If you are getting divorced in North Carolina, it is important to understand the rules of this state surrounding the division of marital property. While some states use a guideline called community property and typically divide all martial assets in half at the end of a marriage, North Carolina uses a system called equitable distribution. In this system, the court considers many different factors before determining the final division of marital property, based on your unique circumstances.
Under equitable distribution, the court uses a 50/50 split as an assumed starting point, but both parties can submit evidence that can change this. The property and assets of both spouses must be completely identified and valued. There are three classifications the court uses to organize marital property:
- Marital property: Generally speaking, this includes any and all property and assets that are acquired during the marriage. Exceptions are made, however.
- Divisible property: Because the process of divorce takes a significant amount of time, the divisible property guidelines consider the change in value that assets may have between the time of separation and the finalization of a divorce. An example might be if the value of the marital home increases or decreases significantly due to local market changes.
- Separate property: If you can demonstrate ownership of property or assets before the marriage, these items are considered differently. Property or assets that were individual gifts or inheritances may also be included in this category.
If you are undergoing a divorce, it is crucial that you have an experienced and knowledgeable attorney advising you. The court will consider many factors before deciding about your division of marital property and an attorney can help you prepare for this process.