Rather, couples can begin the division of martial property while waiting for a final decree of divorce. Oftentimes, couples can reach an agreement as to Equitable Distribution during mediation before the divorce is final.
3. Property Items are Valued at a Fair Market Value
If the parties cannot agree to a division of their property through a separation agreement or consent order, the court will divide the marital property. When considering the division of property, the court determines the fair market value of the property. The property is valued as of the date of separation, rather than at the current value of the property or the purchase price.
4. Equitable Doesn’t Always Mean Equal
While North Carolina law presumes an equal division of property, the court is not required to award spouses an even 50/50 division. It is quite common that one spouse will be awarded more than the other. The court considers a number of factors when determining an equitable division, including, but not limited to:
- Financial status of each spouse
- Future needs and liabilities
- Liquidity of spousal property
- 401(k) plans, stocks, and bonds
Equitable distribution in North Carolina is a complex process with many moving parts. However, an experienced equitable distribution attorney in Monroe, NC or mediator can help find a resolution on how to divide martial property amid a divorce.
With decades of family law experience, a certified Family Financial Mediator, and a Board-Certified Specialist in Family Law, you want Perry, Bundy, Plyler & Long, LLP, in your corner when going through the process of Equitable Distribution. Call us at 704-289-2519 to learn about our mediation services or to speak to one of our divorce attorneys.