Equitable division is a spouse’s legal claim to property where they can request the court’s assistance with dividing property and debts obtained during marriage. A spouse may file for equitable distribution with their requests for divorce, alimony, child custody and child support. Answers to the divorce request may also contain equitable division claims.
Marital property, assets or debts acquired during marriage may be divided in North Carolina. Inheritances or gifts from third parties received during marriage are not marital property, however.
Separate property may not be divided. Assets or debts that a spouse held before marriage are considered separate property.
Divisible property is property acquired between the couple’s separation and divorce. It may be divided between the spouses, depending on the circumstances.
An equal 50/50 division is presumed as being legally fair or equitable in North Carolina. But a spouse may request, and courts can consider, other factors allowing for an unequal distribution of property or debt where equal division would be unfair. Factors that a judge may consider include:
- Each spouse’s income.
- Each spouse’s property and debt.
- The spouses’ ages and health.
- The marriage length.
- Each spouse’s contribution to the other’s earning power.
- Tax implications.
Courts do not consider misconduct during marriage in equitable distribution. However, financial misconduct after the couple separates may be a factor.
Attorneys can assist you with addressing property division and other issues in a divorce. They can help you seek a fair and reasonable decree.