The Spagnola Law FIrm in Greensboro, North Carolina, represents clients throughout the Piedmont Triad area, also including Gibsonville, High Point, Jamestown, Oak Ridge, Pleasant Garden, Sedalia, Winston-Salem, Asheboro, Liberty, Whitsett, Kernersville, Reidsville, Eden and Randleman in Guilford County, Rockingham County, Randolph County and Alamance County.
Q. How is property divided in North Carolina?A. The process of dividing your marital property through the court system is known as "equitable distribution." Under this system, property is classified as either "separate," "marital," or "divisible."Separate property is property either spouse had prior to the marriage or after the date of separation, and that they did not convey to the other spouse in whole or in part during the marriage. Separate property cannot be divided, because only one party owns the property.Marital property is property acquired by either spouse during marriage and prior to separation. All property acquired during the marriage is presumed to be marital property, but this presumption can be overcome with evidence. It does not matter if the property is listed only in one party's name; it is still presumed marital if it was acquired during the marriage. There are some exceptions to this rule, such as inheritances received during the marriage which are the separate property of the person receiving them.Most debts acquired during the marriage are presumed to be marital, and thus can be divided between the parties.Divisible property is property that is derived from marital property that changes in value after the date of separation. This usually involves property such as stocks that increase or decrease in value after the date of separation. This change in value can be divided by the court even though it occurred after the separation.Q. What is the process for property division?A. There are local rules and statutes that govern the process for division of property. Even if you are trying to resolve these issues with a separation agreement, your attorney will have to gather the same information to properly classify and value property in order to determine what an equitable distribution might be. There are forms that the court and attorneys use to summarize this information and to clarify disagreements.If you are going through the court process, mediation is mandatory. In mediation, the parties will select a mediator and each party will pay half the cost of the mediator. The goal is to resolve the case without the need for a hearing in court.In many cases, the division of property can be a lengthy and expensive process so you need to be aware of this upfront.Also, a court is NOT required to divide property equally if a party presents evidence that an equal division would not be fair or equitable due to other factors.Q. What is considered property?A. Property includes real estate, household items, vehicles, stocks, retirement plans, cash on hand, interests in business, livestock, and essentially all tangible and intangible property acquired by either spouse during the marriage and before the date of separation.Q. Who can file for property division?A. Only married persons are eligible to file an action for equitable distribution.
Frequently Asked Questions About Property Division In North Carolina