The decision to divorce is not an easy one, and one of the biggest reasons couples may put off divorcing is worry over dividing property or finances. You may have accepted that divorce is the best choice for your situation, but you wil probably be overwhelmed, confused and scared over losing some of your property or financially struggling after the divorce.
Having a clear understanding of North Carolina’s property division laws can help alleviate your stress. After your divorce is filed, your property will be identified and labeled either marital or separate property.
Property includes both assets, such as houses and cars, and debts. Property that was purchased or accumulated during your marriage is marital property, and you and your spouse both have an equal right to claim the property.
Any property that you or your spouse owned before the marriage is separate property and will remain the property of that spouse postdivorce. If someone gave you something as a gift during your marriage, or you received an inheritance while you were married, those may also be considered separate property.
Marital property is the only property that gets divided between you and your spouse during a divorce. The court tries to divide property fairly and equitably between both you and your spouse.
When deciding what is “equitable,” the court may examine:
Additionally, one spouse’s contributions to the education or earning capacity of the other may also be considered. For example, if you worked so your spouse could go to school full-time and now your spouse has a high-paying position because of their degree, you could be awarded a higher share of the overall property.
It is hard to keep emotions out of even the most amicable divorces. Courts do not consider a spouse’s negative actions, such as lying or cheating, when deciding how property should be divided. Removing the emotion from your divorce can be a challenge but having a compassionate and experienced divorce attorney on your side can help you to make the best decisions.