Martial Property: This is generally defined as all of the property that has been acquired between the spouses throughout the duration of the marriage. Always remember that is can also include marital debt (i.e. a mortgage). Equitable distribution can quickly become a complicated matter if it is not handled carefully. In order to approach an equitable distribution claim the first thing you should know is that there is a presumption that an equal division is equitable. If you feel like you are entitled to more than your presumed share, it is your duty to show the court why.
The first thing the court looks to is how the property is divided. There are three types of property for the court to consider:
- Marital Property
- Divisible Property
- Separate Property
These specific types of property are defined North Carolina General Statute §50-20, but are generally described as follows:
Divisible Property: typically, this is generally any appreciation or diminution in value of property that is a result of the efforts of a party or passive appreciation or diminution which should be counted for the spouse petitioning for it. This appreciation or diminution in value occurs after the date of separation but prior to the date of distribution. An example of this kind of property can include interest or dividends on certain property.
Separate property: This property means all real and personal property acquired by the spouse before the marriage or acquired by a spouse by devise, descent, or gift during the course of the marriage (NCGS 50-20(2)). The only thing to remember here is, that it is only going to be considered separate property if that was the intent at the time of the conveyance.
If you would like to assert that an equal division of the aforementioned property is inequitable, then there are 12 factors that the court will look to in order to make this determination. Some of the factors include, but are not limited to, income and liabilities of each party at the time the division of the property becomes effective, duration of the marriage, age, and the physical and mental health of both parties, and any direct or indirect contribution made by one spouse to help educate or develop the career potential of the other spouse. A full list of the factors the court looks to can be found in North Carolina General Statute §50-20(c).
Because these cases can get complicated very quickly it is always best to involve a family law attorney from the start so as to make sure all of your interests and your rights are protected throughout the duration of this case.
No matter what your situation is, we will give you prompt attention, regular updates, and clear explanations regarding developments in your case. Call us anytime at (919)-335-5291 for a consultation with a lawyer.