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Understanding How Property Division Works in North Carolina

In its simplest form, each spouse usually brings some form of property and/or debt into the marriage relationship. As the marriage continues, more property and debt naturally accrue.

The division of property in North Carolina is legally termed “equitable distribution,” as the court presumes the best outcome for each spouse is the equal division of all assets and debt. However, this presumption of equal division can be rebutted and is often the case.

The court identifies property as either separate or marital, based on whether the property was brought into or acquired during the marriage. At first blush, this seems a simple concept until parties consider such assets as retirement plans or inheritances, or such debts as joint credit cards and mortgages.

Once the property is identified, the court then assigns a value to the property based upon fair market value derived from such methods as experts and appraisals. The entire process can be overwhelming when many different assets and debts are involved.

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