Do I wait until after divorce to file for a share of our joint bank account and other property?
No – and we can’t stress that answer enough. Any claim you file for equitable distribution of your property must be made before the absolute divorce is granted. There are many reasons why this is important.
As a spouse, you are entitled to an “equitable” share of all marital property. Generally speaking, this is any property that either you or your spouse obtained after the date of marriage and before the date of the filing for divorce.
If the spouses can agree on the division of marital assets and debts, they can enter into a separation agreement, or what is sometimes called a “divorce settlement.” However, you will need to file for equitable distribution of property by the court if no agreement can be reached.
Additionally, you may want to file for an injunction that will prevent a spouse from tampering with marital property or an order that temporarily divides property such as a joint bank account before the final equitable distribution decree or settlement agreement is final.
Please see our page on Asset Division and Marital Property to learn more about when the time is right to file for equitable distribution. Also see the N.C. property distribution statute.