Going through a divorce is never easy, but it is something that we have helped many people get through. One of the most difficult—and often confusing—parts of getting a divorce in North Carolina is the process of property division. This is where the courts will decide who gets which assets after the divorce is completed. Taking some time to learn about this process now can help you to know what to expect and get through it as easily as possible.
Equitable Division State
North Carolina is an “equitable division” state (as opposed to a “community property” state), which means that the courts will make a real effort to divide up your assets in a fair and equitable way. Make sure you know that this does not mean that the assets will be split exactly 50/50, which is a common misunderstanding.
While the courts will do their best to ensure both parties get the assets that they need, it is almost impossible to ensure you get everything you want. With this in mind, it is highly recommended that the two parties attempt to divide up as many of the assets prior to going to court for forced property division. With the assistance of a skilled attorney, it is often possible to come to a mutual agreement on a surprising amount of things.
For any assets that you can't agree on, the court will learn about your situation and take a number of factors into account before assigning each asset to one party or the other (or requiring that it be sold with the money divided up between the parties). The following factors are typically considered during this process:
- Need of the Parties – One of the main goals of the courts is to ensure the post-divorce needs of both parties are met. This includes things like shelter, transportation and more.
- When Property was Acquired – In most cases any belongings each individual brought with them into the marriage will be given back to that individual. Any assets acquired during the marriage will be split as evenly as can be reasonably done.
- Debts – In addition to assets, the court will try to fairly divide up any debts. When doing this they will attempt to split the debts based on the party's ability to pay.
- Children – If there are children involved, the party getting primary custody of them will likely also get the assets that are primarily used to raise children.
Of course, there are many other factors that the courts may consider when dividing up the assets during a divorce. While the process won't be easy, with the help of a good attorney you can often keep the assets that are most important to you.