High Point, NC Lawyers Explaining Property Distribution During Divorce
Dividing marital assets can be the most difficult aspect of separating
Divorce can be an ugly process. Although some couples separate amicably, dividing property often results in bitter disputes. It is important for anyone facing divorce to understand how property and marital assets are divided before the divorce proceedings begin.
Scott Law Offices is a law firm in High Point that provides counsel in divorce cases. Our attorneys can explain North Carolina law and help you keep as much of your assets as you can.
What property can be divided during a divorce?
In North Carolina, only property acquired during a marriage is eligible for distribution to a separating spouse. Eligible property acquired during the marriage includes a wide variety of categories under North Carolina law, including:
- Income from work
- Income from 401(k)s and pension plans, including military pensions
- Life insurance proceeds that have cash value
- Savings accounts
- A house or real property
- A business that is founded in one spouse’s name
Unless a couple had a valid agreement to the contrary, the proceeds from any of those sources are considered assets either spouse can claim during a divorce. However, some property is not eligible for distribution during divorce. This includes:
- Gifts acquired during the marriage
- Inheritance acquired during the marriage
In North Carolina, inheritance and gifts to a specific spouse are not pooled with other marital assets even if they were acquired during the marriage. Also, property acquired during a legal separation is not considered part of the marital assets.
How are marital assets divided under North Carolina law?
North Carolina is an “equitable distribution” state. Property acquired during marriage is divided in proportion to what a court considers fair unless a prenuptial agreement states otherwise. The division is usually close to 50/50. Statutes in North Carolina list the factors a court must consider when making a decision regarding how to divide marital assets and allocating a certain percentage of the assets to a spouse. These factors include:
- Income, property and debts of both spouses
- Length of the marriage
- Whether one parent with child custody needs the marital residence
- Whether one party without title contributed to marital property the other acquired
- Tax effects of selling marital property
- Prior marriages for which one party already pays support
- Age and health of both parties
- Whether either party has a right to retirement or pension benefits outside of their marital assets
- Whether either party contributed to the career or education of the other
The court may consider other factors as well as anything it deems to be “just and proper” in making a decision. The broad scope a court can use to divide property requires experienced family law attorneys to fight on your behalf. Scott Law Offices provides seasoned legal counsel to get you the best deal possible.
How can a prenuptial agreement help?
A prenuptial agreement is a contractual arrangement between potential spouses that can allocate how property is to be divided if the marriage ends in divorce. Prenuptial agreements can be highly beneficial and reduce costly litigation. A valid prenup must be in writing and signed by both spouses. It also requires full and fair disclosure of the assets and debts of both parties; neither spouse may conceal their true net worth. The deal must also be reasonable for both parties. Courts may invalidate a prenuptial agreement that is unfair to one spouse, contains language not authorized by North Carolina law or is signed under coercion or duress. Speak with one of our attorneys to find out more about prenups and how they can work for you.
Contact our office for a free initial consultation on how property is divided during a divorce in North Carolina
Filing for divorce in North Carolina means a court must divide a couple’s property if they cannot agree to a division themselves. Someone facing divorce needs a capable family law attorney to protect their property. Scott Law Offices provides family law counsel to High Point, Greensboro and the surrounding communities. Contact our office in downtown High Point at 336-887-8111 or online to schedule a consultation on what to expect during divorce.