Payne & Associates, PLLC

There is a popular saying that the home is where the heart is. In reality, your home is likely where a lot of your savings are. For most couples in North Carolina, the marital home represents the single biggest purchase and investment of their adult lives. A significant portion, up to 30 percent, of your household income each month goes toward paying your mortgage.

Over the years, you have likely accrued substantial equity in your home, if you have not yet paid it off. When you start considering the end of your marriage, it's typical to worry about what will happen to your interest in the marital home. It's important to understand that there is no definite answer that will apply to your situation, as every divorce and family unit is unique.

You need to understand how North Carolina divides your marital assets

Family law in North Carolina makes it an equitable distribution state. The courts consider a number of factors when determining how to split the assets and debts you acquired in your marriage. The judge will consider how long you were married, the contributions each spouse made to the marriage, the assets you owned prior to marriage and your current income and economic prospects.

Typically, unless dissipation is an issue, marital misconduct does not factor into how the courts split up your assets. In other words, just because your spouse cheated on you does not mean that the courts will allocate possessions to you as compensation for that infidelity.

However, the courts will do their best to divide your assets and debts in a manner that is reasonable and fair to all parties involved. In many cases, the marital home will be one of the assets that ends up divided in the divorce.

There are many different ways that the courts can handle your home

For most couples, the marital home is shared or marital property. Both spouses contributed to its purchase and maintenance and, therefore, each has an interest in the home, even if only one spouse paid the mortgage.

There are some situations in which the home may be separate property. For example, if one spouse owns the house outright prior to marriage, it may remain that person's property in a divorce. Similarly, if the home was an inheritance or a gift from a family member, this may also make it separate property. However, the courts will look at costs to maintain, repair or upgrade the home paid for during the marriage.

In most other cases, the marital home is shared property. The courts may choose to allocate the house to one spouse, while awarding the other a reasonable portion of the equity in the property. Other times, they may order the couple to sell the house and split the proceeds.

There are other ways that the courts may handle the home, but these are the two most common outcomes. Understanding how the courts approach the process can help you make a more informed decision about the strategy in your divorce regarding your home.

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Payne & Associates, PLLC
206 North Spruce Street, Suite 1B
Winston Salem, NC 27101

Phone: 336-283-2937
Fax: 336-217-8784
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