When filing for divorce, it is no surprise that it is not just your marriage that is going to be splitting up, but all of your assets too. Understanding how North Carolina courts will split up marital assets, however, is not something that most people easily understand. Whether you're just starting to think about divorce, or you're in the middle of one, take some time to learn more about how your assets will be divided up so you can properly plan for your future.
North Carolina is an Equitable Division State
The first (and likely most important) thing to be aware of is that North Carolina is an equitable division state. This does not necessarily mean that the courts will split everything up 50/50, but instead will be trying to split your assets up in such a way as to position both parties to be in as strong a position as possible once the divorce is completed.
Kids Come First
The courts will always do everything they can to ensure your children are able to be cared for as well as possible. If one parent has primary custody of the children, this is a factor the court will consider. The parent with custody is more likely to get the house, along with other assets that are necessary for providing for their care. Even if this results in a more lopsided division of assets, this is the family court's way of minimizing any negative impact on the children.
Income (and Potential Income) Plays a Vital Role
When the courts are splitting assets up, they will factor in each party's current or potential income (including any awarded support) when making most decisions. If one party has little education or work experience, they will likely get a larger portion of any financial assets, so they can support themselves while improving their ability to generate an income.
Assets Can Be Offset
Some assets are difficult to split up. A home, for example, isn't something you can divide in half, especially if there is little equity built into it. The courts will often award one major asset to one party, and offset that by awarding all of another asset to the other. For example, if your ex gets the house, you may be granted a larger portion of joint savings accounts or investments.
You Can Decide
One important thing that many divorcing couples fail to realize is that North Carolina courts will almost always accept a mutually agreed-upon division of assets. If you and your soon-to-be-ex can agree on who will get what, your attorney can present it to the courts for approval. Unless there is some serious reason not to, the courts will almost always approve this type of request. While a completely mutual agreement is not always possible, the important thing is to try first because in many cases since it can save a lot of time, money, and aggravation for everyone involved.
We are Here to Help
One side note on how North Carolina divides marital assets is that the judge has a lot of flexibility when making decisions. With this in mind, it is critical to have an attorney who can effectively argue your position to the judge so you can be awarded the assets that are most important to you. Contact us to discuss your situation, and see how we can help you through your divorce and the division of your assets.