When you get married, any assets you collect while you're with your spouse become marital assets. There are a few small exceptions, but on the whole, if you have a shared bank account, a home or other assets, you both have ownership over that property.
North Carolina does not recognize community property, which means that your property will be divided equitably during a divorce. That doesn't mean that each of you will receive 50 percent of your estate. Instead, a number of factors will be considered to determine who receives what.
You can bypass the risk of a court deciding on which assets you receive if you and your spouse can work together to divide your property. Your attorneys can help you negotiate with one another, so you can come up with a separation agreement.
If it's not possible to work together, then the courts can decide for you. In that case, the courts will decide based on factors like the duration of the marriage, the income and liabilities of either party, the needs of a parent with custody of a child and a number of others.
While you may not want to give up certain assets or feel you should refuse to negotiate, you should remember that negotiating helps you in these cases. Usually, working together with your spouse to come up with a separation agreement works in your favor. You can also choose to divide anything you can agree on and allow the courts to determine what happens with what you can't decide on. Our website has more information on what you can do to get your fair share.