Equitable Distribution

Equitable Distribution is the proceeding to divide a married couple’s marital and divisible property in a court case.

A husband and wife can enter into a Property Settlement Agreement that distributes marital and divisible property and, accordingly, eliminate the need for an equitable distribution proceeding. In North Carolina an equal division of marital and divisible property is presumed to be equitable. There are factors, however, which enable the court to divide marital and/or divisible property unequally if the court determines that an equal division would not be equitable. These factors include:

  • The income, property and liabilities of each party at the time the division of property is to become effective;
  • Any obligation of support arising out of a prior marriage;
  • The duration of the marriage and the age and physical and mental health of the parties;
  • The need of a parent with custody of a child or children to occupy the marital residence;
  • The expectation of pension, retirement or other deferred compensation that is not marital property;
  • Any equitable claim to marital property by the party not having title;
  • Any contributions made by one spouse to educate or develop the career potential of the other spouse;
  • Contributions to increase the value of separate property which occurs during the marriage;
  • The liquid or non-liquid character of marital or divisible property;
  • The tax consequences to each party that would have been incurred if the property had been sold or liquidated on the date of valuation and, in the court’s discretion, whether such tax consequences are reasonably likely to occur;
  • The acts of either party to maintain, preserve, develop or expand marital property or to waste, neglect, devalue or convert marital or divisible property;
  • The death of either party prior to the entry of an Order; and
  • Any other factor the court finds just and proper.

NCGS §50-20 Distribution by court of marital and divisible property.

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