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A spouse's own property stays that way in a divorce

Earlier in history, many people may have stuck it out in a bad marriage because they did not want to lose prized possessions in a divorce. This was especially true if the stakes included a family estate or a great amount of treasure that one hoped to pass to one's children. Although some people still think this way, the laws of North Carolina and many other states are far more modern now.

The Tar Heel State does not hold to an idea that all of a person's property is automatically part of a communal pool with a spouse. Instead, courts apply the principle of equitable distribution for all assets that could be considered marital property. This means that their decision will be based on the factors that help show what each spouse deserves out of his or her time, investment or effort towards the asset.

In this way, inheritances and family estates would be considered the property of the spouse who inherited it because that asset came from the family connection. It is called separate property in divorce proceedings. This may be complicated, however, if one spouse made a significant improvement or other type of investment in the property.

Marital property is the term for anything a couple acquired or improved together. Spouses often have to make arguments for who should receive what in this process.

An actual argument, however, is often unnecessary with conflict resolution and other tools that would avoid a visit to court. An attorney can help recommend alternatives that leave everybody satisfied with the results of the divorce.

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