The future probably seems very uncertain when you realize that you will soon divorce. Whether you decided to file or you just signed papers presented to you by a process server because your spouse filed, you may recognize that significant financial upheaval is likely in your future.
A small percentage of couples don’t have to worry about what divorce will involve because they already have a prenuptial agreement that outlines how they will divide their property. Most families do not have such an agreement in place and will either need to settle their property division matters or go to court.
What do the North Carolina courts do when dividing a married couple’s resources in a divorce?
A judge wants the outcome to be fair
The law of the land in North Carolina requires the equitable distribution of your marital assets. The money each of you earned during the marriage, the property you purchased and even the debts that you took on during your marriage will all become part of your marital estate.
Certain assets and debts, such as what each of you owned prior to marriage or inherited, will remain separate property that you don’t have to divide. Even assets in one spouse’s name, like retirement savings, are subject to division in a North Carolina divorce.
How the judge divides the property is nearly impossible to predict, as they have to look at various issues from your health and the length of your marriage to your earning potential in custody Arrangements when deciding what they think would be fair. They can order the division of certain property or even require that you and your spouse sell certain assets and share the money generated from that sale.
Judges will approve mutual settlement agreements
If the uncertainty of having a stranger divide your property makes you second-guess your decision to divorce, there is good news. Couples always have the option of settling matters on their own and proceeding with an uncontested divorce.
You don’t have to rely on a judge and can instead take total control over the terms of your own property division settlement. Even if you initially disagree with one another, negotiating through your attorneys or attending mediation together could help you resolve your disagreements and move forward with a mutually agreeable settlement.
Understanding the basics of how North Carolina addresses property division matters will assist you in the planning stages of your divorce and facilitate more realistic divorce negotiations.