We like the “just the facts” nature of equitable distribution cases. For each asset owned by the parties, we first classify the asset (is it marital property? divisible property? separate property? or none of the above?) determine the net fair market value on date of separation and current date, and distribute the marital and divisible property equitably. These cases involve paperwork and attention to details. They require tremendous organization. Thankfully, we have a staff with the experience and patience to work through the issues that can arise during this process.
Our goal is to present you with an accurate “big picture” assessment of the marital and divisible property so you can make a good decision about whether to settle or go to trial with the case.
Experience shows that there are times when it makes sense to go to trial with an equitable distribution case. For example, where there is a significant dispute over a substantially valuable asset or whether an equal division of property is actually equitable.
It never makes sense to try a case because the client (or the lawyer) just does not understand what the case is about, or worse, is just mad as hell about something.
The law of equitable distribution was enacted in 1981 and is codified in North Carolina General Statute Section 50-20 and 50-21.
The law defines “marital property” and “divisible property” as being subject to distribution by the Court upon application of either party after the date of separation.
Property acquired by either or both spouses between the date of marriage and the date of separation, with the exception of property acquired as a gift or inheritance, is presumed to be marital property and subject to distribution by the Court.
There is a strong presumption in favor of an equal division of the marital property, although the Court may in certain circumstances make an unequal division of the marital property.
Certain passive increases and/or decreases in the values of the marital assets may be determined to be “divisible property”, and therefore subject to distribution by the Court.
In an equitable distribution case, the Court must first identify the marital and divisible property, value that property, and then distribute the property equitably. Proper investigation and use of discovery is important.
Equitable distribution matters are often complex and require substantial time, energy and organizational skills. Our office has made equitable distribution cases a point of emphasis and our staff is organized around a “team concept” which allows us to effectively organize and evaluate complex equitable distribution matters.
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