Get Answers To Frequently Asked Questions About Marital Property Division
What does ‘equitable distribution’ mean?
What can an attorney do for me?
What is marital property and how is it different from separate property?
I owned my house before the marriage. Will I be able to keep this property after I divorce?
Will I have to move out of my house to get a divorce?
What financial risks are connected to keeping the family home after divorce?
Do I have to share my retirement accounts with my spouse?
What is a QDRO?
What Does ‘Equitable Distribution’ Mean?
North Carolina is an equitable distribution state, which means marital possessions are divided in a way that is fair. This often means 50-50, but a judge could determine that a different percentage is fair.
Matters can become complex because a range of factors is considered when determining which spouse receives what. Factors that may affect the outcome of property division negotiations include length of marriage, each spouse’s income and each spouse’s contribution to the family’s success, among other aspects. Since each family’s circumstances are different, how property and assets are divided may vary according to the situation.
What Can An Attorney Do For Me?
It is risky to rely on a judge’s order to divide assets and property. Using the court to resolve your dispute removes your control over the outcome and gives that control to the judge. What the judge sees as an equitable or fair distribution may not seem fair to you.
Finding solutions outside the court, through negotiation, can help you retain more control over the process, keep your conflict private and save you money. Working with an attorney can help you navigate this process, inform you of options that may affect the terms of the property division agreement and help negotiate a fair agreement.
What Is Marital Property And How Is It Different From Separate Property?
Marital property refers to assets and debts that you and your spouse acquire during your marriage. If you and your spouse have purchased a house and are both named on the deed, this is marital property. In addition, income you and your spouse earn over the course of your marriage is considered marital property
Possessions that you owned before you married are considered separate property as are inherited assets and gifts.
Determining which property is jointly owned and which is individually owned can become difficult when ownership is not easily defined. A qualified divorce lawyer knows how to analyze assets and property so that your interests are protected throughout this process.
I Owned My House Before The Marriage. Will I Be Able To Keep This Property After I Divorce?
If you did not add your spouse’s name to the deed, changing ownership of the house during the marriage, the house will remain your separate property if you divorce.
During your marriage, if you contributed marital funds to pay your mortgage or remodel your home, your spouse may be entitled to be reimbursed for those contributions.
Will I Have To Move Out Of My House To Get A Divorce?
North Carolina divorce laws require spouses to live in separate residences for a year and a day before they can divorce. If your spouse will not move out of your home, it will be up to you to move. This step is necessary even if you owned your home before you married, making this separate property.
Vacating your home does not mean that you give up your right to the house. The court can still grant you the home in your property settlement.
What Financial Risks Are Connected To Keeping The Family Home After Separation?
You may see your family home as the prize of your property division agreement; however, acquiring this property may negatively affect your finances. Before you take sole ownership, you should consider the financial implications of owning and maintaining a home without two incomes. You may have a sentimental attachment to your family home, but do you have the resources to pay your mortgage, utilities and repair fees?
When you are transitioning to a new stage in your life, your ability to succeed may be hampered by your financial obligations. An experienced attorney can help you determine if fighting over your house is a battle you want to wage.
Do I Have To Share My Retirement Accounts With My Spouse?
If you or your employer made contributions to your retirement plan while you were married, your spouse is entitled to a portion of that money even if the account is in your name only. This is also true for military retirements.
What Is A QDRO?
A QDRO, pronounced “quadro,” is an abbreviation for “qualified domestic relations order.” If you are entitled to receive a portion of your former spouse’s retirement assets, obtaining this court-approved order is one of the first steps you will have to take to access funds. Retirement plan administrators require this decree before they will pay out benefits to individuals who do not own the account.
It is vital to work with an attorney who understands QDROs because plan administrators do not accept the same form. Failing to provide the necessary information may limit the amount of money you receive and delay your payment.