Is your court-ordered equitable distribution modifiable?

Finalizing your divorce is a feat in itself. But with property division being inherently contentious, you could feel unsatisfied with the trial court’s final decision regarding what they deem as fair, though not necessarily equal, judgment.

Now, this begs the question of whether North Carolina courts allow modifications on a supposedly final equitable distribution order. Unfortunately, the short answer is that the state’s courts generally err on the side of finality. Thus, it is imperative to clearly express your preferred terms to your legal counsel at the onset and consider how there may be no going back from it.

However, the slim chance of having your case re-opened depends on your unique circumstances, your counsel’s negotiating strategies and the judge’s discretion.

Post-judgment equitable distribution appeal

After listing which assets and liabilities fall under marital or separate properties, assessing their value in the market comes next. Once you’ve settled the terms, the trial court comprehensively considers relevant factors, such as the length of your marriage, tax implications, and both parties’ current and future earning potential, before arriving at a final decision.

But if you wish to fight for your equitable distribution claim, you must face the Court of Appeals. The appellate court then reviews the trial court’s factual findings leading them to their decision. Instead of evaluating new information, the appellate court may return the case to the trial court, if they think they have insufficient details to go on for a well-informed decision.

As you pursue this fight, you must know that the back-and-forth procedures could quickly drain you financially and emotionally.

Seeking closure

As in all things, getting it right the first time is challenging. But in this context, your legal team can help make things as less time- and money-consuming as possible. More than you and your spouse, lengthening your already arduous divorce process through an equitable distribution appeal could also impact your child. You must then understand how your every move may directly compound your family’s emotional turmoil.

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