Dividing Property Can Be Very Divisive
In North Carolina, spouses divide property acquired during the marriage through a claim for equitable distribution. Property acquired during the marriage by the parties' efforts (but not, for example, as gifts or inheritance) may be divided equitably between the parties, regardless of who holds title or ownership of that property. "Equitably" does not necessarily mean "equal," however, and a court may apportion property and debts in whatever manner it feels is appropriate based on factors spelled out by law.
Parties can divide property through a written agreement at any time before or after separation. If property questions are not resolved by written agreement then a claim for equitable distribution should be filed with the court prior to the granting of an absolute divorce.
No claims for equitable distribution may be asserted in court while parties are living together as husband and wife, though certain claims to protect property may be brought before parties separate. If an equitable distribution claim is not filed prior to the entry of the absolute divorce judgment then that claim is barred.
Distribution of property and debt can be one of the most challenging issues divorcing couples face. There may be business implications, tax ramifications, real estate issues, and even trust and estate considerations.