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Property Division

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Raleigh Equitable Distribution Attorneys – Property Division


Property division is one of the largest parts of a divorce case. North Carolina uses a method called equitable distribution to divide marital assets and debts. “Equitable” means “fair,” so an equitable distribution means a fair distribution.

Property is categorized either “marital property” or “separate property”, and property is assumed to be marital property unless proven otherwise. Only marital property is subject to equitable distribution in a divorce. Separate property falls into 3 categories: property owned by one spouse prior to the date of marriage; inherited property; and, property acquired by gift from someone other than one’s spouse. North Carolina law assumes that a fair division of marital property is an equal division between the parties (i.e., a 50/50 split) unless an equal division would not be fair for some reason. There are a number of things a judge considers when deciding what a fair division is (link to FAQ section).

There are several ways people can divide their marital assets and debts. The parties can decide for themselves — without going to court — using a contract called a separation agreement. This contract spells out who gets what, and covers everything from bank accounts to retirement assets to physical property (like furniture). It also covers who is responsible for paying off debts, such as mortgages and credit cards.

If the parties cannot agree on how to divide their property, then a party can file a court action to have a judge decide who gets what. Before a court hearing is held on property division, some courts require people to have a session with a Family Financial Mediator to try to come to an agreement on how to divide their property. Mediation is often much less expensive than going to trial, and people usually find the resulting settlements more satisfying than those made by a judge. Click here for more information on mediation.

Click here for frequently asked questions about property division and equitable distribution.

This website contains general information about common family law and criminal law matters in North Carolina. However, please remember that every criminal, traffic, divorce or family law case is different. Websites are no substitute for genuine legal advice from an attorney and the information here may not apply to your specific case.

The information contained on this site is provided as a public service for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a comprehensive statement of the law. The reader is advised to check for changes to current law and to consult with a qualified attorney on any legal issue before taking action of any kind. The information presented on this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice or to create or imply the formation of a lawyer-client relationship between the reader and this firm.

The information contained on this site is provided as a public service for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a comprehensive statement of the law. The reader is advised to check for changes to current law and to consult with a qualified attorney on any legal issue before taking action of any kind. The information presented on this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice or to create or imply the formation of a lawyer-client relationship between the reader and this firm.

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John McNeil and the attorneys who work with him are absolutely awesome. John has mediated many extremely difficult, complex divorce cases for my clients and me, and every single time, we have reached a settlement. He is very knowledgeable and has the right temperament to persuade and explain things to people while also making them feel heard. His staff are also professional, kind, and efficient. I will continue to use John McNeil as a mediator in my family law cases and highly recommend him!

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McNeil Law Firm, PLLC serves clients in the Triangle area of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill including Apex – Cary – Fuquay-Varina – Garner – Holly Springs – Knightdale – Morrisville – Raleigh – Rolesville – Wake Forest – Wendell – Zebulon and surrounding areas.

The information contained on this site is provided as a public service for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a comprehensive statement of the law. The reader is advised to check for changes to current law and to consult with a qualified attorney on any legal issue before taking action of any kind. The information presented on this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice or to create or imply the formation of a lawyer-client relationship between the reader and this firm.

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