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Quick Facts on Property Division

Equitable Distribution is the process by which the Court identifies, classifies, values and distributes property among two people who are or have been married.

There are three types of property.

  • Marital - In general, this is all property obtained during the course of the marriage.
  • Separate - This is all property brought to the marriage by a party and all property received by one party by gift or inheritance.
  • Divisible - This represents all property interests obtained between the date of separation and the date of distribution.

Despite the common misperception that the term, "Equitable Distribution" implies that marital property and divisible property is divided equally in the event of separation and divorce, the term really means that marital property and divisible property is distributed by the Court according to principles of fairness.

Elements of Equitable Distribution:

  • Marriage. A husband or wife may file the claim.
  • Separation. Only spouses who are living separate and apart from each other may file a claim.
  • Marital & Divisible Property. The Court's task is to determine what is the marital and divisible property and to provide for an equitable distribution of the marital and divisible property between the parties.
  • Asserted Before Divorce. Except for certain limited exceptions, an absolute divorce within North Carolina destroys the right of a spouse to equitable distribution ..unless the right is asserted prior to judgment of absolute divorce.

Marital and divisible property is distributed according to an array of distributional factors, discussed in detail below.

The Equitable Distribution process in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina can be broadly explained by the following illustration:

  • Equitable Distribution Claim is Filed (By Complaint or Motion)
  • Equitable Distribution Affidavits Filed & Served (at least 7 days before the Initial Pretrial Equitable Distribution Conference)
  • Initial Pretrial Equitable Distribution Conference (Initial Pretrial Equitable Distribution Order filed)
  • Experts' Reports Filed & Served (by the Final Pretrial Equitable Distribution Conference)
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution Completed (by the Final Pretrial Equitable Distribution Conference)
  • Final Pretrial Equitable Distribution Conference (Final Pretrial Equitable Distribution Order filed)
  • Equitable Distribution Trial
  • Order Entered
  • Appeal???


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