The divorce process can be complicated. Especially when it comes to separating property you have amassed during the marriage. In addition to becoming attached to certain items, it may be overwhelming when it comes time to divide property and assets in half.

Whether you choose to negotiate the terms of your divorce settlement through mediation or you leave the decision in the hands of a court-appointed judge, it is important to know how property division works in North Carolina.

What is equitable division of property?

North Carolina is one of many states in the nation that uses the equitable division of property model when separating property. According to North Carolina state statutes, the judge divides marital property after carefully considering several factors in the case. This includes the following:

  • Length of the marriage
  • Income and occupation of each party
  • Debt held by either party
  • Health and ages of each party

The judge may also look at how each spouse contributed to the others’ career or education, as well as which parent stayed home and took care of the children.

What is marital and separate property?

Not all property is divisible in the divorce decree. Separate property are items that you acquired before getting married. It also includes inheritance money, money obtained from personal injury compensation and gifts you received from a third-party. It is critical that you keep this property and money separate from marital property. For example, if you combine inheritance money in a joint bank account with your spouse, the money becomes marital and it can be divided in the final decree.