Apart from child custody and support, there is possibly no more divisive issue during a divorce than the fair and equitable distribution of assets and liabilities. North Carolina statutes and case law may be specific about which assets and liabilities are to be divided; however, the difficulty lies in the identification of those assets, their valuation, and the separation of “marital” from “non-marital” assets, as well as constantly changing “divisible property.”
The law firm of Tash & Kurtz, PLLC devotes its entire practice to family law matters in North Carolina. Our principal attorneys are Board Certified Specialists in Family Law and are committed to helping our clients in matters concerning divorce, alimony, postseparation support, child custody, child support, equitable distribution, and separation agreements.
Multiple interpretations of property issues create a gray area that often results in protracted and expensive litigation. At Tash & Kurtz, PLLC, our lawyers can assist in the negotiation of settlement agreements outside of court. These agreements involve the input of both parties and are thus resolved without a trial on these issues. We have found these agreements to be more flexible than those the court might order, and they tend to circumvent future disputes because one party does not feel as though the other party or the court has imposed a settlement upon him or her.
If the parties cannot agree, it may be necessary to seek a court-ordered property distribution, and North Carolina property statutes mandate that the process of “equitable distribution” be applied.
Marital property includes both assets and debts acquired during the marriage by one or both spouses that continue to be owned on the date of separation. It does not include gifts and inheritances that were received by one spouse only from third parties. In equitable distribution cases, the parties are required to provide an inventory of all property for the purpose of calculating the net value of the marital estate. An equal (50/50) division is presumed to be equitable, unless, after considering certain other factors, the court determines that a 50/50 division would not be equitable. Some of the factors the court may consider in deciding whether there is good cause for an unequal division:
- An obligation for support arising out of a prior marriage.
- Need for the custodial parent to reside in the marital residence.
- Duration of the marriage.
- Age and physical/mental health of both parties.
- Income-earning potential of both parties.
- Direct or indirect contribution by one spouse toward the education or career potential of the other spouse.
Marital fault is not considered relevant in equitable distribution cases, unless marital misconduct has had an economic impact on the value of the marital estate. If the division of assets is contested, you should hire an attorney to obtain a temporary injunction to protect your rights and the marital property and divisible property.
A lawyer from Tash & Kurtz, PLLC can also advise clients on the separation and protection of other assets, including business assets and retirement benefits. We are experienced in handling both complex and relatively simple asset division cases, and we will work to create accurate, timely resolutions that are in the best interest of our clients.
At Tash & Kurtz, we keep our client’s interests at heart. Our goal is to create resolutions that can allow for healing, whether through litigation or through more affordable alternatives to litigation. If you need an attorney for an equitable distribution or other family law matter, please contact us.
For more information on Equitable Distribution, please see our Equitable Distribution Frequently Asked Questions.