What Do I Need to Know About Equitable Distribution in a North Carolina Divorce?

What Do I Need to Know About Equitable Distribution in a North Carolina Divorce?

Find out the important things you need to know about equitable distribution in a North Carolina divorce.



Raleigh, NC / November 12, 2019 / -- Equitable distribution is the body of law that governs the division of property and debts in North Carolina and refers to how property is divided between spouses during a divorce. (North Carolina is not a common law state.)

“Equitable” doesn’t necessarily mean “equal;” instead, the court divides property in a way that is deemed fair to both parties based on an extensive list of factors. These include the type of property (marital versus separate) in question, as well as a list of objective factors, for example, the age and health of the spouses, and how long they have been married for. 

Many divorcees-to-be wonder if filing for divorce will impact their right to receive property, or what proportion of property they will receive. Under North Carolina law, property distribution is not impacted by who files for divorce. Additionally, the court typically will not factor in any kind of misconduct on the part of a spouse when deciding how to divide property. 

In some cases, the parties might have a claim to separate property. Property one spouse owned prior to the marriage or by way of a gift or an inheritance may qualify as separate property.  As a general rule, inheritance is separate property.

By contrast, any property that is considered marital belongs to both spouses. It doesn’t matter if the property is titled in one spouse’s name, or if that spouse earned the property entirely on their own. If a spouse acquired property during the course of the marriage, it’s most likely marital property.

A good example of marital property is a retirement account. Just because one spouse earned the retirement money on their own by working at a job doesn’t mean the other spouse doesn’t have an ownership interest in the money in that account.

It's much better for the parties to decide how they would like to distribute their property rather than go through the litigation process required for the court to make a decision.


If you have questions about the division of property in a divorce in North Carolina, it's important to speak with a North Carolina family law attorney about your case.  Feel free to contact Raleigh Divorce Lawyers at (919) 841-5680 if you are interested in scheduling a consultation.

Visit Vitale Family Law office at this location.


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