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How does property division work in North Carolina?

Property division may be among the most difficult tasks you face during your divorce. Marital property includes all assets and property you accumulated during the marriage. 

In addition to the family home, vehicles, furniture and bank account contents, marital property includes stock options, 401(k) plans, retirement plans and other, less commonly thought of items. 

What is equitable division of property?

North Carolina follows the model of equitable division in which the court divides all marital property depending on what the judge deems fair. To determine this, the judge may consider several factors, such as the following: 

  • Whether one parent has custody of the children 
  • How long the marriage lasted 
  • Mental and physical health of both spouses 
  • Income, expenses and property each spouse has at that time 
  • Whether either spouse has an interest in or co-owns a business 
  • Whether you have a prenuptial agreement 

The judge may also consider if one person helped contribute to furthering the education of the other. For example, perhaps you put your career or education on hold to support your spouse’s education or career. 

What is separate property?

Not all property is marital and subject to division in the divorce settlement. Separate property includes items that you owned prior to the marriage. For instance, if you already owned real estate and it remains solely in your name, it may be exempt as long as your spouse did not contribute to its maintenance or improvement during the marriage. Other separate property includes inheritance money, gifts given to you by a third party and personal injury compensation.