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Property and Debt Division

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Equitable Distribution

During a marriage, spouses generally acquire property, whether it’s a home, cars, bank accounts, a business, IRA’s or stock options. North Carolina law outlines the debt division and distribution of this property.

Video: Equitable Distribution

Once a couple has separated, either party may ask the court for an equitable distribution of marital and divisible property.

Marital Property is defined as real and personal property acquired by either spouse or both spouses during the course of the marriage and before the date of separation of the parties, and presently owned, except property determined to be separate property or divisible property.

Separate property is defined as all real and personal property acquired by a spouse before marriage or acquired by a spouse by bequest, devise, descent or gift during the course of the marriage. However, property acquired by gift from the other spouse during the course of the marriage shall be considered separate property only if such an intention is stated in the conveyance.

Video: How Can I Protect My Business If I Divorce?

Divisible property is defined as: all appreciation and diminution in value of marital and divisible property occurring after the date of separation and prior to the date of distribution, (except that appreciation or diminution in value which is the result of post separation actions or activities of a spouse); all property, property rights, or any portion thereof received after the date of separation but before the date of distribution that was acquired as a result of the effort of either spouse during the marriage and before the date of separation, including but not limited to, commissions, bonuses, and contractual rights; passive income from marital property received after the date of separation, including but not limited to, interest and dividends; and passive increases and passive decreases in marital debt and financing charges and interest related to marital debt.

In North Carolina, the division of property between the parties shall be equal, unless the court determines that an equal division of property is not equitable. The equitable distribution statute lists several specific distributional factors for the court to consider when deciding whether the division should not be equal.

Separation and Property Settlement Agreements

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Who gets the family business in a divorce? Will I continue to co-own it with my spouse? Will I have to buy out his or her interest? How will my business be valued? Will I need to hire an expert? In this episode, host Jaime Davis and her law partner Nicole Taylor discuss the answers to these questions and more concerning what happens to the family business in a divorce.

Podcast: What Happens to the Family Business in a Divorce?
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The content on this page was reviewed by Gailor Hunt Davis Taylor & Gibbs, PLLC partner Cathy Hunt. You can learn more about Cathy's experience and expertise on her bio page. If you have a question about this page, you can email Cathy at