In North Carolina, divorcing couples have a right to “equitable distribution” of property. Equitable distribution refers to a court-ordered division of property between spouses that is considered “fair”—which often, but not always, amounts to a 50/50 split. It is important to understand your rights to marital property in a divorce and the actions you must take in order to receive what you’re entitled to.
To be eligible for equitable distribution, all of the following must be true:
This final requirement is particularly important to understand. You or your spouse must specifically request equitable distribution before your divorce becomes final. This request can be made in:
If you fail to file a request for equitable distribution in time, you forever lose your claim to a fair divide of your marital property. Instead, the court will divide your property based on titles and other evidence of ownership.
Say, for example, your spouse owns a luxury car valued at $40,000. Under equal distribution, you might be entitled to receive property equal to approximately half the value of the car. However, if you miss your deadline to claim equal distribution, you’re not entitled to any part of this property.
It’s critical to understand your rights pertaining to equitable distribution. Adhering to the above deadline can make or break your financial future following a divorce.