DIVORCE LAWYERS IN WILMINGTON, NC

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Wilmington Equitable Distribution Attorney

When parties in Wilmington, North Carolina are seeking a divorce, they must make a claim for property division before the divorce is finalized or they lose the opportunity to have assets and debts split. While couples are encouraged to work together to reach a property division agreement, they are not always able to do so; when this is the case, the court will intervene, and will issue a property division judgment that is based on North Carolina’s equitable distribution laws. Our Wilmington equitable distribution attorney can guide you through the law and how to walk away with a fair outcome.

What Is Equitable Distribution?

Equitable distribution is a way of dividing marital and other divisible property between parties in a divorce in a way that is equitable, but not necessarily equal. There are three types of property that are recognized in the state, two of which are subject to equitable division laws:

Marital Property

Marital property is all property that was acquired by either spouse during the course of the marriage, such as a home or a car, even if the property is only in one spouse’s name. Marital property is subject to equitable distribution/division.

Separate Property

Separate property, on the other hand, is that property which was acquired by either spouse prior to marriage, or which was acquired by one spouse by gift or inheritance prior to or during the marriage. Separate property is not subject to division; however, what one spouse does with separate money during the marriage may change the identity of the property to marital.

Divisible Property

Section 50-20 of North Carolina Code also recognizes and defines divisible property, stating that divisible property is that property which is acquired or increases in value after the date of separation and prior to the date of distribution of property, including passive income (interest and dividends) and passive increases and decreases in marital debt.

How Does a Court Determine What Is “Equitable?”

Again, a couple involved in a divorce is encouraged to reach a property division settlement on their own, through mediation and negotiation, without the interference of a court. If a court must become involved due to the couple’s inability to reach an agreement, the court will determine what is equitable after considering numerous factors (NC General Statutes Section 50-20(c)), including:

  • The income, property, and liabilities of each party;
  • Whether an award of spousal support is part of the divorce settlement;
  • The duration of the marriage;
  • The age and physical health of both parties;
  • Pension and retirement benefits of either party that are not marital property;
  • Any equitable claim to marital property held by either spouse;
  • The contributions of one spouse to help the development and success of the other;
  • The character and value of property involved;
  • Tax consequences to each party that would result from a distribution award;
  • Any acts committed by either party that improved or worsened the value of marital property; and
  • Any other factor that is relevant and which the court deems “just and proper.”

Work with a Skilled Wilmington Equitable Distribution Attorney

At the offices of the Speaks Law Firm, PC, our Wilmington equitable distribution attorney provides aggressive representation during negotiations with your spouse, as well as in divorce litigation. We will work hard for you to help you reach the best possible divorce outcome and preserve your right to your full property award. Call our team today to get started.

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