Divorce can be emotionally wrenching, but it also involves asking tough financial questions. Dividing the assets of a marriage can be extraordinarily complex. If you are in this situation, you should seek the counsel of a Raleigh division of assets lawyer who has handled many equitable distribution cases in the past.
Consider all the assets that a typical couple acquires during a marriage or already owned before the marriage began such as the family home and other real estates, money in retirement plans, bank accounts, and closely held businesses. Figuring out who gets what can be daunting, even if the divorce is relatively amicable. That is why it is important to work with a knowledgeable divorce attorney.
Most states, including North Carolina, have an “equitable distribution” policy. Under this approach, property obtained during the marriage belongs to the spouses equally. During a divorce, the property will generally be split up in a way that seems fair to the court.
There is no rigid formula involved. The court can look at a multitude of factors. For example, the court may look at the relative earning contributions of the spouses, the contributions of one spouse staying at home or raising the children, and the earning potential of each spouse. Except in extraordinary cases, a spouse will usually get around half of the marital property.
It is almost always preferable for the couple to work out a property settlement, rather than relying on the court. In fact, most equitable distribution cases are resolved through mediation with attorneys or settlement between the parties. If the spouses are able to agree on how to split up only a portion of their assets, but not all of them, the court may have to divide the rest.
Assets should not be divided simply based on their current value. A skilled Raleigh division of assets lawyer can provide a more sophisticated appraisal of an asset – its liquidity, cost basis, and any tax implications that will arise if one of the spouses tries to sell it. For example, a particular piece of property might have particular value to one of the spouses and an attorney can help take that into account when negotiating. Other issues that must be negotiated, such as child custody or visitation rights, can be also be addressed.
One complicating factor is whether a pre- or post-marital agreement is in force that determines how assets should be distributed. A prenuptial agreement is an enforceable contract between the spouses. It contains a list of all the valuable property each fiancé owns, plus any debts they brought to the marriage. It also details what will happen to the property if the marriage is dissolved.
A prenuptial agreement will usually state whether an asset is the particular property of one party or whether it belongs to the marital estate. A detail-oriented Raleigh division of assets lawyer can review any pre- or post-marital agreements and help determine how they may affect a division of assets.
It is important to get advice from a Raleigh division of assets lawyer who can help you reach the solution that meets your unique needs. They understand what is important to you and can fiercely advocate for your interests. Call us today to set up a case review. A conversation with our firm may help you determine your next steps so that you can begin to move forward.