During a divorce, spouses must divide their marital property, or shared property. Often the court makes the decision of who gets what. However, not all property is shared between the spouses. Separate, or non-marital, property belongs to one spouse only and is not subject to division. In general, property acquired before the marriage is separate property, while property acquired during the marriage is usually considered marital property.
Exceptions to Equitable Distribution
Because the court has no authority over non-marital property, it must decide what property is marital and what property is separate. Courts will generally presume all property is marital, and thus subject to division between the two spouses, with the following exceptions:
- Property obtained before the marriage
- Property obtained through a gift or an inheritance
- Property that was obtained during the marriage through the exchange of pre-marital property or the exchange of a gift or inheritance
- Property that has been excluded from division based on a valid agreement between the two spouses
- Property obtained by one spouse after a legal separation
Once a court decides that property is marital property, it must determine how to distribute this property equitably, not necessarily equally, between the two parties.
If you are considering a divorce, you need an experienced Raleigh divorce attorney to guide you through the process and help you reach a fair and reasonable agreement regarding the division of your property. Contact the Law Offices of Marshall & Taylor PLLC at (919) 833-1040 today to speak with a lawyer.