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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 …

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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 …

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Frequently Asked Questions: Equitable Distribution

In Separation & Divorce by Elizabeth Stephenson

When it comes to the end of a marriage, couples have to find a resolution about their children and their money. Naturally, these issues can be sources of incredible tension and conflict. If you are considering a divorce, then it is of great importance that you take an informed, smart approach before agreeing to anything. Otherwise, you may be leaving a considerable amount of money on the table or waiving important legal rights. Therefore, we recommend that you contact an attorney and review some of our most frequently asked questions. What Property Will I Get When I Divorce?  The answer essentially depends on when the property was acquired. If it was acquired or earned prior to your date of marriage, then you will likely take it with you when your …

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Forensic Accounting and Divorce Proceedings

In Separation & Divorce by Elizabeth Stephenson

Even in the most amicable of separations, dividing property when a marriage ends can be a complex and intense process. In North Carolina, family courts are tasked with making an equitable distribution of marital property between spouses when a marriage dissolves. This involves classifying property as marital or separate property, determining the market value of the marital property, then dividing the marital property in accordance with numerous factors relating to each spouse’s situation, their contributions to the marriage, and fairness. For couples with a large amount of marital property, including real estate, investments, retirement accounts, deferred compensation, stock options, and/or business interests, identifying and determining the value of such property is no small task. Further, the stakes are very high as the property represents both spouses’ hard work and their …

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Top Five Reasons to Consult with a Family Law Attorney

In Child Custody, Separation & Divorce by Elizabeth Stephenson

We are often asked if you are required to have an attorney when going through a divorce. The simple answer—no. However, there are several reasons that having a family law attorney is very beneficial. Consider these top five reasons to consult with a family law attorney if you are considering a separation or currently going through a divorce: You may fail to preserve your legal rights on your own. Legal proceedings regarding property, spousal support, child support, and custody are governed by rules of procedure, the rules of evidence, local court rules, and the North Carolina General Statutes. There are strict deadlines and pleading requirements when it comes to these issues. Failure to meet critical deadlines, or filing improper pleadings can irreparably damage your ability to obtain legal relief that …

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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 …

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A Car or Truck and Your Divorce

In Separation & Divorce by Carly Baker

When you separate, one of the issues that you have to resolve is how property is divided. This is a big deal because there can be a lot of property to sort out, and the outcome has big implications for your financial future. Further, tensions between the separating couple can make this task difficult, which can turn property claims into turf wars. A vehicle, like a car, truck, or motorcycle, is a valuable piece of property that can be a focal point when it comes to equitable distribution proceedings. This makes it a topic of great interest. There are several questions that must be answered in determining what should happen with it. These include: Is the Vehicle Marital Property? North Carolina is an equitable distribution state, which means that courts …

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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. …

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How a Mortgage May Be Addressed When You Separate

In Separation & Divorce by Elizabeth Stephenson

Besides your retirement accounts, your marital home is likely the most valuable piece of property you own. You’ve likely invested a massive share of your savings and income to build equity in this important investment. When couples separate and divorce, this home becomes one of the big issues in settling the division of marital property. One of the important details, however, when figuring out how the home will be divided is what happens to the mortgage? That’s right. While a house is a giant asset, your home mortgage is one of your biggest monthly expenses. Therefore, it is important to understand the options available to address the mortgage in an equitable distribution proceeding. One Spouse Gets the Home A common scenario is for parties to agree, or for a court …

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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 …