Family Law

Factors the Court Considers When Making Equal or Un-Equal Distribution

North Carolina courts are to make an equal division of the marital estate unless they determine that an equal division is not equitable.  In making this determination, the court shall consider the following factors, all of which are set forth at North Carolina General Statute § 50-20(c): (1) The income, property, and liabilities of each…

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Tax Consequences of Equitable Distribution Awards

Post-separation property transfers between spouses are considered “incident to divorce” and are generally not subject to taxes by the Internal Revenue Service.  However, if the transfers take place a year or more after the separation, there is a presumption that the transfer was not incident to the separation and consequently the transfer becomes taxable.  This…

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Property Subject to Equitable Distribution

Property that is subject to equitable distribution includes real property, vehicles, household furniture and furnishings, bank accounts, investment accounts, annuities, retirement accounts, business interests, cash, the cash value of life insurance policies, art, collectibles, jewelry, electronics and anything other asset or item of property acquired during the marriage.  Regardless of how an asset is titled…

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The Role of Marital Fault in Equitable Distribution

Generally speaking, the marital fault or misconduct (adultery, cruelty or inhumane treatment, habitual drunkenness, drug addiction, nonsupport, etc.) of a party is not relevant in the equitable distribution proceeding.  However, if the misconduct has an economic impact on the parties’ financial condition, then the court may consider this and determine that an unequal distribution is…

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Different Types of Property:  Marital, Separate and Divisible

As discussed briefly above, there are two main categories of property in the equitable distribution context, marital property and separate property. Marital property is broadly defined under statute and includes “all real and personal property acquired by either spouse or both spouses during the course of the marriage and before the date of the separation…

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Steps in Equitable Distribution

There are four steps in the equitable distribution process:  (1) identification, (2) categorization, (3) valuation and (4) distribution.   Identification. The first step in the equitable distribution process is to identify all property owned by one or both parties on the date of separation. Property that is identified during this stage includes real property, vehicles, household furniture and…

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Requirements to File an Equitable Distribution Claim

Equitable distribution is governed by North Carolina General Statute §§ 50-20, 50-20.1 and 50-21.  The only requirements to file an equitable distribution are that you must be married to the person you are filing the claim against, and you must be separated from that person.  Furthermore, your equitable distribution claim must be pending (filed) before…

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Equitable Distribution – the Division of Marital Property

After a separation from your spouse, the process of identifying, categorizing, valuing and dividing the property acquired during your marriage and your existing debt is known as equitable distribution.  Property that is subject to an equitable distribution includes real property, vehicles, household furniture and furnishings, bank accounts, investment accounts, annuities, retirement accounts, business interests, cash,…

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Can You Waive Your Alimony Claim?

Under limited circumstances, it is possible to waive your alimony claim.  One scenario is if the spouses enter into a premarital agreement that expressly bars the payment of alimony upon separation.  Another scenario is when a judgment of absolute divorce is finalized before the dependent spouse fails to raise his or her claim for alimony.…

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