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What does equitable distribution mean?

On Behalf of | Dec 27, 2023 | DIVORCE - Property Division

During a marriage, the assets and possessions that the spouses accumulate together are part of the marital estate. If the marriage ends, the marital estate must be divided. North Carolina follows the principle of equitable distribution when it comes to property division. However, dividing property and assets between separating spouses is often one of the most complicated parts of the divorce process.

Property division methods

In the United States, there are two principles used to guide property division in divorce proceedings: community property or equitable distribution. In states that follow community property, all marital property and debt are split 50-50. The goal of community property is to give each spouse half of the marital property and assets. With equitable distribution, marital property isn’t necessarily divided equally; rather the goal is to create a fair division of assets.

Factors considered in equitable distribution

When the court divides property, there are several factors it may consider. A few common factors are the length of the marriage, the contributions each spouse made to acquiring marital property, the income of each spouse, the liquidity of marital property and whether there are minor children. These factors will vary by state.

Legal assistance

The property division process can be a difficult part of dissolving a marriage, and the potential for conflict always exists. Those in North Carolina who may be heading into a divorce and need help could obtain much-needed guidance by speaking with a legal professional. An experienced lawyer can ensure that personal interests are fully protected throughout the divorce process.