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Marital property division in North Carolina — The basics

On Behalf of | Jul 24, 2018 | Firm News |

If you are considering divorce and live in the Kenly area, you might be wondering how the court will divide your marital property. While some states use the community property method to the divide assets and debt of a divorcing couple, most other states, including North Carolina, use the principals of equitable distribution.

While the states that use the community property method tend to make an almost equal split of marital property between divorcing spouses, the equitable distribution method is designed to give each spouse a fair share of the property based on various factors. The following includes some basic information to help you understand how equitable distribution works in North Carolina.

Three types of property

In general, you and your spouse probably own three different categories of property. The three main categories are marital property, divisible property and separate property. Marital property includes everything you and your future ex-husband acquired during the marriage that does not fall under the other two categories. For example, the house the two of you bought together during the first decade of your marriage is more than likely marital property.

Divisible property typically includes anything you or your spouse bought or received between the time you separated and the date that the property distribution occurs.

Separate property usually applies to anything you owned prior to your marriage as well as any inheritances or gifts you received while you were married.

Factors in the court’s decision

In most cases, the court will try to divide property equally based on the value and type of property. However, if an equal division is not fair or equitable to both parties, the court will examine various factors in order to make a decision. One of the factors the court will consider is the income, property and debt of each of you at the time the property division takes place.

The presiding judge will also take into account the length of your marriage along with each of your respective ages and mental and physical health. Other factors include potential tax consequences of the division, how liquid the marital and divisible property is and anything else the court considers relevant to its decision.

If you are considering divorce, it is important to understand how the court divides marital property. This understanding will help you make necessary decisions in order to protect your interests.