Property Division in North Carolina

Throughout the course of a marriage, spouses typically acquire a wide range of assets that can include businesses, cars, houses, property, retirement accounts, and more. The established “equitable distribution” approach in North Carolina states that spouses are equally entitled to all property acquired during the marriage. When a couple separates before a divorce, both parties have the opportunity to request that the court enact equitable distribution of property. When this occurs, the court will establish the marital and divisible property and allow for a fair distribution.

When you and your spouse are going through a separation or divorce, determining equitable distribution of property in North Carolina can be one of the most complex and technical parts of the process. If you are experiencing challenging property division roadblocks in your separation or divorce, it is important to retain the help of an experienced family law attorney. At King Law, our North Carolina attorneys are prepared to advocate for your property division interests and rights, whether in negotiations or court.

What Property Is Subject to Division in a Separation or Divorce in North Carolina?

Spouses who are pursuing separation or divorce in North Carolina should be aware of the way that property is divided and how it affects their rights to marital assets. When a married couple owns property jointly acquired during the course of their marriage, it is referred to as marital property. This typically refers to homeownership or businesses that are owned by both spouses, but there are many cases where it can also include pension plans, antiques, sentimental items, and much more.

North Carolina General Statute § 50-20 defines marital property as real and personal property acquired by either or both spouses, which includes anything that is currently owned or obtained throughout the marriage prior to the date of separation. In certain circumstances, North Carolina courts can omit select property types from what is traditionally considered marital property and can include property that is deemed as separate or divisible.

Separate Property

The state of North Carolina classifies separate property as any real and personal property that is acquired by either spouse prior to the marriage. Any property that was acquired by a spouse by bequest, descent, devices, or gifts throughout the marriage is also considered separate property and is not subject to division. This prevents either spouse from obtaining any property that they did not have access to before their marriage.

If you or your spouse received property, such as a vehicle, that the other partner has been using primarily throughout the course of your marriage, that property returns to the ownership of the person who acquired it before the marriage occurred. This can cause many problems for spouses who rely on their partner for transportation or housing, which is why it is necessary to work with a knowledgeable North Carolina lawyer to help protect your rights as a spouse during a property division.

Divisible Property

In North Carolina, divisible property is identified as all appreciation and diminution in value of the marital and divisible property following the date of separation and before the date of distribution. This excludes the appreciation or diminution in property value stemming from post-separation measures or activities of a spouse. North Carolina guidelines state that divisible property is:

  • Property
  • Property rights
  • Any portion thereof obtained after the date of separation but before the date of distribution that was acquired as a consequence of either spouse’s endeavor during the marriage and before the date of separation.

Understanding how your property will be affected by your separation or divorce can be difficult if you do not have experienced legal counsel on your side. Qualified lawyers like the team at King Law can help you manage your divisible property such as:

  • Bonuses
  • Contractual rights
  • Financing charges
  • Increases and decreases in marital debt
  • Marital debt interest
  • Passive income from marital property received after the date of separation
    • Including interest and dividends

Under North Carolina law, the division of property between separating or divorcing spouses will be equal unless the court determines that a 50-50 split is not fair or “equitable.” Each instance of divorce or separation is unique and, when cases of property distribution are brought to a court, there are certain factors that need to be considered before any decisions are made regarding the division and distribution of property. Partnering with a trusted lawyer with experience in family law can give you peace of mind and the assurance that your rights will be protected.

What Factors Do Courts Consider When Determining Equitable Distribution of Property?

Divorce and separation can be more troubling for some spouses than for others. If one person in a marriage has depended on the other for their income or housing, divorce or separation can have a devastating effect on their life. As a result of North Carolina courts using an equitable distribution approach to property division during a separation or divorce, not all marital property is split 50-50. Instead, the courts will consider several factors to establish what is fair to both parties. Some of these factors include:

  • How long the marriage lasted
  • Nonmarital property, if one spouse owns considerably more than the other spouse
  • Prenuptial agreements
  • Services as a homemaker, as well as how that might influence future earning capacity
  • The earning power of both spouses
  • The health and age of both spouses
  • Tax implications of property division
  • Who bought or maintained the asset, especially in reference to a family business

When your property division case reaches the court, it is important to provide as much information as possible to support your request for the property that you deserve. Representing yourself can be challenging, but the dedicated team at King Law can help spouses in North Carolina ensure that they obtain the best possible results for their property division case.

Outstanding Representation for Property Division Cases in NC

Regardless of the property that you and your spouse are attempting to divide during your divorce, ensuring that your right to marital assets is upheld can be difficult without reliable legal counsel on your side. If you are facing challenges related to property division in North Carolina, the skilled team at King Law can help you build a strong case and protect your rights.

To get started on your property division case, call us at (888) 748-5464 or reach out to us online today to book a consultation with one of our experienced lawyers in North Carolina.