Equitable Distribution is the process by which property, assets, and debts are divided and distributed following a dissolution of marriage. Generally, any asset or debt acquired by spouses during their marriage is subject to equitable distribution by the Court. This includes:
- Bank accounts
- Retirement accounts
- Credit card debts
- Student loans
- Household goods
There are exceptions and certain assets or debts that may not be subject to equitable distribution, such as items acquired during a marriage by inheritance or gift.
Each equitable distribution case is unique and with the help of a knowledgeable Charlotte equitable distribution lawyer here at Miller Cushing Holladay, we can help you achieve an equitable and fair distribution of your marital assets and debts.
Equitable Distribution Basics
Many North Carolinian's assume that they receive one-half of each individual asset or debt under equitable distribution, which is not correct. The Court is charged with distributing all marital assets and debts equally, unless it determines that an equal division is not equitable.
The Court can use distribution factors, such as duration of the marriage or any direct or indirect contribution made by one spouse to help educate or advance the career of the other spouse, to divide the marital estate equitably rather than equally. Either spouse can also ask the Court to award him or her a larger share of the marital estate.
If your spouse has control over most of the marital assets and you do not have adequate resources to sustain throughout your separation, you have the right to ask the Court to award you an “interim distribution” of marital assets. Interim distributions are awarded to spouses unless the other spouse can show the Court good cause for not doing so.
Types of Assets in a Divorce
Divorces involve the complex task of dividing assets, and understanding the various types is crucial for a fair distribution. Here are common types of assets considered during divorce proceedings:
- Marital Home: The marital home is frequently a substantial asset, and determining whether to sell, transfer ownership, or allocate it to a specific spouse demands thoughtful deliberation.
- Financial Accounts: Bank accounts, savings, and investments fall into this category. Balances at the time of divorce are typically subject to division.
- Real Estate: Beyond the family residence, additional real estate like vacation homes or rental properties is categorized as marital property.
- Retirement Accounts: 401(k)s, pensions, IRAs, and other retirement accounts acquired during the marriage are subject to equitable distribution.
- Personal Property: Furniture, jewelry, artwork, and other personal belongings are evaluated and divided during divorce.
- Vehicles: Cars, boats, motorcycles, and other vehicles fall into this category. Their value is considered when determining asset distribution.
- Businesses: Should one spouse possess ownership of a business or hold a partnership position, the value of the business could constitute a component of the marital estate.
- Debts: Liabilities, including mortgages, credit card debts, and loans, are also considered when dividing assets.
Understanding the nature and value of these assets is essential for achieving an equitable division. Legal guidance from our experienced Charlotte equitable distribution lawyers ensures that all assets are properly identified, valued, and distributed in accordance with the applicable laws, leading to a fair resolution for both parties.
To learn whether you have a claim for equitable distribution, or an interim distribution, call (704) 810-1400 and consult a Charlotte equitable distribution lawyer from our team here at Miller Bowles today.
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