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What is equitable distribution and how are assets divided?

Divorcing couples entering the divorce process likely want to have some idea how their property will be divided. Property division in North Carolina is conducted according to equitable property division principles so it is helpful for divorcing couples to know what those are and what that may mean for them.

How property is divided during divorce in North Carolina

Equitable property division is a process that is focused on fairness and equitably dividing property between the divorcing couple. Marital property which is property acquired by the spouses during the marriage is typically subject to the property division process. This is unlike separate property which generally is not divided during the divorce process. A third category of property, or divisible property, may also come into play.

To arrive at a property settlement agreement that is fair, a variety of factors are considered including the income, property and liabilities of each of the spouses; if either spouse receives spousal support from a previous marriage; the length of the marriage; the ages physical and mental health of each of the spouses; if either spouse has an expectation of deferred compensation such as retirement or a pension; any contribution by one spouse to the education or career of the other spouse; the liquidity of the marital property and the divisible property; the tax consequences to each spouse of the property division settlement agreement; and any other factor the family law court deems is just and proper.

When divorcing couples are working on property division, knowing how property division is conducted can help them prioritize and protect their interests. That will help them develop and agree to a property division agreement they can both live with and that is fair to each as is the goal of the family law or divorce court.