Does Equitable Distribution have a Statute of Limitations?

One of the big issues in North Carolina divorce law is the timely filing of claims for equitable distribution.  

The rule is simple: for a party to preserve the right to ask the court to divide property, then the claim must be made prior to the divorce judgment being signed by the judge.  If that does not happen, the party’s claim is lost forever.

Not Quite a Statute of Limitations, But Very Similar.

What triggers the loss of an equitable distribution claim is not making it before a divorce.   There is no set time to make it after the separation of the parties, it simply must be made before the parties divorce.    Parties can wait a long time before filing for the divorce.   That is more like a statute of repose as opposed to a statute of limitataions.

So preserving a claim to equitable distribution sounds simple? Right?   It is.   The problem is that in a shockingly high percentage of cases where a party gets their divorce, they don’t know they need to preserve the claim for equitable distribution.  

What happens?   They get divorced without preserving their claim to property distribution and their claim is lost forever.  What does this mean?  In simple terms, a spouse who gets divorced without making a claim to divide marital property loses the right to go after their portion of a spouse’s retirement, bank accounts, and other assets.

Don’t let that happen to you.    If you want to preserve your rights then you shoudl talk to an attrony before your divorce is final.


Raleigh family law attorney Scott Allen handles equitable distribution and other kinds of family law cases every day and has over twenty-eight years of experience. If you have questions or need assistance call him at (919) 863-4183 or email at

Allen and Spence, PLLC
3737 Glenwood Avenue, Suite 100
Raleigh, NC 27612
(919) 863-4183

Scott Allen
Amanda Spence

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