I am getting a divorce. My ex says that we will have to sell everything and then split the money. Is that right?

No, that is not how it works. In North Carolina, the court is required to make an “in-kind” distribution whenever possible.   That means that the court will try not to order that anything be sold.   The process of dividing your marital property and debts is called “equitable distribution”. It involves a 4-step analysis.

(1) The court has to list, or identify, each asset and debt.

(2) Then the court determines if the asset or debt is part of the marital estate.

(3) Then the court assigns a value to each asset and debt. And finally,

(4) the court gives each asset and debt to one of the parties.


Most of the time, the court tries to give each party one half of the total assets minus the total debts. The court is required to make an “in-kind” distribution whenever possible. That means the court will only order an asset sold if there is no way to divide the marital estate equally without selling the asset. For example, let’s say the ONLY significant asset bought during the marriage is a house. Neither spouse qualifies to refinance the house and buy out the other spouse’s interest. In that situation, then the house must be sold. But, if there are two marital assets, such as a house and a retirement account, the court can distribute the retirement account to one party and the house to the other. If the values are not equal, then the court will order one party to pay a lump sum to the other as needed to equal the values. Usually, there are lots of ways the make the distribution equal when you start adding in the debts, the cars, the furniture, the bank accounts, etc. But you need to talk to a family law attorney as soon as possible. If you ex is threatening to sell everything, you may be able to get a court order to stop the sale. The attorneys at Averett Family law are ready to help you protect your property in a divorce.