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North Carolina Property Division Factors

In North Carolina, the property and debt issues are typically settled between the parties by a signed Marital Settlement Agreement or the property award is actually order and decreed by the General Court of Justice within the Decree of Divorce.

North Carolina is referred to as an "equitable distribution" state. When the parties are unable to reach a settlement, the General Court of Justice will take the following approach to dividing the assets; First, it will go through a discovery process to classify which property and debt is to be considered marital. Next, it will assign a monetary value on the marital property and debt. Last, it will distribute the marital assets between the two parties in an equitable fashion. Equitable does not mean equal, but rather what is deemed by the General Court of Justice to be fair.

The court shall divide the marital property and divisible property equitably. The court shall consider all of the following factors under this subsection: (A)       The income, property, and liabilities of each party at the time the division of property is to become effective. (B)       Any obligation for support arising out of a prior marriage. (C)       The duration of the marriage and the age and physical and mental health of both parties. (D)       The need of a parent with custody of a child or children of the marriage to occupy or own the marital residence and to use or own its household effects. (E)       The expectation of pension, retirement, or other deferred compensation rights that are not marital property. (F)       Any equitable claim to, interest in, or direct or indirect contribution made to the acquisition of such marital property by the party not having title (G)       Any direct or indirect contribution made by one spouse to help educate or develop the career potential of the other spouse. (H)       Any direct contribution to an increase in value of separate property which occurs during the course of the marriage. (I)       The liquid or nonliquid character of all marital property and divisible property. (J)     The difficulty of evaluating any component asset or any interest in a business, corporation or profession. (K)     The tax consequences to each party. (L)     Any other factor which the court finds to be just and proper. (North Carolina Statutes - Chapter 50 - Sections: 50-20)

Since North Carolina is an "Equitable Distribution" state, all marital property will be divided in an equitable fashion according to the court unless agreed to otherwise by the divorcing spouses. What does "equitable" mean? Equitable can be defined as "what is fair, not necessarily equal." To automatically believe the marital property would be divided 50-50 would be a wrong assumption in any equitable distribution state. You can also read more about North Carolina property division in the North Carolina state statutes located at: http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/.