Dividing property is often a contentious issue in a North Carolina divorce. You may have accumulated substantial assets during your marriage, including the family home, vehicles, retirement accounts, and investments. You may have also accumulated large amounts of debt that must be divided as well. Divorce can be financially devastating, especially if you lose ownership of major assets or have to pay substantial amounts of debt. Your divorce attorney may recommend consulting a financial advisor based on your individual case since divorce can have a long-lasting effect on your financial future.
North Carolina is an "equitable distribution" state, which means that the court will split all property obtained during the marriage equitably. This does not necessarily mean equally, especially when the spouses have unequal incomes. Equitable distribution protects the financially weaker spouse. Any property obtained before the marriage is considered each spouse's separate property and not subject to an equitable split.
Know Your Finances
You and your attorney will list reasonable demands for your North Carolina divorce. You may not get everything you ask for in the divorce settlement, but your attorney can fight for the assets you really value.
Start by analyzing your finances. If you own real estate, find the property's current market value and the total amount of debt associated with it. Know the amount in all bank and retirement accounts and the value of any investments. Be prepared to present your financial information to your spouse's attorney, including your monthly income and where the money goes each month. Your spouse will present the same information to your attorney.
Keep in mind that some assets affect your cash flow or your tax liability. Your attorney may recommend that you speak with a financial advisor or an accountant to determine if fighting for an asset is in your best interest or if it carries more liabilities than you expect. If you are seeking the family home, you may have to refinance the mortgage into your name only, so be sure that you can afford the monthly payments.
You may be able to negotiate a settlement agreement with your spouse before your divorce goes to trial. This allows both parties to determine how they want the assets split, rather than leaving the decision to the judge.
Alimony and Child Support
You may choose to ask for alimony as part of your North Carolina divorce settlement. The court will consider both spouses' financial needs, their standard of living, and their income earning potential. Your attorney and your financial advisor can help you calculate the amount of alimony you need to maintain your standard of living. North Carolina law requires parents to support their children, so child support is calculated with a formula set by the Conference of Chief District Court Judges.
Hire an Experienced North Carolina Divorce Attorney
An experienced family law attorney can guide you through the emotional divorce process while fighting for the assets you value most. Jerkins Family Law in Raleigh, North Carolina, understands that divorce can be financially devastating without proper representation. If you have been served with divorce papers or if you are ready to file, visit our dedicated Divorce page and contact our office today.