Choosing to divorce is often a difficult, painful process that is complicated by having to determine how to not only separate emotionally, but also determine how to separate your belongings, assets, and real estate. In order to leave your marriage with your fair share of assets and property, our experienced divorce attorneys can help you create a property settlement that allows you to move forward with a secure future.
Understanding North Carolina Marital Property
In North Carolina, marital property refers to the assets and possessions a couple has acquired together during the course of the marriage. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Real estate, including a family home, vacation property, and owned rental property.
- Belongings, including furniture and electronics
- Investments, stocks, and money in savings accounts
However, not all assets obtained during a marriage fall under marital property. There are a few exceptions, including inheritance to one party, a personal gift, or property that was acquired using proceeds from separate property. For example, if the couple purchased a vacation home with inheritance money left to one party, the spouse receiving the inheritance would most likely keep the vacation home.
How Does Equitable Division Apply to Property Settlements?
In North Carolina, property settlements are typically based on equitable division. This means that property is divided fairly between the two parties, though not necessarily equally. There are factors that play into equitable division in accordance with N.C.G.S. Sec. 50-20, including:
- Income, property, and liabilities of both spouses at the time of separation
- Alimony or child support from prior relationships or settlements – How long do obligations to support children from a previous relationship last?
- Duration of the marriage
- Physical and mental health of both parties – Does one spouse have health issues that could prevent him or her from supporting themselves?
- Child custody, especially relating to getting the marital home – Is it best for the custodial parent to remain in the home while the children are young?
- Pensions, retirement, or deferred compensation rights that are not part of marital property
- Contributions to one spouse’s education – Did one spouse work and support the other while he or she continued education?
- Contributions that raise a separate property’s value – Did one spouse contribute to pay for a business, investment property, or second home owned by the other spouse?
It’s important to note that behavior within or outside a marriage, such as adultery, does not affect the property settlement unless that behavior directly leads to an economic impact on the marital property and estate.
Due to the numerous factors that affect equitable distribution, in order to receive a fair outcome, it’s important to partner with an experienced divorce attorney to help you create a property settlement.
Creating a Property Settlement
Because divorce litigation can be stressful, expensive, and a long, drawn-out process, if you and your spouse can agree to a property settlement outside of a courtroom, you’ll most likely save money and have a better outcome. Many couples may benefit from mediation, which allows you and your attorney to work with your spouse and his or her attorney to craft a settlement that leads to an optimal outcome for both parties. Not only will you have a fair and equitable division of assets, you and your spouse are determining the settlement, not a judge.
Contact Our Raleigh Divorce Attorneys to Assist with Your Property Settlement
If you are getting a divorce, the painful emotions involved can cloud your ability to look after your own best interests. Working with experienced divorce attorneys who understand your rights and will work on your behalf to achieve the best possible outcome will allow you to start your new beginning with security and confidence. Contact our team today by calling 919-615-2473 or filling out the form below to schedule a consultation.
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