Preserve Your Rights in Your Raleigh Divorce

If you are thinking about divorcing or are going through a divorce in Raleigh or Wake County, NC this article is very important, so please read it carefully.

The law in North Carolina is that if a spouse does not make a claim for equitable distribution, alimony and postseparation support prior to the entry of their divorce judgment, that spouse’s right to ask for spousal support and division of property is lost forever.

Therefore, if you are filing your divorce in Raleigh at the Wake County Courthouse, or even if you have a Raleigh divorce lawyer, make certain that if you want to ask for spousal support or the court to divide your property in your Raleigh divorce case that you make those claims before the court grants the divorce.

Preserving Your Equitable Distribution Claim

Equitable distribution is the process by which the court divides marital and divisible property between spouses.  The failure to apply specifically for equitable distribution prior to a  judgment of absolute divorce will destroy the statutory right to equitable distribution.  N.C.G.S. § 50-11(e) provides that: “[a]n absolute divorce obtained within this state shall destroy the right of a spouse to an equitable distribution of the marital property under G.S. § 50-20 unless the right is asserted  prior to judgment of absolute divorce . . . .”

Be aware that unless the claim for equitable distribution is specifically preserved in the pleadings, it is not enough to have the words in the divorce judgment “reserving pending claims” if the claims are not pending.

Alimony and Postseparation Support

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 50-11(c) provides that a divorce obtained pursuant to G.S. § 50-5.1 or G.S. § 50-6 shall not affect the rights of either spouse with respect to any action for alimony or postseparation support pending at the time the judgment for divorce is granted.  The pleading setting forth the claim for alimony/postseparation support, therefore, must be filed and pending prior to the entry of the judgment of absolute divorce. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 50-16.2A(a) provides that the pleading must be verified and must set forth the factual basis for the relief requested. You should always include  allegations as to “dependent” and “supporting” spouse and sufficient allegations regarding the parties’ financial standing.