In North Carolina family law cases, many people choose to separate before they move forward with a full divorce. Since property division is such a complex issue and a common topic for disagreement, it is important to know how the separation will affect how property is split.
Because these cases are emotionally and financially wrenching, people should be fully aware of their rights from the start. This is true with property and other aspects of family law. Having assistance from the beginning is a wise strategy.
What is divisible property and how is it valued?
North Carolina law addresses divisible property as part of a divorce. Marital property will be split based on equitable distribution. That means the court will strive to divide it fairly based on the circumstances. That does not necessarily mean it is split in half.
Marital property is that which was accumulated after the couple was married. Separate property was owned by one or the other beforehand. If there is a separation, property that would be divided as part of the divorce settlement will be assessed to see if it rose in value or declined in value from the time the couple separated to the time at which they decided to divorce.
For example, if they had purchased a home together and the real estate values increased in the interim from the separation to divorce, that will be gauged to try and come to a fair resolution. An exception is if one or the other took a post-separation action that resulted in the increase or decrease. Then it will not be divisible.
Divisible property will include commissions, bonuses and contractual rights; passive income from property that was received after the parties separated; dividends and interest; passive increases and decreases in debt that was amassed during the marriage; and interest and financing charges from that debt.
Some couples decide to sign a separation agreement. This can detail how property will be handled in the time from the separation to the divorce and eliminate some of the above provisions. This should be understood from the time the sides choose to separate.
It is useful to have experienced help with the details about property division
People in the middle of a family law case might engage in dispute over a litany of issues. Property division often takes a backseat to child custody, parenting time and alimony, but it is still a big part of a case. When there was a separation, people might be thinking about how property value might have changed and how that will affect what they receive. It is essential to have qualified representation to try and ensure a fair outcome.