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 your divorce is finalized. Finally, there cannot be a valid separation or property settlement agreement that has already divided the marital assets and in which the parties have waived their right to an equitable distribution of property.
Unlike a claim for divorce, you don’t have to be separated for one year in order to file an equitable distribution claim. Thus, it is possible to file and complete your division of property before your divorce has been finalized.