How do North Carolina courts handle property division?

People in North Carolina who are going through a divorce should know the factors the state considers in dividing marital property.

When going through a divorce in North Carolina, it is important for both parties involved that a just and equitable division of assets can be assured. Each state has its own laws that affect how the courts evaluate this distribution. Factors that are considered revolve around the type of support that each spouse provided to one another throughout the marriage, as well as other interests such as health of both spouses and any intervening business interests. Understanding the specific considerations that matter in their state can help people to plan their divorce in a more favorable way.

How the court defines property in a divorce

When considering which assets will come on the table for division in a divorce, the court distinguishes two different types of property. These definitions from a senate bill from 1981 remain in effect today. According to this bill, the court determines the fair distribution of what is called "marital property," while "separate property" stays outside of the court's jurisdiction. The bill also provides definitions of the two types of property.

If a piece of property was given by one spouse to the other as a stated gift, or if it is property that was owned before the marriage took place, then it is known as separate property. If separate property was exchanged for any other property during the course of the marriage, the exchanged property is also considered separate property. Marital property, on the other hand, is any property obtained by either spouse during the course of the marriage that does not qualify under the above stipulations as separate property.

The factors the court considers when dividing marital property

The court will consider the worth of all marital property and attempt to provide a "net value" that is to be divided equally. If it is not immediately apparent that an equal division is possible, the court will then proceed to evaluate some of the following factors in order to determine an equitable division:

  • Whether one or the other spouse has contributed to the increase in any of the property's value while married.
  • Any anticipated non-marital compensation, such as retirement or pension funds will be weighed in.
  • The court will consider the physical and mental health of both parties involved.
  • The duration of the marriage will be a factor.
  • The current income of both parties will also be evaluated.

In addition to the above factors, it is important to be aware that any liabilities or debts owed by either spouse will also be taken into consideration by the court during this process.

If someone in North Carolina is going through a divorce, he or she will want to make sure that the decision the court reaches in dividing property is fair and just. An attorney in the local area who practices family law may be able to help secure a favorable result in such matters.