Getting divorced might be fairly simple legally in many cases, but it is never easy emotionally. One party to the marriage might want to keep trying to make it work. There are a million scenarios that can make divorce difficult, even unpleasant. Even when it is clear a marriage is over, there can be regret at the failure of the relationship. Further, a divorce requires that property be divided up between the two spouses. Fortunately, North Carolina divorce law has fairly clear guidelines as to how a marital estate should be divided in divorce. It doesn’t mean disputes can’t or don’t arise, but that probably is attributable more to the relationship between the divorcing spouses than any deficiencies in the law.
Property in A Divorce Typically Falls Into Clear Categories
North Carolina is a no-fault divorce state. The only hard and fast requirements for divorce under North Carolina law are that you be separated for a year before filing for divorce and have lived in the state for six months. Other than that, there is no requirement that there be “grounds” for divorce, such as adultery by one of the spouses. Because there is no fault required to file for divorce, there is no punishment provided related to fault in the division of property. The same formula applies to the division of property in all divorces.
There are three kinds of property in a divorce in North Carolina: marital property, divisible property, and separate property. Marital property and separate property are easy to define. Marital property is all real and personal property acquired during the marriage. This will be divided equally, usually based on net value. Separate property is all property acquired by one spouse or the other before the marriage. If you owned a house before you got married and still own it, and it is not marital property subject to equal distribution.
Divisible property is a little trickier. Divisible property is that acquired by either spouse after separation. It might or might not be split between the spouses, depending upon circumstances. The judge can decide an equal split is not equitable and distribute marital and divisible assets in a manner the judge determines to be “equitable.”
If You’re Getting Divorced, Talk to A Family Law Attorney
If you find you are getting divorced and have questions about property distribution, you should contact the Charlotte family law attorneys of Remington & Dixon. You can reach us online or by phone at (704) 247-7110.
Property Division FAQs
If My Spouse Gave Me an Expensive Gift During Our Marriage, Is It Mine?
Gifts from your spouse are considered marital property unless there is an expressed intention that the gift will not be marital property.
Who Gets My Mother’s China?
If your mother left her china to you before you got married, it’s yours. If she died after you got married, but her will was in place before you got married, it likely is yours then, as well.
I Have Collectibles That Just Got More Valuable. Now What?
If you acquired the collectibles during the marriage, they are marital property, and you will have to split the value with your spouse. If you acquired the collectibles during the marriage, but the items rose in value, you have to share the increase in value.
Jennifer is a founding partner at Remington & Dixon, PLLC. Jennifer concentrates her practice in the areas of family law, wills & estates, unemployment benefits appeals, and traffic. At Elon University School of Law, Jennifer was the vice president of the Public Interest Law Society and a member of the Family Law Society. During law school, Jennifer interned at the Elon University School of Law Field Placement Clinic with Legal Aid of North Carolina where she represented clients in domestic violence court proceedings.