Divorce proceedings in North Carolina involve dividing assets. If you bought a house before you got married, you might wonder if this property will be part of the assets to divide in your divorce.
The process of dividing property may feel complicated during a divorce, and it becomes even more complex when premarital assets like a house come into play. Consider how North Carolina law handles this situation.
Marital and separate property
In North Carolina, the law makes a distinction between marital property and separate property. Marital property includes assets and debts that you and your spouse acquired during the marriage. Separate property, on the other hand, includes assets and debts that you or your spouse acquired before the marriage.
Typically, the house you bought before your marriage is your separate property. However, several factors can affect this designation.
The use of the property
How you use the property during your marriage can influence whether it remains separate property. If your spouse contributed to the mortgage payments or other house-related expenses, or if you used marital funds for home improvements, your spouse may have a claim to a portion of the home’s value. This process, known as transmutation, can convert separate property into marital property.
Another scenario where your premarital home could be subject to division is if it became the marital home. If you and your spouse lived there together and treated it as a shared home, a court might consider it marital property, even if you bought it before the marriage.
Property division during a divorce is not straightforward, especially when dealing with premarital assets. In the case of a home purchased before the marriage, whether you must divide it as marital property depends on many factors.