Dividing marital property in a divorce may be one of the most difficult tasks. While some couples may choose to negotiate division of property through mediation, others leave the final decision to a traditional courtroom judge. It is essential for both parties to disclose all marital property during the case to ensure proper division.
North Carolina uses an equitable division of property method when separating property and assets accumulated during the marriage. This means that the judge divides property and assets according to what he or she deems fair and equitable. The judge may use several factors to determine who gets what in the final settlement.
Marital property involves more than simply the family home, vehicle and furniture. There are several items that people may overlook when it comes to separating property. These include the following:
- Expensive collections, such as classic cars, antiques, rare coins, art and vintage wine
- Loyalty reward points and travel miles
- Lottery ticket winnings and income tax refunds
- Term life insurance policies, 401k plans, retirement plans, stocks and money market accounts
- Golf course and country club memberships
- Intellectual property, such as copyrights, trademarks and patents
In addition, the court can divide any gifts couples exchanged with one another during the marriage. If one spouse loaned money to a third-party during the marriage, that money is also considered marital and may become divided, even if it is repaid after the divorce. Pets, photographs, keepsakes, cemetery plots and memorabilia are just a few other items that are divisible in a divorce. It is important for couples to keep in mind that not all property is marital and divisible in the decree.