PROPERTY SETTLEMENT & EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION

One of the major undertakings you will deal with in the course of your divorce is dividing the assets and debts accumulated over the course of your marriage. This process is formally known as Equitable Distribution. It can be emotionally overwhelming to learn how intertwined your marital assets are with your spouse. You can alleviate much of the anxiety and stress associated with division of your marital property through knowledgeable legal advice. An experienced attorney can assist you in equitably dividing the marital assets in an efficient manner so you are not left feeling financially vulnerable. 

Is a court proceeding necessary for Equitable Distribution?

Most couples are able to reach an agreement on how to divide their property in a private contract, such as a separation and property settlement agreement.  These agreements are also enforceable by the courts. In cases where an agreement cannot be reached, North Carolina courts will divide the marital estate through an equitable distribution action. It is always in your best interest to resolve disputes if common ground can be found. When these decisions are left up to the court, equitable doesn’t necessarily mean an equal division. The court will attempt to make the division fair to both parties, depending on the specific circumstances of the case, and this can mean an award of an unequal division of property to one party.  In cases where an agreement is not possible, for whatever reason, our family law attorneys are experienced trial lawyers and will advocate on your behalf to ensure you receive a fair division of property. 

How is Equitable Distribution accomplished?

A knowledgeable attorney can assist you through the daunting and complex process of an equitable distribution case. The essential steps that must be taken to divide property include: 

  1. Identify all assets and debts that existed at the time of separation; 
  2. Classify all the identified property as marital, separate or mixed; 
  3. Value all identified property; and 
  4. Distribute the property. 

What are marital assets?

Marital assets are not limited to homes and automobiles and will include retirement and investment accounts, life insurance policies, pensions, stocks, bonds, annuities, business interests, and even military benefits.  Debts are also considered in the marital estate and will include mortgages, lines of credit, credit cards, student loans, other loans as well as any amounts borrowed against retirement accounts or insurance policies. 

Generally all property and debts that are acquired during the marriage are assumed to be marital property, regardless of how the property or debt is titled or who incurred the debt. 

Separate property and debts of a spouse includes property owned and debts accumulated prior to marriage, as well as inheritances and individual gifts. Separate debts can also be acquired during marriage, if the debt was not incurred for the joint benefit of the parties. Separate property and debts generally remains the separate property of that spouse during equitable distribution. 

In the event that funds or assets have been commingled during marriage, we have the tools available to trace those separate funds so they can remain separate from marital property. Careful investigation and planning are required to ensure all the elements of your marital and separate property are considered during your marital property division.

Property Settlement Articles

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION

Do I need an attorney?

Division of your marital property is yet another opportunity you will have to create lasting resolutions in your divorce. Agreements relative to distribution of property can vary and can be creatively tailored to your situation. There is generally more than one way to consider this process and the family law and divorce attorneys at GHMA | LAW can help you explore all the options available that meet your goals and protect your interests. In some cases, the advice of a financial expert or tax specialist may be required to ensure that all the available options and consequences are considered, especially in the case of complex divorce. We are able to coordinate the services of these additional experts and ensure that your interests are protected. 

Patrick McCroskey and Janet Amburgey are both board-certified specialists in family law and have worked with hundreds upon hundreds of divorcing spouses through the process of marital property division. They have extensive experience in negotiating settlements and advocating for clients in trial, if necessary.  By providing compassionate and effective counsel they have the skills to assist you through this emotional time to achieve a fair division of property. To ensure that your interests are protected call us for a consultation at 828-258-3368 or use the contact form below to connect with our lawyers today. 

 

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Black and white image of an apple sliced in half with forks protruding from each of the halves denoting equal distribution and splitting of marital property

PROPERTY SETTLEMENT & EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION

One of the major undertakings you will deal with in the course of your divorce is dividing the assets and debts accumulated over the course of your marriage. This process is formally known as Equitable Distribution. It can be emotionally overwhelming to learn how intertwined your marital assets are with your spouse. You can alleviate much of the anxiety and stress associated with division of your marital property through knowledgeable legal advice. An experienced attorney can assist you in equitably dividing the marital assets in an efficient manner so you are not left feeling financially vulnerable. 

Is a court proceeding necessary for Equitable Distribution?

Most couples are able to reach an agreement on how to divide their property in a private contract, such as a separation and property settlement agreement.  These agreements are also enforceable by the courts. In cases where an agreement cannot be reached, North Carolina courts will divide the marital estate through an equitable distribution action. It is always in your best interest to resolve disputes if common ground can be found. When these decisions are left up to the court, equitable doesn’t necessarily mean an equal division. The court will attempt to make the division fair to both parties, depending on the specific circumstances of the case, and this can mean an award of an unequal division of property to one party.  In cases where an agreement is not possible, for whatever reason, our family law attorneys are experienced trial lawyers and will advocate on your behalf to ensure you receive a fair division of property. 

How is Equitable Distribution accomplished?

A knowledgeable attorney can assist you through the daunting and complex process of an equitable distribution case. The essential steps that must be taken to divide property include: 

  1. Identify all assets and debts that existed at the time of separation; 
  2. Classify all the identified property as marital, separate or mixed; 
  3. Value all identified property; and 
  4. Distribute the property. 

What are marital assets?

Marital assets are not limited to homes and automobiles and will include retirement and investment accounts, life insurance policies, pensions, stocks, bonds, annuities, business interests, and even military benefits.  Debts are also considered in the marital estate and will include mortgages, lines of credit, credit cards, student loans, other loans as well as any amounts borrowed against retirement accounts or insurance policies. 

Generally all property and debts that are acquired during the marriage are assumed to be marital property, regardless of how the property or debt is titled or who incurred the debt. 

Separate property and debts of a spouse includes property owned and debts accumulated prior to marriage, as well as inheritances and individual gifts. Separate debts can also be acquired during marriage, if the debt was not incurred for the joint benefit of the parties. Separate property and debts generally remains the separate property of that spouse during equitable distribution. 

In the event that funds or assets have been commingled during marriage, we have the tools available to trace those separate funds so they can remain separate from marital property. Careful investigation and planning are required to ensure all the elements of your marital and separate property are considered during your marital property division.

Do I need an attorney?

Division of your marital property is yet another opportunity you will have to create lasting resolutions in your divorce. Agreements relative to distribution of property can vary and can be creatively tailored to your situation. There is generally more than one way to consider this process and the family law and divorce attorneys at GHMA | LAW can help you explore all the options available that meet your goals and protect your interests. In some cases, the advice of a financial expert or tax specialist may be required to ensure that all the available options and consequences are considered, especially in the case of complex divorce. We are able to coordinate the services of these additional experts and ensure that your interests are protected. 

Patrick McCroskey and Janet Amburgey are both board-certified specialists in family law and have worked with hundreds upon hundreds of divorcing spouses through the process of marital property division. They have extensive experience in negotiating settlements and advocating for clients in trial, if necessary.  By providing compassionate and effective counsel they have the skills to assist you through this emotional time to achieve a fair division of property. To ensure that your interests are protected call us for a consultation at 828-258-3368 or use the contact form below to connect with our lawyers today. 

 

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Common Questions & Concerns

We will do everything possible to structure your case so that you may obtain the best legal result. Punishing your spouse or winning an all-out, no holds-barred victory, however, is an unrealistic and unattainable goal. Your attorney's job is to represent your best interests, and to achieve the best resolution for you. His job is not to serve as your avenger. He cannot give you retribution for the sins of your spouse. If you enter this process expecting revenge and retribution, you will be sorely disappointed and unhappy with your attorney, yourself, and the outcome of your case, no matter how favorable that outcome may be to you. Before beginning the attorney-client relationship, you should make every effort to put your priorities in order, and realize that there are some things the legal system cannot provide.

Most people share the same fears, questions, and beliefs about divorce. The following are some of the most common of these fears, questions and beliefs.

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