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Basic points about asset division and equitable distribution

by | May 26, 2021 | Divorce

In a North Carolina divorce, there are bound to be disagreements about various issues. Often, the focus is on child custody, child support and alimony. While these are undoubtedly important and generally come to the forefront, asset division should not be downplayed. Even in cases where the spouses are on good terms, there can be dispute over who will receive what as part of the divorce settlement. If there is acrimony or they have properties of significant value, the case can be more complex. Understanding equitable distribution and the importance of filing for property division should not be overlooked.

How equitable distribution is handled in a divorce

For couples who are getting divorced, it is wise to know how equitable distribution is factored in. Equitable is frequently mistaken for meaning “equal,” when it really means “fair.” The court strives for fairness, not an even split. The determination as to whether property is marital property or separate property is essential in this context. Marital property can be split but separate property cannot. If a property was acquired after the marriage or assets rose in value while the couple was married, then it will likely be categorized as marital property and divided as such. There are exceptions such as gifts and inheritances. Separate property is that which belonged to one or the other prior to the marriage and did not increase in value.

Filing for equitable distribution is done at the start of the case. Failure to file for equitable distribution will deprive a person of the ability to seek any property division. For some couples who might not have been married for an extended period, do not have major assets and simply want to part ways and move on, this might not be all that important. However, if there are properties that hold value of any kind, it could be problematic. The property that is in a person’s name will belong to him or her regardless of how it would be divided had an equitable distribution request been filed.

Professional representation can help with asset division

Asset division can be a sticking point in any divorce. People may think that equitable distribution will protect them and they can receive half of whatever was accrued during the marriage. That is not always the case. Regardless of the relationship between the parties, it is beneficial to have professional guidance with these aspects of the law. To assess the case, determine the value of property, gauge who has the right to receive what items and more, having advice is crucial and should be part of the process from the start.