Thousands of married couples divorce in North Carolina every year. Almost all of them need to address property division matters. Only those who divorce very quickly after marriage or who have airtight prenuptial agreements can divorce without any property-related complications. Under North Carolina law, married couples share their income and assets with one another. They also share responsibility for financial obligations, like credit card debts. Any marital property is potentially subject to division during a divorce.
Those preparing for divorce often struggle with property division, possibly because they have unrealistic expectations. What is the North Carolina rule for the division of marital resources and debts?
Divorces in North Carolina should be equitable
Like a majority of other states in the country, North Carolina is an equitable distribution state. If a judge has to divide marital property, they should seek a solution that is fair given the circumstances of the marriage. They may start by considering an even distribution of assets but may then deviate from that based on factors like the separate property and earning potential of the spouses. Even property or debts held in the name of only one spouse are typically subject to division in North Carolina divorces.
Assets acquired through inheritance or owned prior to marriage are often resources not subject to division under current North Carolina laws. The name on the account or asset ownership paperwork matters far less than the date of acquisition and the nature of the funds used to acquire property. Judges can divide any marital property in a manner that they believe is fair.
Couples can make their own decisions
Divorcing couples in North Carolina aren’t automatically at the mercy of a family law judge’s views. They have the option of settling their own property division matters. Spouses can negotiate directly with one another or through their lawyers. They might even attend divorce mediation as a way of reaching a reasonable settlement given their marital circumstances and personal holdings. Assets ranging from the marital home to retirement savings may be subject to division in a North Carolina divorce.
Learning about the different ways to divide marital property may help people choose the best solution for their family.