Equitable Distribution is NC’s law on how to divide the property/debt that was acquired during the marriage and exist at the date of separation. To proceed under this law there must have been a marriage, and NC does not recognize common law marriages. Further, to pursue a property division you must be physically separated, which does mean living in separate residences. You and your spouse living in separate bedrooms does not create a separation. Finally, any claim for property division MUST be asserted (meaning filing in court) prior to the entry of a divorce judgement.
Generally, all assets and debts that were acquired during the marriage and in existence on the date of marriage are evenly divided. There are numerous exceptions to this presumption, so it is important to discuss each item of property/debt with your attorney. The statute states that the distribution should be equitable, which does NOT necessarily mean equal. In Wake County, however, must Judges will order an equal division of property or very close to an equal division.
NC law allows for an equitable division based on the Judge’s consideration of twelve factors. These factors include, but are not limited to, the tax consequences to each party of property to be allocated, the need of a parent with custody to occupy or own the marital residence, the duration of the marriage, the age/health of the parties, and the expect ion of pension/retirement that is not marital property. Again this is a list of a few items for the Judge to consider.