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How is property divided in a divorce?

When a couple divorces in North Carolina, the court will make a ruling about how marital property should be divided between the two spouses. In following equitable distribution principles, the court will divide the property equally unless dividing the property equally is not determined to be fair. Some factors that may be considered by the court include the income and liabilities of each spouse and the needs of a parent with children to occupy the marital residence.

Before a court can make a decision about property distribution, it will be necessary to determine what property is marital property and what property is personal property. Any real or personal property that was acquired during the course of a marriage by either spouse is generally considered marital property. Separate property is property that a spouse acquired before the marriage or during the marriage through a gift or inheritance.

Another category of property that the court will have to consider how to divide is 'divisible property." Divisible property is any appreciation in monetary value of marital property that occurred after the date of separation. Passive income that was earned from marital property after the date of separation may also be considered divisible property.

The process of dividing marital property and divisible property after a divorce can involve innumerable different variables. Those whose marriages are breaking up and who are concerned about how property may be divided in their divorce may want to speak with an attorney who has experience in family law matters. The attorney may suggest an attempt at negotiating a property division agreement that would take the decision out of the hands of the court.

Source: North Carolina General Assembly, "ยง 50-20. Distribution by court of marital and divisible property.", October 24, 2014

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