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Valuing Property for Equitable Division

In Separation & Divorce by Sarah Hink

Property division is one of the most frequently disputed issues when couples divorce. The reasons are obvious. First, both members of any marriage contribute to the marital relationship, household, and family, and each is therefore entitled to his or her fair share of accumulated property. Second, property division helps each person to attain some sense of financial stability at a time of great personal upheaval. North Carolina is an equitable distribution state. This means that unless there is a pre-nuptial agreement or other agreement in place, courts in this state are permitted to take all marital property that a couple has accumulated between the time of their marriage and separation and to equitably divide and distribute that property between the couple in accordance with numerous statutory factors. Marital and Divisible …

Understanding “Divisible Property”

In Separation & Divorce by Elizabeth Stephenson

North Carolina is an equitable division state. This means that when a couple separates and divorces, all of a couple’s property is identified and classified as either marital property or separate property. Then the court considers the net value of just the marital property and determines an equitable division of the marital estate. While there are some exceptions, marital property is generally all property that is earned or obtained between the date of marriage and the date of separation. The date of separation is critical when it comes to property division because it creates a cut off point for what property is considered part of the marriage, and it also provides the date at which the fair market value of marital property should be estimated. There are a couple of …

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Fighting Over the Marital Home

In Separation & Divorce by Elizabeth Stephenson

Separations and divorces are a time of emotional and physical upheaval. A big part of that uncertainty is where everyone is going to live. To complicate things further, the marital home is often the most valuable asset that a couple owns. This can make the matter of the marital home a hotly contested issue when a marriage ends. There are several ways that the marital can home might be addressed when a couple separates. Separate Property. When a couple divorces, their marital property becomes subject to an equitable division. However, their separate property is not subject to this division. This includes property that a spouse earned or acquired prior to the marriage. So if the home a couple live in is one spouse’s separate property, it will stay with that …

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What is in a Divorce Decree?

In Separation & Divorce by Elizabeth Stephenson

Are you in the process of a divorce? Are you attempting to represent yourself? We would highly suggest that you reconsider. The reason we say this is that divorces can be incredibly intense and complex proceedings, especially when there is property that needs to be divided or when children are involved. And significantly, there are highly specific legal requirements of pleadings and orders that the parties in a divorce must adhere to for the divorce to be valid and legally enforceable. One of these orders is the final divorce decree. Contents of a Divorce Decree A divorce decree is the final order that a judge signs and enters, which grants a couple’s divorce. This order can result from an agreement of the parties or following a trial in which the …

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Are Unvested Pension Benefits Subject to Division?

In Separation & Divorce by Sarah Hink

In North Carolina, marital property is all property acquired during the course of the marriage, which is subject to an equitable division when a couple gets divorced. Separate property is everything that a spouse acquired prior to the marriage, or individually inherited or received as a gift during the marriage. Separate property is not subject to division during a divorce. Family law attorneys often receive questions regarding pension benefits, and how they are classified for purposes of a divorce. A Pension is a Marital Asset In North Carolina, a pension plan is classified as marital property, regardless of whether it has vested at the time of the separation. The reason for this is that the spouse with the pension made the pension contributions during the course of the marriage. An …

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Sell or Keep the Marital Estate?

In Separation & Divorce by Sarah Hink

One of the most significant, if not THE most significant marital asset for many couples is the family home. After all, when families buy houses, they put down as much money as they can up front, spend years making significant mortgage payments, and make improvements on the home over time. Unfortunately when it comes to divorce, the family home can become a source of incredible tension. This is not only because of the dollar value of the property, but because so many family memories and experiences occurred there. In fact, it may be the only home your children have ever known! So the question upon divorce becomes: Should you sell or keep the family home? Is the House Marital Property or Separate Property? In North Carolina, marital property is equitably …

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How is Property Divided in a Divorce?

In Separation & Divorce by Sarah Hink

Divorce is a time of incredible anxiety because of the great uncertainty that comes with this major life change. Of the many important questions that must be answered, one of them is this: am I going to leave this process with financial stability? This is a complex question, in which you should speak with a lawyer to advise you based on the details of your specific circumstances. However, we hope the following information can provide you some guidance before your initial consultation. Equitable Distribution of the Marital Estate In North Carolina, “marital property” is generally considered any property that is acquired during the course of a marriage. This includes real estate, personal property, retirement savings and pension funds that have been built during the marriage. In contrast, “separate property” is …