Is Marital Fault a Factor When Making Decisions on Property Division?
In divorce cases, one of the court’s responsibilities is to divide up the couple’s marital assets. This includes all types of property such as cash, securities, retirement funds, real estate, automobiles and more. Under North Carolina law, marital property is to be divided fairly between the spouses. This will not necessarily be an equal split. A common concern for spouses during this process is whether marital fault affects the equitable distribution of property.
There are many types of marital misconduct listed within the relevant North Carolina statute, including::
- Physical or psychological abuse
- Abandonment of the family
- Wasting resources
- Neglecting the children
The Georgia Supreme Court ruled on the issue of marital fault and property division, determining that marital fault is a proper factor in determining the division of marital property only if it is “economic fault,” which affects the value of the estate. Economic fault is misconduct that tends to wrongfully or unnecessarily reduce the couple’s wealth or adversely impacts their financial position.
Wasting significant assets by way of poor financial decisions or gambling would be considered in the property division analysis by the court, as would be using assets to fund an extramarital affair. However, immoral behaviors that have no direct economic impact, such as infidelity or abuse, can play no part in the judge’s decision. This rule only applies to property division. Other aspects of divorce such as alimony and child support are subject to much different legal requirements, and fault plays a larger role.
The Moore Law Office, PLLC, located in Asheville, is a full-service domestic relations firm, and we support our clients throughout the equitable distribution process. Our attorneys and support staff work diligently to secure the best possible outcomes for our clients. If you have a divorce or other family relations matter, feel to contact us or call 828-333-4796 for an initial consultation.