Divorce can have a devastating effect on your wealth. To ensure that you come out of your divorce with your finances as intact as possible, it’s important to talk to an experienced attorney who understands tax and financial planning.
Divorce Attorney Serving Monroe, Matthews and Pineville
At Kennedy Law Associates in Charlotte, North Carolina, our lawyers are here to help you navigate the marital property division process. Attorney Marsha Kennedy has a background in financial planning services, and understands issues such as retirement plan division and taxation.
What Is Marital Property?
“Marital property” means all real and personal property acquired by either spouse or both spouses during the course of the marriage and before the date of the separation of the parties, and presently owned, except property determined to be separate property or divisible property. Marital property includes all vested and non-vested pension, retirement and other deferred compensation rights, and vested and non-vested military pensions eligible under the federal Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act. It is presumed that all property acquired after the date of marriage and before the date of separation is marital property except property which is separate property. This presumption may be rebutted by the greater weight of the evidence. N.C.G.S. § 50-20.
“Separate property” means all real and personal property acquired by a spouse before marriage or acquired by a spouse by bequest, devise, descent or gift during the course of the marriage. N.C.G.S. § 50-20.
Debts accumulated during the marriage are considered marital property, though there may be some gray areas. A debt incurred for selfish reasons may be considered a separate debt even if it was incurred during the marriage. If a debt is caused by the marriage, it may be considered marital debt even if it was incurred during separation.
Certain assets, such as retirement benefits and real estate, may include a mix of separate and marital property. Retirement benefits accrued prior to the marriage are considered separate property, and benefits accrued during the marriage are considered marital property.
How Is Marital Property Divided in North Carolina?
Marital assets and debts in North Carolina are divided according to the law of equitable distribution. “Equitable” is presumed to be 50-50, but the court could decide that a different division is fair in your case, based on factors such as:
- The monetary and non-monetary contributions of each party
- The earnings potential of each party
- The amount of separate property each party has
There are 20 factors a judge can consider when deciding whether to give one person a bigger share of marital assets or debts. Our Charlotte divorce lawyers will review this list with you and determine which may apply in your case.