family law

Property Division in North Carolina Divorces: Equitable Distribution and Marital Assets

When your marriage ends, you might have plenty of concerns on your mind. Along with child custody and spousal support, property division can lead to disputes between the separating couples. How is property division in North Carolina divorce handled? Let’s look at the legalities regarding equitable distribution and marital assets in the Tar Heel State.

What Does Equitable Distribution Mean?

Unlike community property states, where assets are split 50-50, North Carolina follows the principle of equitable distribution. In these cases, the split doesn’t always mean an equal share. 

For example, the courts will look at the duration of the marriage and each spouse’s contributions to the union. Yes, even non-financial contributions can be factors, especially if one spouse puts their career on hold to help advance the education or career of the other. If a spouse raised children and maintained upkeep of the household, that is considered a contribution in the state. 

What Are the Different Types of Property?

There are two types of property: marital and separate. All marital property includes personal property and real estate acquired during the union. For instance, if one spouse’s name is on the car title and the vehicle was purchased during the marriage, it could qualify as marital property. 

On the other hand, separate property usually contains assets that were received before the marriage or after separation. In most cases, the separate property will remain with the original owners. In these cases, separate property could include gifts or inheritance received by one person during the marriage. 

The Valuation Process

When it comes time for distribution, the property must be valued. For real estate, vehicles, and other tangible assets, these values are based on their current market value. Many times, artwork or antiques may need to be appraised by a professional to determine their value. Other instances, accountants or other financial professionals may need to provide an opinion on other assets, such as retirement accounts or business interests. 

What Happens to the Marital Home?

When it comes to divorce, one of the biggest assets to consider is the marital home. There are various factors to consider when deciding who will retain ownership of the property, including financial stability, child custody arrangements, and emotional ties.

One spouse may want to keep the house and buy out the other’s share. In this case, the buying spouse would need to obtain a new mortgage or refinance the existing mortgage in their name alone. 

However, the couple may decide to sell the home and divide the proceeds. In that case, they would need to agree on a fair value for the property and divide any profits or losses resulting from the sale. 

What Happens to Your Pets?

Over the years, the issue of pet custody has been a major concern. Pet ownership can be emotionally challenging during a divorce. In some cases, courts may consider custody arrangements for beloved pets. While you might love your pet as a family member, they are still considered property in the state. Sometimes, agreements may be placed to address who will care for the pets and pay for all their expenses. 

Get the Guidance You Need During This Time

Property division in North Carolina divorces can be complicated. For that reason, you will want to have an experienced family law attorney help with the equitable distribution of marital assets. 

If you would like to learn more about this process, contact Stephen E. Robertson Law Office. We are here to help you navigate through these challenging times. You can set up an appointment by calling 336-370-6760 today.