When you’re thinking about getting divorced or you’re in the process of negotiating a divorce settlement, it’s important to know what to include in your divorce. In North Carolina, anything that you earn or acquire during the marriage is generally subject to distribution. There are a few, limited exceptions for an inheritance received during the marriage that’s kept completely separate. In general, here are the things that get divided during a North Carolina divorce:
Custody and parenting time
A divorce judgment has to answer the question of when each parent assumes care for the minor children. Will they primarily live with one parent, or will they split time equally with both parents? What schedule will the children follow for spending time with each parent? Will there be conditions on either parent’s time with the children? When you get divorced, you have to decide where the minor children spend their time.
Real property like your home
A divorce divides the real property of the parties. Real property is land. It doesn’t matter if a piece of property is only in one person’s name. If you got it during the marriage or if you maintained it with marital funds, it’s a piece of marital property that you need to divide. One spouse might pay the other for their share of equity in the property, or you may need to sell the property and split the proceeds.
Bank accounts and other financial accounts
You need to split your bank accounts, investment accounts, 401k and other financial accounts. Just like real property, even if you keep a financial account in your own name, it’s marital property that you need to divide during a divorce. Even a child’s college fund is marital property, even though the court might agree that it’s best to keep the college funds earmarked for the child.
Vested or unvested pension
When one of the parties earns a pension through their work, it’s divisible as a marital asset. That’s true even if the pension hasn’t vested yet. The part of the pension that a person earns while they’re married is a marital asset. You must work to value the pension and determine a fair division. Although it’s a bit more complicated than dividing other financial accounts, dividing a pension is routine during a North Carolina divorce.
You must divide the personal property that you acquire during the marriage. At the most basic level, the parties can state that each person keeps the property that’s already in their own possession. If you want more detail than that or if you haven’t already divided big-ticket or sentimental items, you can make a list of marital assets and work to divide them.
Just like you divide assets, you also need to divide debts. If your home has a mortgage, you must take that into account. If either party has credit card debt or student loans that they acquired during the marriage, these items are marital property and subject to distribution. Debts are divisible during a divorce just like assets. An experienced North Carolina divorce attorney can work with you to determine how to divide assets and debts fairly under the law.