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How does North Carolina law divide property in divorce?

On Behalf of | Jun 29, 2021 | Firm News

A North Carolina divorce involves splitting property the spouses have accumulated during the marriage. The statutes refer to equitable distribution when addressing how the state divides marital property.

Equitable distribution is a more common way to divide debt than those states that still subscribe to community property laws. Find out more about what gets split and how.

What is marital property?

Once a couple marries, they may decide to combine accounts and assets. Everything that they combine and everything they acquire from that point forward is marital property. The court may consider every asset or account held jointly or solely when tabulating marital property. Unless a spouse signed off on the purchase and recognizes that it remains in the sole possession of the other, it all goes in the same proverbial pot for dividing during the divorce.

How does equitable distribution work?

Equitable distribution is the method many states use to divide up marital property during divorce. If the parties do not agree on a fair split, the judge examines several factors when deciding for them. Some of the things a judge considers include:

  • Whether one spouse left a career to raise children
  • The present and future earning potential of the spouses
  • The emotional contribution of each spouse to the marriage
  • Whether one spouse will have more separate property than the other

The judge looks at the total picture and then decides a fair way to split marital property. Debt divides along the same lines.

Equitable distribution may help an underemployed spouse land on his or her feet after divorce. However, the preferred method of division involves both spouses reaching an agreement versus letting a judge decide.