If you are going through a divorce, one of your main concerns is probably regarding what will happen to your personal property. Divorce typically requires that both parties divide their jointly owned property, but there can be sharp disagreements over what qualifies as marital property. You will find it useful to learn more about how you can protect your property interests and secure a strong post-divorce future.
North Carolina is an equitable division state, which will impact how you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse will handle your marital property in your divorce. The court will base its decisions on what is most fair, or equitable. It is often difficult for two contesting parties to come to an agreement on what property is eligible for division and what is most fair.
Who decides what’s fair?
Marital property is anything you and your spouse purchased, accumulated, earned or collected over the course of the marriage. Depending on how you and your spouse used it, the stuff you owned before you were married is likely not eligible for division in your divorce.
If the basis of equitable division is what is most fair, you may be wondering who gets to decide what that means. Equitable does not always mean a 50-50 split, and a court will look at various factors when deciding which party will get a specific asset or how the two parties will share it. Some of these factors include:
- The length of the marriage
- The income of both parties during the marriage
- The current and long-term financial needs of both parties
- Which parent has custody of the children
- The age and health of both spouses
- The amount of any spousal support and child support
In some cases, a court may consider the actions of both parties when considering what equitable division means. For example, your or your spouse’s extramarital affair, you or your spouse’s addiction to drugs or alcohol, or other issues could play a role in the final property division settlement.
You can decide for yourself
You and your spouse may be able to work together to come to a reasonable resolution to any property division concerns. If you decide to settle these matters through negotiations or other means of dispute resolution, it will give you more of a say over what will happen to your property. It is possible to keep this matter out of court.
Before you agree to any terms or make any decisions that could impact your future, you will find it beneficial to discuss your concerns with an experienced family law attorney.