As married couples advance through life together, they often acquire property and assets. When it comes time to divorce, these items must be divided in a process called “equitable distribution.” This can be a highly complex process, as there are many factors to consider to ensure that the distribution is fair to both parties. With a highly vested stake in the distribution of the couple’s most prized possessions, both parties want to ensure that their attorney is well-versed in North Carolina’s equitable distribution laws.
At Parsons Law, PA, our family law firm understands how critical it is to our clients to divide their property and assets fairly in a divorce. It’s an emotional time that would only be made worse by an unjust outcome. We hone in on the details of each client’s unique situation to create a personalized legal strategy that sets clients up for success. Our team of knowledgeable property distribution lawyers in Asheville, NC has the experience and compassion to help you through this tough time.
To understand how property will be divided during a divorce, it is important first to understand the state’s laws on equitable distribution. North Carolina is classified as an “equitable distribution” state, which means that the court will divide the couple’s property fairly and equally, taking into consideration various factors. The court does not necessarily split the property 50/50, as it would in a “community property” state.
Some common factors that the court will consider in an equitable distribution case include:
To determine what an equitable distribution would be, the court will first classify the property as either “marital” or “separate.” Marital property is anything acquired during the tenure of marriage, regardless of which spouse owns the title to the property. Separate property is anything acquired before the marriage or was acquired by gift or inheritance during the marriage.
The court will then value the marital property and determine how to distribute it between the two spouses fairly and equitably. The court does have broad discretion when it comes to distributing the couple’s property, so having an attorney by your side can help protect your rights and interests.
Common items that are subject to equitable distribution in North Carolina include:
Sometimes the court may also consider distributing “non-marital” property, which is property that would typically be considered separate property. For example, this can happen if the court finds that there was a “commingling” of the couple’s property, or if the property has increased in value due to the efforts of either spouse.
If you are going through a divorce, there are a few things that you can do to help protect your property rights:
A: Generally, inheritance is considered to be separate property. However, if the inheritance is commingled with the couple’s other assets, it may be subject to equitable distribution. This is in instances where, for example, the inheritance is used to purchase a home or other property that is jointly owned by the couple.
A: No, North Carolina is not a 50/50 state. Rather than dividing property evenly between the two spouses, the court will distribute the property fairly and equitably considering when the property was acquired and the needs of each spouse.
A: In order to get a legal separation in North Carolina, you must file a complaint with the court. The complaint must state that there are “irreconcilable differences” between the two spouses and that there is no hope of reconciling the marriage. Once the complaint is officially filed, the court will issue a separation order that will be binding on both spouses.
A: Yes, North Carolina is a no-fault divorce state. This means you don’t need to blame either spouse for the cause of the divorce. Rather, you simply need to submit that the marriage is “irretrievably broken” and that there is no hope of reconciling the marriage.
If you are considering divorce or have already been served with divorce papers, seek legal help today. The attorneys at Parsons Law, PA have represented clients in all aspects of divorce, including property division. We can help you to understand your rights and obligations under North Carolina law and can protect your interests during the divorce process. Choosing the right attorney is extremely important and we will tenaciously fight for your rights. Contact us today so we can set up a consultation to discuss your family law case.
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