Divorce is a complex legal process that requires addressing many variables. One of the most important issues you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse must address is division of your marital property. Property division in divorce involves several stages. It is easy to feel daunted by the procedural steps you will need to complete to resolve this aspect of your divorce. However, you can streamline your property division proceedings when you have reliable legal counsel on your side.
The Law Offices of Aimee E. Cain offer comprehensive legal representation for clients in Concord, NC facing divorce proceedings. If you need a Concord property division attorney to assist you with your divorce, we can help. Our firm has extensive experience handling very difficult divorce cases, including complicated property division proceedings. We understand that you likely have several concerns regarding your property and financial future after a divorce. We can provide the guidance and support you will need throughout your case.
North Carolina is one of many US states that uses an equitable distribution standard to resolve property division in divorce. This means that when a judge settles property division for a divorcing couple, the judge will seek the fairest possible division of marital assets and responsibility for debts. This does not mean the resolution will be entirely equal. It’s easy to feel frustrated and confused by the various legal considerations you must make during property division proceedings. This is where a Concord property division lawyer can prove to be an invaluable asset.
Your attorney can help you complete the various stages of the property division process with confidence. They can answer any financial questions you may have during your divorce proceedings and even coordinate outside assistance from financial advisors, tax experts, and other resources if necessary. The Law Offices of Aimee E. Cain strive to provide client-focused legal counsel in every case we accept. You can expect Attorney Cain and her team to take time to get to know you. We will carefully review the details of your situation to provide entirely personalized legal counsel through all phases of your case.
There are several ways to approach property division in divorce. Many couples attempt to avoid the stress and expense of divorce litigation by pursuing alternative dispute resolution. Private divorce mediation or arbitration can allow the divorcing spouses to have more influence over the outcome of their case. When a couple litigates divorce, the final determinations are entirely in the hands of the judge. This can feel very disempowering, and the results may not suit your or your spouse’s preferences.
When a judge determines property division under North Carolina’s equitable distribution law, they will assess multiple factors to arrive at what they believe to be the fairest and most reasonable division of marital assets. They will look at each spouse’s income, preexisting financial obligations, and the contributions they both made toward the marriage. They will also evaluate each spouse’s child custody rights, child support obligations, and job qualifications.
Next, the judge must evaluate both spouses’ respective separate property and their shared marital property. North Carolina law allows divorcing spouses to keep their separate property, but all marital property is subject to division under the equitable distribution standard. Separate property typically includes anything a spouse owned before they were married, inheritance, and gifts. This includes gifts from their spouse as well as anything provided by them in a “donatory” capacity.
In some cases, separate property may convert to marital property in certain situations. For example, you may have owned a business before you were married that was entirely in your name. After marriage, you listed your spouse as a co-owner, and they helped you run the business. This would likely qualify your business as marital property, even though you owned it before you were married.
If you prefer to maintain more control over the outcome of property division in your divorce, it’s important to understand how alternative dispute resolution works. Both mediation and arbitration can potentially allow you and your spouse to reach more personalized terms than you would obtain through litigation. The only prerequisite for alternative dispute resolution is that both you and your spouse must agree to this method of resolving your divorce.
When divorcing spouses arbitrate or mediate their divorce, they have more control over property division. Both spouses must still provide complete and accurate financial records to review. Both of them need to be as detailed as possible in their financial disclosure statements. Once the couple negotiates their property division terms, arbitration can deliver a legally binding settlement. Mediation would require the couple to present their mediated settlement to a family court judge for final approval. “Equitable” is relatively open to interpretation, so the couple could negotiate a property division settlement that may not exactly reflect what a family court judge would determine. However, if the court finds the negotiated settlement in alignment with state law, the judge will likely approve it.
Attempting to hide assets to protect them from property division in divorce is never a good idea. Doing so will likely lead to severe penalties. If the court discovers that a divorcing spouse lied in their financial disclosure statement, this misconduct can lead to contempt of court and possibly even criminal charges. This is also the case if a property division settlement is approved and a spouse later discovers the other spouse had hidden assets. When a judge discovers a divorcing spouse lied in financial disclosure, they may award the other spouse a greater share of marital property. The judge may even hold the at-fault spouse accountable for the other spouse’s legal fees.
Ultimately, property division can be a very difficult aspect of any divorce, and it’s important to approach this situation with legal counsel you can trust. The Law Offices of Aimee E. Cain offer robust legal representation to Concord, NC clients facing difficult property division proceedings. If you are preparing to divorce and have concerns about property division, we can help. Contact us today and schedule your consultation with a trustworthy Concord property division attorney.