Part of the divorce process is dividing your assets between you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse. You may worry about this asset division and what you will lose in the deal. The good news is that North Carolina law seeks to equitably distribute your marital assets so that the division is fair to both parties. Even with this news, you may still worry about what will happen to your car.
The process for dividing marital assets between opposing parties in North Carolina is called equitable distribution. Learning more about what qualifies as marital assets and the process can help you make informed decisions about your divorce asset division. However, it is important to keep in mind that talking to a knowledgeable attorney right from the start may help you get the best possible outcome.
Marital vs. separate property
Before determining who is entitled to what, the Court must first determine whether the asset is marital or separate. Typically, assets that are acquired before the date of marriage or after the date of separation are considered separate property, but there are some exceptions to this rule; while anything acquired during the marriage is marital property. The family law judge will only consider marital property when deciding how to split the assets. You and your former spouse, in all likelihood, will be able to keep your separate property, which you purchased before the marriage or after the date of separation.
In summary, if you owned your car before the marriage, then it is considered separate property. However, if you bought it during the marriage, it is likely marital property, regardless of whose name is on the title.
A few notable exceptions
There is a notable exception to the rules when it comes to potentially expensive assets like vehicles. If your marital property increased in value during your marriage, then the court can consider the increase in value as marital property and factor it into the equitable distribution. This increase in value is important because if your car is a classic that you restored or a rare vehicle, it may now be worth more than when you bought it. On the other hand, if you purchased a standard car before getting married, such as a 2014 Hyundai Accent, it will lose value every year. This loss of value means that you will not have to worry about it falling under the marital property category.
Another exception is if the car was inherited or given to you in a will. In that event, the car would be separate property.
Do not wait to get help
The rules about marital property division are not always straightforward, and there may be other exceptions depending on your unique situation. Additionally, an equitable division of assets does not always mean a 50/50 split.
Because of these extenuating circumstances, it is important that you contact a lawyer as soon as possible. The experienced family law attorneys at Frasier & Griffin, PLLC, can help you work out a fair split of marital property and guide you through your divorce. Call the firm now at 919-680-4039.