You’ve been separated for one year and a day….check. You’ve decided to go through with the divorce….check. You’ve hired a divorce attorney…check. You’ve decided to divide your marital property….check. Now what? Though you may think that all of your I’s have been dotted and your T’s crossed, it is important to know and understand what property distribution means in North Carolina and the effect that it could have on your case if not settled before an absolute divorce occurs. If you or a loved one is seeking a divorce, contact an experienced North Carolina divorce attorney to help you with your case.
Equitable Distribution and Divorce
Generally, in North Carolina, property distribution can be determined by the parties, themselves, in the form of an agreement called a property settlement. However, in the event that parties cannot come to an agreement, the courts can become involved. When court ordered property distribution is sought this results in a process called equitable distribution. In North Carolina, equitable distribution of property vests at the time the parties separate and must be specifically asked by one or both parties to be considered. However, there are certain events that can bar an equitable distribution claim. In the event of an absolute divorce, if property division is not an asserted claim, then equitable distribution will be barred. Also, if a the prior execution of a valid property settlement agreement is entered into that divides the property, equitable distribution will be barred as well. During this time of separation, if property distribution is asserted, the courts can order temporary orders and injunctive relief to ensure that property isn’t converted, becomes waste, or disappears.
Though there are two common reasons why equitable distribution can be barred, it is important to note, that there are other provisions, such as death, federal law, and military pay protections that can bar property distribution in the event of an absolute divorce. Because of this, legal assistance is invaluable when it pertains to settling property before an absolute divorce is finalized.
Need Legal Advice?
Property distribution in North Carolina, if done incorrectly, can you leave you with no marital property. Because of this, North Carolina has a well-defined process when distributing marital property; which ensures that marital property includes both parties assets and debts and that there is a written findings of fact that supports the court’s decision that the marital property has been subjected to equitable division. Because the process for equitable distribution can be a complicated process to understand, it is invaluable to seek legal advice and representation. If you or a loved one is seeking equitable distribution in the midst of a divorce, contact an experienced North Carolina attorney at The Law Office of Dustin S. McCrary to help you with your case. Contact our office today for a consultation!