When spouses separate, they often have many difficult and emotional decisions to make. In most North Carolina divorces, dividing marital assets and property can be an area of conflict. In an ideal world, spouses cooperate and work together to divide marital property. However, in the real world, many spouses end up in court and it is up to the judge to divide the marital estate. Here are some factors that usually play a role in how property is divided in divorce proceedings.
The types of property owned
In marriages, property is generally classified two ways: marital property or separate property. Separate property is just as the name implies: possessions that belong only to one spouse and most likely things that the spouse owned before marriage. An inheritance, regardless of when it is made, is typically separate property. Marital property includes possessions that both parties acquired while they were married. Examples of marital property are a house bought during marriage or salaries earned during the marriage.
The state of residence
State laws play the biggest role in determining how property is divided among divorcing spouses. In community property states, marital property is considered either community or separate. Each spouse keeps his or her separate property while the community property is divided equally among both individuals. In equitable distribution states, like North Carolina, property that was acquired during marriage is divided fairly, or equitably, but not necessarily equally.
The property division process can be a big source of conflict among divorcing spouses. North Carolina is an equitable distribution state, and it is important to seek the guidance of a knowledgeable legal professional before undergoing this process. An experienced family law attorney can present the client’s case to the court in a persuasive light and help the client achieve a fair and binding result..