For property division settlements, North Carolina is an equitable distribution state. This is somewhat of a misnomer – equitable does not mean equal, rather it is what is determined by the court to be fair to both parties involved.
“Property division is usually the most troublesome part of divorce proceedings,” said Thomas D. Bumgardner, Ballantyne Divorce Lawyer. “You may feel you are entitled to certain assets while your former spouse feels they should receive control of the same asset. If two people are unable to come to an out-of-court property division agreement, it is important to know how North Carolina courts determine fair equity.”
Listed below are the basics of property division law in North Carolina.
Know the Three Types of Assets
North Carolina categorizes property into three categories: marital, divisible and separate. What you are able to keep and what is divided between you and your former spouse depends on these categories.
Marital Property is considered any asset or property you earned from the beginning of the marriage until the date of separation. This includes pension and retirement benefits. Although you will not receive these benefits until a later date, your spouse may be entitled to this property.
Divisible Property is marital property that has changed from the date of separation to the current date. For example, earnings from stocks or interest from a bank account is considered divisible property. The only exception comes in the form of debt accrued after separation. You are not liable for debt accrued by the other person after the date of separation.
Separate Property is property or assets gained before or after marriage. The other spouse is not entitled to this property. For example, if you receive an inheritance after the date of separation, those assets are yours and are not to be divided. Any interest or revenue gained from this property is also yours to keep.
Factors That Help Determine Equity
The following factors help determine how each item of property is split.
- Non Marital Property
- Tax Consequences of Property Division
- Premarital Agreements
- Services as a Homemaker
- Duration of the Marriage
- Earning Potential and Power of Parties
Who is Responsible for Debt?
Debt is handled exactly the same as the rest of the property division process. The court will analyze all of the factors listed above in order to determine what percentage of the debt will be attributed to either party. If the debt cannot be attributed as one person’s separate liability, the debt will be split evenly in most cases.
Does Marital Misconduct Affect the Ruling?
If one party has engaged in marital misconduct, such as an affair, it does not affect the property division ruling. It does, however, have bearing on whether alimony is awarded. (Read more about North Carolina alimony laws.)
Consult With Your Ballantyne Divorce Lawyer
North Carolina’s divorce laws are fairly intricate and can be confusing. Ballantyne divorce lawyer, Thomas D. Bumgardner is vastly experienced in navigating North Carolina’s divorce laws and will fight for the assets you deserve. For a free consultation, contact us: (704) 870-4779