Equitable Distribution of Marital Assets
When a couple separates from each other, one big issue that typically needs to be resolved is how the assets and debts acquired during the marriage are going to be divided. This can be an extremely daunting and complex undertaking in some cases, and rather straightforward in other cases.
Generally speaking, there are three stages to the equitable distribution process: classifying which property is “marital” property (and therefore, eligible to be divided between the parties), valuing the marital property, and then distributing the marital property between the parties in an equitable and fair fashion.
Classification of Property
For equitable distribution purposes, property can be classified as either marital, separate or divisible. For a detailed explanation of the differences between marital, separate and divisible property, please read our blog about property distribution.
Valuation of Property
Once it is determined which property held by the parties is marital property, the marital property then needs to be valued. To make sure each spouse is getting their intended share of the net value of the marital estate, the values must be accurate. This may include obtaining an appraisal of the marital residence and will likely include obtaining relevant statements for items such as retirement accounts.
Distribution of Property
Once it has been determined which property is subject to distribution and accurate values have been ascertained, the marital property must then be distributed to each spouse. It is first important to know that pursuant to North Carolina law, there is a presumption that marital property will be split evenly. This means that unless there are grounds that exist justifying an unequal distribution of the marital assets and debts, the assets and debts should be distributed evenly between the spouses.
To learn more about Equitable Distribution please read Equitable Distribution of Marital Property in North Carolina.
The topics are just some of the issues that one might come across in an equitable distribution case. If you have recently separated from your spouse, or you believe that you might be separating from your spouse soon, contact our office to schedule a consultation with attorney Doughton Horton to discuss the specifics of your case.
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