View Post

How are Trust Funds Treated During Equitable Distribution Proceedings?

In Separation & Divorce, Wealth by Elizabeth Stephenson

Trust funds are a financial mechanism in which money or property are legally owned by a separate entity (a trust), and proceeds are distributed in accordance with the intentions of whoever created the trust. Trusts are one way that families distribute wealth amongst younger generations. If you are the beneficiary of a trust, or your spouse is a beneficiary of a trust, then the following question may interest you greatly: How are trust funds treated during equitable distribution proceedings? Trust Funds are Generally the Separate Property of the Beneficiary Spouse Generally speaking, the answer is that trust funds are considered the separate property of the beneficiary. Under North Carolina’s laws of Equitable Distribution, “separate property” is defined as “all real and personal property acquired by a spouse before marriage or …

View Post

Helpful Tips in Preparing Your Post-Divorce Tax Return

In Separation & Divorce, Wealth by Christopher R. Hicks

When you get divorced, one of the absolute last things you want to think about is your taxes. Nevertheless, you know that you are legally required to file a tax return, and many people rely on a tax refund as additional financial cushion each year. Unfortunately, many Americans have been shocked this year by far lower tax refunds than they are accustomed to. This is due to significant changes in tax laws that have taken effect for 2018 tax returns and moving forward. If you have recently divorced or are going to finalize your divorce this year, there are big changes that you should be aware of for preparing your post-divorce tax return. Alimony Tax Implications Have Changed In the past, one of the more palatable features of paying alimony …

View Post

Preparing Your Equitable Distribution Inventory

In Separation & Divorce, Wealth by Sarah Hink

When a couple ends their marriage, they must undergo the important process of dividing their property before they can move forward into their separate futures. In North Carolina, this process is conducted by equitable distribution, which involves the court dividing the fair market value of all marital property between the spouses. This process can be a legitimate tug-of-war with each spouse operating under a sincere belief that they are entitled to more property than the other. Because there is so much at stake, it is critical to seek the advice of an experienced family law attorney when it comes to equitable distribution. An attorney can help you with taking the necessary steps to preserve your legal rights, to properly classify property, and to use accepted methods to appraise property—all so …

View Post

Thinking About Materialism

In Lifestyle, Wealth by Sarah Hink

In the past few years, Japanese author Marie Kondo has authored numerous worldwide bestselling books, like Spark Joy and Life-Changing Magic: A Journal. These books present Kondo’s multi-step method of tidying up and de-cluttering your space, which have amassed her a huge and loyal fan-base who hang on every word she writes. “KonMari” mania has recently reached dizzying heights in the last month as Netflix has released its first season of “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.” In this show, Kondo travels to American homes, where she helps individuals and families whose lives have become messes due to the unmanageable piles of clothes, books, baseball cards, and Nutcracker statutes that have grown throughout their homes. If you have binge-watched episodes of Kondo’s show like so many others, you may feel inspired …

View Post

Budgeting for Your Children’s College

In Parenting, Wealth by Carly Baker

The dream of many parents is to put their children in a position to succeed—to reach even greater career heights than their parents. The first step toward attaining this goal is for children to obtain a higher education by going to college. Unfortunately, college is expensive. Really expensive, as you have to pay for tuition, textbooks, supplies, clothes, phone plan, housing, utilities, food, and a little spending money. Unsurprisingly, the rate at which college costs have increased has far outpaced the rate at which most parents’ salaries have increased. More than ever, it is crucial to approach your child’s college education with a plan. As the idea is for your child to one day become a self-sufficient adult, this college plan should be part of a coordinated team effort between …

View Post

Frequently Asked Questions: Alimony in North Carolina

In Separation & Divorce, Wealth by Carly Baker

For many couples who divorce, alimony is an important and potentially hard-fought issue. Designed to provide for the maintenance and support of a spouse following the dissolution of a marriage, alimony can be hard to understand because there are so many factors that a court can weigh when deciding the duration and amount of this spousal support. Below are the answers to some frequently asked questions we encounter regarding alimony. How Long Will I Receive Alimony? There are no one-size fits all answers to this question, as judges are afforded broad discretion when it comes to alimony awards. However, many courts will heavily weigh the duration of the marriage in determining whether to award temporary or indefinite alimony to a spouse. The way that many courts consider the duration of …

View Post

Your Divorce Does Not Have to Close Your Small Business

In Separation & Divorce, Wealth by Carly Baker

Small business owners put a lot of themselves into the success of their business. They work incredibly hard, take enormous financial risks, and put aside other aspects of their lives in an effort to realize the American Dream. In essence, it becomes a part of an owner’s identity. Unfortunately, when a small business owner gets a divorce, it puts the business at the mercy of the equitable distribution proceedings. The reason for this is that for legal purposes, sole proprietorships and their owners are one in the same. In other words, when you do your business’s taxes, you do it under your personal tax return. Further, if you are sued, you are personally liable for the liabilities of your business. So if you are getting a divorce, your small business …

View Post

Creating Your Post-Separation Budget

In Separation & Divorce, Wealth by Sarah Hink

One of the often overlooked considerations when it comes to separation is just how expensive it can be. For couples who are already stretching their financial limits, the costs associated with separation and divorce can be eye-opening. Some of these additional costs include moving costs, paying for a second residence and utilities, furnishing that place, postseparation support, child support, and legal fees. Therefore, when spouses separate, it is critical to develop a reasonable budget as a responsible step toward your brighter future. Gather all necessary documentation to determine your post-tax monthly income and your assets. This can include job related income, side income, and additional sources of income such as post-separation or child support. You need to know the starting point of your budget. Determine all of your “fixed” monthly …

View Post

North Carolina Defenses Against Alimony

In Separation & Divorce, Wealth by Sarah Hink

The events that lead to a divorce can sometimes be really unpleasant. The distrust, the accusations, and the misconduct that can end a relationship can unfortunately escalate as couples proceed toward their divorce and try to resolve their legal issues. Some couples are surprised to discover that North Carolina is a no-fault state when it comes to obtaining a divorce. This means that to obtain a divorce from a judge, a spouse only needs to prove that the couple has been separated for at least a year. Alimony is different. In fact, under the alimony laws of North Carolina, if a court “finds that the supporting spouse participated in an act of illicit sexual behavior” “during the marriage and prior to or on the date of separation, then the court …

View Post

Equitable Distribution: The Difference Between “Fair” and “Equal”

In Separation & Divorce, Wealth by Elizabeth Stephenson

When a married couple permanently separates and heads toward a divorce, there are a ton of emotions to unpack and sort through. These emotions are natural and can completely dominate your mental space. However, there are numerous issues that you will eventually need to face head on, including how your marital property is going to be divided. Community Property Versus Equitable Distribution There are numerous “community property” states across this country that consider all property acquired during the course of a marriage to belong equally to both spouses. Thus, this property is considered community property that is split 50-50 when the couple divorces. In fact, a lot of people have a misconception that when you divorce, you will lose (or gain) half of all property. This is not universally true. …