Equitable distribution is a cause of action requesting that the court equitably divide marital assets and debts, separate assets and debts, and divisible property. A claim for equitable distribution must be pending prior to the entry of the divorce or the rights to request equitable distribution can be lost.
In North Carolina, there is a presumption that equal distribution is equitable, which means that by default, a 50/50 split is what the court will consider. There are several factors, however, that the court may consider which may result in an unequal distribution in favor of one spouse or the other. The goal is to make sure that each spouse is distributed an equitable amount of the marital assets, and an equitable amount of the marital debt.
Equitable distribution in North Carolina does not take into consideration fault when dividing marital property – fault or marital misconduct is only relevant when examining claims for post-separation support and/or alimony.