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. …

View Post

Working and Divorce

In Separation & Divorce, Wealth by Sarah Hink

Everyone wants it all: love, a happy family, children, a sense of greater purpose, community, career success, and wealth. In reality, a lot of people discover that for them, the concept of a work-life balance to be a complete sham. Even the most organized and “put-together” people have trouble meeting their own expectations when it comes to the demands of marriage, children, and career. It becomes even harder to find any sort of satisfactory balance when you are experiencing a separation and divorce. It is, however, possible to take steps to adjust and survive with your career intact. Know your limits. First, it is important to acknowledge that you are in a traumatic process and that you are not at your best. This means that you have permission to do …

View Post

Alimony and Social Media

In Separation & Divorce, Wealth by Carly Baker

The social media era has veered us into a brave new world of over-sharing our lives. With Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter at our fingertips, it is so easy to instantaneously transmit our words, photos, and videos to everyone we’ve ever known. Unfortunately, this access has also led to countless careers and lives ruined. Just look at James Gunn, the Guardians of the Galaxy director whose years-old vulgar Tweets cost him his job, or at swimmer Ryan Lochte, whose swimming career has possibly ended due to an Instagram he posted while receiving a prohibited IV treatment. The risks that are associated with social media also come into play when it comes to resolving the end of a marriage. North Carolina Divorces are No-Fault When couples divorce in North Carolina, they …

View Post

Consequences of Hiding Assets

In Separation & Divorce, Wealth by Sarah Hink

Nobody is at his or her best at the end of a marriage. Honestly, how can anyone be? The once promising, long-term commitment has become unsustainable and painful. Too often, people make a bad situation worse by behaving badly in order to “win” or punish their spouse. One form of bad behavior is hiding assets during equitable distribution proceedings. North Carolina divides marital property through equitable distribution. In an equitable distribution proceeding, each spouse produces an inventory of all property that he or she classifies as “marital” property. This is property—excluding certain gifts and inheritances—that was acquired by either spouse during the course of the marriage. The court takes the total market value of all marital property and divides it in an “equitable” manner based on numerous factors. Of course, …

View Post

Protecting Your Property When You Remarry

In Separation & Divorce, Wealth by Carly Baker

If you have been divorced and plan to remarry, it is natural to want to proceed with caution. This statement holds special weight if you have been previously burned by the property division or alimony elements of a divorce. Fortunately, there are smart steps that you can take to protect yourself from repeating that history, which can give you the confidence to take the fantastic leap of getting married again. North Carolina is an Equitable Distribution State North Carolina is an “equitable distribution” state, meaning that a court will add the total market value of a couple’s marital property and distribute it between the spouses in accordance with specific statutory factors. Significantly, separate property—which is generally property that a spouse owns prior to the marriage—is not subject to this distribution. …

View Post

True or False: My Wife Can’t Touch My Retirement

In Separation & Divorce, Wealth by Elizabeth Stephenson

Divorce is the worst. It really is a shock to the system in a lot of ways. There is an enormous emotional toll that accompanies the end of your valued relationship. If you are a father and your family’s breadwinner, there is the uncertainty of what will happen with your children, whether you have the strength to guide them through this experience, and the prospect of seeing them a lot less than you ever have before. Further, there is a financial toll. If you have traditionally been the primary source of income for your home, then you understand that you are about to spend a lot of money on attorneys fees, will have to split marital assets in half, and will likely have to pay alimony and child support. With …

View Post

Restoring Your Credit After a Messy Divorce

In Separation & Divorce, Wealth by Elizabeth Stephenson

There is often a correlation between financial struggles and marital struggles. When a couple goes into debt, problems seem to escalate. The pressure of having no money, of making bad financial decision, of having to sell property, and of harassing creditor calls can make any small argument somehow become explosive. The day-to-day pressure can ultimately end a marriage. When the dust of a divorce clears, and equitable distribution proceedings have been completed, you may find yourself with a poor credit score. This can be attributed to several factors: You were already financially struggling prior to your separation. Due to poor choices with money and excessive borrowing, you and/or your spouse were already overwhelmed with debt. Divorce proceedings do not fix or alleviate financial problems. Separation and divorce can be costly, …

View Post

The Intersection of Bankruptcy and Divorce

In Separation & Divorce, Wealth by Sarah Hink

Financial struggles and marital problems often go together. Relentless harassment from creditors, the inability to make ends meet, maxed out credit cards, and selling personal property just to pay off interest penalties can be a very real source of turmoil in a relationship. Regardless of whether either spouse is actually to blame, the stress and anger of the situation can easily become a catalyst to arguments and general unhappiness that can break the relationship. If you and your spouse are considering a divorce and have overwhelming debt, it is important to speak with an attorney about the implications of bankruptcy on your divorce. Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Chapter 7 bankruptcy is among the most popular forms of debt relief. Essentially, a qualifying debtor who cannot repay her or his debts relinquishes …

View Post

Prenuptial Agreements Protect Both Partners

In Separation & Divorce, Wealth by Elizabeth Stephenson

Whenever celebrities or powerful public figures announce a divorce, people flock to TMZ or other gossip sites to see if there was a prenuptial agreement (or prenup). The general idea behind this fascination is that without a prenuptial agreement, all of the marital property earned and acquired during a marriage is subject to getting spilt in half between the parties. So, when a super-wealthy pop singer marries, then divorces her backup dancer husband without a prenup, the headline becomes: pop singer loses half her fortune in divorce. Unfortunately, these headlines are misleading as they ignore the fundamental idea behind marital property—that both spouses make a balanced contribution to the marriage, household, and children. In addition, they create a one-dimensional picture of what prenuptial agreements are actually used for in practice. …