If you’re at the beginning of a divorce, you have some difficult decisions ahead of you. The process of disentangling your lives in divorce can be complicated and emotionally taxing. One of the more complex matters is dividing your assets.

To save yourself time and money, it’s best if you can agree about how you’ll divide the property with your soon-to-be-ex out of court. But if there’s too much animosity and conflict, the court may need to be involved to make a decision on your behalf.

North Carolina is an equitable division property state which means that a judge will consider a number of factors to divide property between the spouses fairly, but not necessarily equally.

Property to be divided

A court will first determine the property that will need to be divided and its valuation. “Marital property” is typically any property acquired during the time of the marriage and will be a part of the decision in what’s divided.

Anything attained outside of the marriage (prior to the marriage or after the date of the legal separation) is called “separate property” and is excluded from a court’s consideration. In addition, gifts or legacies to one spouse and items specifically excluded in a prior written agreement are not considered to be marital property.

Factors to be considered

To reach a fair decision in dividing the property, a court will consider a number of factors including: 

  • Age and health of each spouse.
  • Length of the marriage.
  • Value of the property.
  • The role each spouse played toward acquiring the property.
  • The contribution of one spouse toward the development of the other.
  • Any custodial arrangements for children.
  • Any prior obligation for child support or spousal support.

The court has broad discretion to consider many factors toward making a fair decision and since each case is different, it’s difficult to predict an outcome. Consulting with an attorney for legal advice and direction will help to ensure the best possible outcome.