You and your spouse may have spent years building a life together purchasing many assets along the way. In fact, you may not even realize the diversity of your assets until you have to divide them in a divorce. The following are the basics on property division in North Carolina.
Equitable distribution and property division
In North Carolina, assets and debts acquired during the course of the marriage will be divided via “equitable distribution.” This means that the court will divide these assets based on what is fair even if this does not lead to an exact 50/50 split.
There are a variety of factors the court will consider in the property division process. For example, the court may consider:
- Each spouse’s incomes, property and debt;
- The age and health of each spouse;
- How long the marriage lasted;
- Each spouses’ contributions to the other spouse’s earning power; and
- The tax implications of property division.
This list is not all-inclusive; there are other factors courts may consider when making property division decisions.
Marital property versus separate property
Equitable distribution only applies to marital assets and debts. Marital assets and debts are those which a couple obtained during the course of their marriage. Each spouse has an ownership interest in marital assets and debts, and these will be included in the divisible estate. There are a few exceptions in which an asset obtained during the marriage will not be part of the marital estate, including inheritances and gifts to one spouse from a third party.
Separate property refers to assets and debts a spouse obtained prior to marrying. Separate property remains that of the spouse who obtained them and is not subject to equitable distribution. That being said, if a separate asset actively increased in value while you were married, this increase may be subject to equitable distribution.
Learn more about property division in North Carolina
The thought of facing property division in North Carolina can be a daunting prospect. Fortunately, attorneys are available to give advice on this topic. Our firm’s webpage on property division may be a good starting point for those who want to learn more about their rights and options.