When couples divorce in North Carolina, they must divide shared debts and property according to the state’s equitable distribution standards. Equitable distribution means the division must be fair, but that does not have to mean a 50/50 split.
Review the factors that apply to property division if you face a divorce in North Carolina.
Defining marital property
Most assets and debts either you or your spouse accrues during the marriage constitute marital property. Separate property, which the court does not divide, includes assets and debts that date to after the separation date or before the date of marriage. For the purposes of property division, legal separation begins when you and your spouse live in separate homes and intend this arrangement to be permanent.
Understanding factors in division
You and your spouse can independently arrive at a property division agreement, either alone or with the help of attorneys or a mediator. If you cannot agree, the judge will decide during your divorce proceedings based on factors that include each person’s income, projected future income, age, mental and physical health status, monetary and non-monetary marital contributions, and the tax consequences of property division for each of you. The length of the marriage also plays a role in the financial arrangements after divorce.
The court does not consider marital misconduct in property division. If you or your spouse committed infidelity, for example, it does not affect your fair share of marital property.
Discussing these issues with your spouse when you separate can reduce the amount of time you spend in court as you finalize your divorce.