Throughout the course of a marriage, spouses may acquire various property, both together and individually. It may be in many forms as well such as homes, cars, bank accounts, investment accounts, retirement accounts, collectables, household goods and other forms. While married, couples share all these assets as they live one shared life. However, when couples go through divorce, people split the life they shared into two separate lives. This includes separating all the property they acquired during the marriage.
Property division can be a complicated process depending on the amount and type of assets that people acquire during the marriage. The process starts with determining what is marital property and what is separate property. Generally separate property is property that one spouse owned prior to the marriage, but can also include inheritances and gifts received by just one spouse during the marriage. Marital property is property acquired from the date of marriage to the date of separation, irrespective of how the property it titled. Once marital property is determined then the property is divided equitably.
Factors used to Divide Marital Property
As property is divided equitably and not necessarily equally, there are factors that judges will analyze to determine which property will go to each spouse. These factors include, but are not limited to:
- The amount of separate property that each spouse has at the time of the divorce
- The preference for the parent with custody of children to stay in the marital home
- The duration of the marriage and the needs of each spouse
- The contribution made by each spouse to acquire the property, which can be contributions a spouse made as a homemaker
- The nature of the property whether it is a liquid or non-liquid asset
Going through divorces in North Carolina is not an easy process as people separate their lives. There are many different aspects of a divorce, but one part of the process that can be very complicated depending on the circumstances is property division. Experienced attorneys understand the factors used to make these determinations and may be a useful resource.