How Do We Divide Property in a North Carolina Divorce?
The decision to end your marriage is the beginning of many more choices you will need to make. You and your spouse may have accumulated many assets over the years and must determine the best way to divide them. Couples often disagree as to how to handle the division of property in a divorce, and it can be a challenging issue to resolve. An experienced divorce attorney will help guide the process and work on your behalf to try to come to a fair settlement agreement.
What is Equitable Distribution?
Equitable distribution means that the property and assets that belong to a married couple are to be divided in a fair and equitable manner. This is different from states that follow the community property rule. In community property states, assets get divided 50/50. In North Carolina, courts will follow an equitable distribution rule for marital property. You will be able to obtain a fair settlement with the division of all property and assets that you have accumulated since your marriage. Both parties will need to have a similar and fair division of property.
Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold answers the question: “How will the judge divide our property?
Common Types of Property and Assets
Most property and assets that you obtained during your marriage are part of your marital property. This includes such things as money in bank accounts, your home, your vehicles, and all of your belongings, such as furniture, artwork, collectibles, and other items. Besides distributing assets, you will also need to equitably distribute debts you have, such as credit card bills and loans. You will also need to review the funds you both contributed to your retirement funds. Parties should try to come to an agreement as to the division of property. The judge has the final say and will review the proposed settlement arrangements to ensure they are fair and equitable.
Exceptions to the Distribution Rules
There are several notable exceptions to the rules of marital property distribution. Generally, any property you acquire during your marriage belongs to both parties. However, there are a few exceptions that qualify property as separate. If one person received an inheritance, it belongs solely to the named beneficiary and not to the spouse. Property that you owned prior to your marriage is also yours to keep without having to share. Any gifts that you receive, to you alone, are your property and you do not have to divide them with your spouse if you divorce. You may need to be prepared to prove ownership if your partner disputes your ownership assertions.
Fair and equitable property division is an essential part of divorce in North Carolina. It is helpful to make a list of your assets at the time you and your partner separate. A knowledgeable divorce attorney will help you through the process and make sure that you receive the proper settlement. Most people have many questions about property division, and we are here to help. Contact our legal team today at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, at (704) 370-2828 for a consultation today.
The family law practice group at Arnold & Smith, PLLC includes four Board-Certified Family Law specialists and one Child Welfare Law specialist, as well as several attorneys with many years of family law experience that are committed to providing a powerful voice to individuals facing the often-tumultuous issues in this area of law. The range of issues our family law clients may be facing include pre- and post-nuptial agreements; separation agreements; post-separation support; child support (both temporary and permanent); absolute divorce; divorce from bed and board; military divorce; equitable distribution of assets; child custody (both temporary and permanent); retirement benefits and divorce; alimony and spousal support; adoption; and emancipation. Because this area of the law is usually emotionally charged and complicated, the family law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC act with the utmost dedication to ensure that each client understands his or her options, and then act to achieve the best result possible for that client’s particular situation.
equitable distribution | Wex | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute (cornell.edu)
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