Through the course of a Marvin, NC marriage, spouses work together to build an accumulation of assets, including finances, real estate, cars, retirement accounts, and more. Should difficulties arise in the marriage leading the couple to decide on separation or divorce, those assets need to be divided between both parties. When it comes to asset division, North Carolina uses a standard known as equitable distribution. This means that the spouses do not receive an equal amount of property but an equitable amount. Before the property is divided, it must also be classified to ensure it is marital property.
Dividing property between divorcing or separating spouses can be difficult and complex. The difficulties can often lead to roadblocks in the process and can extend the timeline for settlement when a couple is ready to move forward. At Lehnhardt Price Family Law, our attorneys have the skill and experience to help answer your questions about property division and represent our clients through the challenges to not only keep the divorce or separation moving forward but advocate for our client’s interests and rights.
Not all property in a marriage is subject to division. Property that is owned jointly and acquired throughout the course of the marriage is referred to as marital property, which is subject to equitable distribution. Homeownership and business ventures are common marital property; however, other forms of property can include retirement accounts, antiques, investments, and more.
The state statute that defines marital property is NC General Statute 50-20 which considers marital property any real or personal property that was owned or accumulated by either spouse throughout the course of the marriage but prior to the date of separation. When considering what property is divisible, courts will classify assets as either separate property or divisible property. Knowing how each function can help work through the challenges of property division.
When considering how to divide marital property and assets, equitable distribution allows for both spouses the opportunity to benefit from the marriage regardless of any disparities in income. When one spouse makes more than the other, or one spouse provides the sole income, there could be contention between both spouses as to who has the right to the property. However, the state considers that there are contributions to marriage beyond finances. While one spouse may be the one who works and earns an income, the other spouse creates the opportunity for that to occur by agreeing to other circumstances, such as maintaining primary child care. Both spouses thereby contribute to the success of the marriage. Other considerations taken in property distribution include:
When it comes to requesting the property you would like to acquire in your divorce or separation, you will want to present as much information as you can to prove an entitlement to that specific property. Your attorney can help guide you through the process to try and reach your desired outcome.
North Carolina uses equitable distribution as the standard for dividing marital property. Under equitable distribution, the courts look to ensure both spouses don’t necessarily receive the same amount of property but an equitable valuation of the property. The court will take many considerations into account, including how the couple obtained and maintained the asset, the length of the marriage, and more.
When it comes to property division in North Carolina, debt is considered among it. If the debt was accumulated prior to marriage, then it is not considered marital debt. However, if the debt was accumulated during the marriage, regardless of which spouse incurred the debt, then it is considered marital property and is subject to equitable distribution.
Marital separation is a part of the divorce process in North Carolina. Couples must live separately for one year before the divorce can be finalized. To prove this separation, spouses can produce lease agreements, utility bills, bank statements, voter registration cards, or a driver’s license or military ID card.
Property in North Carolina is considered any real or personal property that was accumulated during a marriage and acquired by either spouse before the date of their separation. The property must be owned at the time of consideration. Generally speaking, property acquired during the marriage and before the spouses’ physical separation is considered marital property.
It is important to have legal representation that can help protect your rights and advocate for what you are entitled to if you are facing a divorce or separation in North Carolina. At Lehnhardt Price Family Law, our family law attorneys have the skill and experience to represent you. We know how challenging and contentious the property division process can be. Because of this, we look at the facts of your case to create an individualized and compassionate approach that is unique to your needs. Contact our offices today for more information on how our attorneys can help.