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Can your spouse really “take everything” (including the kids)?

On Behalf of | Oct 19, 2023 | Divorce

Divorce represents the end of a specific dream that you had for your future, so it’s never an easy choice, but a lot of people stay married longer than they should because they’re afraid to make a break. This can be especially true if your spouse is inclined to make threats that – should you ever leave – they’ll take everything you have, including the kids. 

Here’s the thing: It’s not up to them. Even if they refuse to negotiate with you on the terms of your divorce and are entirely unreasonable in their approach to the situation, the law has a different point of view.

Equitable distribution rules control what happens to your property

Generally speaking, the vast majority of the property, money and other assets acquired after a marriage begins is considered marital property – not a spouse’s individual possessions. When there’s a divorce, North Carolina requires property and debts to be divided equitably, with an eye toward fairness.

That means that the court can step in and make sure that you receive a fair share of the marital wealth so that you aren’t left in a significantly worse position than your spouse (no matter what they might intend).

The best interests of the children control what happens with custody

Similarly, the court doesn’t really care what your spouse wants, because the prevailing concern is always going to be whatever is in your children’s best interests. 

It’s the state’s policy to encourage both parents to remain in a child’s life and to share in all the rights and responsibilities of raising them to adulthood.

In other words, your spouse can bluster all they want – but you don’t have to let their words control you. If you’re ready to seek a divorce, legal guidance can help you figure out your next move.