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Raleigh, NC 27612
This area of family law is the division of marital assets and debts, and can be very complicated and time-consuming, especially with long-term marriages or if businesses are involved. Our firm is experienced in complex financial issues of divorce and work with business appraisers and financial advisors to help our clients obtain the best outcome possible.
The first step is to identify the assets and debts. The court only has authority to distribute marital assets and debts, and sometimes one of the parties will have separate assets and/or debt. The next step is to value the marital assets and debts. Typically, the date of separation value or balance is used. The third step is to distribute the assets and debts to the parties. The Court favors an in-kind distribution, meaning that each party should receive roughly the same amount of each kind of asset (i.e., cash, retirement, equity in property, etc.). Sometimes this cannot be achieved, however, and one spouse will pay the other a distributive award to equalize the division. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways, including pulling equity out of real property or transfer of retirement assets.
In North Carolina, an equal division, or a 50/50 split, is presumed to be equitable, but there are a list of factors that can merit an unequal distribution, including the following: the income, property, and liabilities of each party at the time the division of property is to become effective; any obligation for support arising out of a prior marriage; the duration of the marriage and the age and physical and mental health of both parties; the need of a parent with custody of a child or children of the marriage to occupy or own the marital residence and to use or own its household contents; the expectation of pension, retirement, or other deferred compensation rights that are not marital property; any equitable claim to, interest in, or direct or indirect contribution made to the acquisition of such marital property by the party not having title, including joint efforts or expenditures and contributions and services, or lack thereof, as a spouse, parent, wage earner or homemaker; any direct or indirect contribution made by one spouse to help educate or develop the career potential of the other spouse; any direct contribution to an increase in value of separate property which occurs duringt the course of the marriage; the liquid or nonliquid character of all marital property and divisible property; the difficulty of evaluating any component asset or any interest in a business, corporation or profession, and the economic desirability of retaining such asset or interest, intact and free from any claim or interference by the other party; the tax consequences to each party, including those federal and State tax consequences that would have been incurred if the marital and divisible property had been sold or liquidated on the date of valuation; the facts of either party to maintain, preserve, develop, or expand, or to waste, neglect, devalue or convert the marital property or divisible property or both during the period after separation of the parties and before the time of distribution; any other factor which the court finds to be just and proper.