Articles Posted in Property Division

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Dozier v. Dozier, 2022-NCCOA-307 (unpublished) (2022)

 

In North Carolina, an Equitable Distribution (ED) judgment is a final court-ordered distribution of the marital assets. Unlike child support, alimony, or custody, these are not modifiable upon showing the court that there has been a substantial change in circumstances. A rule 60 motion is one that is essentially asking the court for relief from the judgment entered. There are many grounds for asking relief. In an interesting twist, one party sought to void one particular section of an ED judgment, rather than the whole thing.

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In the previous blog, we covered appraisal as a method of valuation of property in the context of Equitable Distribution in a separation. Equitable Distribution (ED) in North Carolina is a legal process by which the court divides the marital property between the parties. The three steps in an ED determination are classification, valuation, and distribution, and today we continue with a look at valuation.

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Equitable Distribution in North Carolina is a legal process by which the court divides the marital property between the parties. It involves three steps: 1) classifying the property as marital or separate (or some mix); 2) assigning value to the property; and 3) distributing the property in an equitable manner between the parties. We have written a lot with emphasis on the first step of the analysis, classification. This makes sense in that the court will only distribute marital assets and not touch the separate. So today we will talk about the second step, valuation.

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Foxx v. Foxx, 2022-NCCOA-223 (5 April 2022) (unpublished).

Some statutes and case laws in North Carolina have a time component. In modifications of child support and custody, the trial court is sometimes required to make comparisons between the old facts and circumstances with the current ones in order to find whether there has been a substantial change in circumstances. Sometimes the old facts and circumstances just don’t exist because the prior order was a consent order. In these cases, trial courts ought to make findings about the facts in play at the time of the prior order, so as to make acceptable comparisons. In equitable distribution, one such statute asks the court to compare the income and estates of the parties at the time of the division of property. Again, it asks for a comparison at a specific point in time. Below is a case where the trial court did not make such comparison. Continue reading →

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Maddukuri v. Chintanippu, 2022-NCCOA-128 (1 March 2022)

Stipulations are often used to expedite portions of a case/trial so that there is no time wasted on them, allowing the court to focus on the issues that are actually in contention. The use of stipulations of fact is pretty common. It removes the inconvenience of having to show evidence of facts that no one contests. Stipulations can also be used for settlement. These allow for the concession between parties of some rights in return for others. Below is a case where the Court dealt with the potential withdrawal of a stipulation. Continue reading →

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Sam Willis and Sarah Willis were married in August 1981.  Sam filed his Complaint on March 28, 1985, seeking a divorce from bed and board, alimony, and equitable distribution.  Before the parties married, Sam sold Sarah a house and lot on Claremont Road.  Throughout the marriage, the couple lived at the Claremont Road property.  Sam made all of the mortgage payments during the marriage.  These payments amounted to $9,900.  Sarah appeals from the equitable distribution judgment entered pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 50-20. Continue reading →

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Mediation is a fantastic alternative method of settling your case and often more satisfying than going to court.  It is likely that a few issues stand between settlement and more prolonged litigation. This is where mediation can really shine—it lets you laser focus on the few things you really care about. A mediator must be a neutral third party that also happens to be an expert in family law, or a former judge that has decided many family law cases. In all court-ordered mediations, there are rules. In North Carolina, some new rules have been passed and can be found in NCGS § 7A-38.4A. This is a quick reference for how some of those rules will apply to your mediation.

Who can be a mediator for Family Financial Mediation?

The mediator must be certified. A list of certified mediators is published and updated at the NC Courts website. To be certified, the mediator must have an understanding of family law in North Carolina. There is also a laundry list of qualifications, classes, and educational requirements. These requirements can be found in Rule 8 of the Rules for Settlement Procedures in District Court Family Financial Cases. To be blunt, your mediator is highly qualified in the area of family law. Continue reading →

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Last post, we wrote about some cursory copyright issues regarding non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Today, we are going to dive into what happens when NFTs are part of a divorce. While divorce itself is nothing uncommon or new, the NFT craze and how they will be split up is surely uncharted territory for the courts. Continue reading →

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Harris v. Harris, 352 S.E.2d 869, 84 N.C.App. 353 (N.C. App. 1987)

In the case above, the plaintiff was ordered to pay to defendant an Equitable Distribution (ED) distributive award in the amount of $23,706.82, but payment of the award was postponed until the parties’ youngest child reached age 18 or graduated from high school. The Court of Appeals reversed because, at the time, such a postponement would have extended the distributive award to seven years after the termination of the marriage. This was significant, as the court is not to order a distributive award that would be paid “over such an extended time period that the payment thereof will be treated by the Internal Revenue Service as ordinary income.” Here, the courts look to IRS regulations to prevent taxes on the transfer of property incident to divorce, and IRS rules say gains or losses that result from transfers are not treated as ordinary income if they relate to the cessation of the marriage. However, if a transfer occurs more than six years after the termination of the marriage, one presumes it is not related to the cessation of the marriage. 26 CFR § 1.1041-1T.  That would be rebuttable but involves more work. Continue reading →

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Salvadore v. Salvadore, 2021-NCCOA-680 (2021 unpublished)

  • Facts: Wife and Husband married in 1989. During their marriage, Husband would frequently change his job. Husband had a peculiar habit every time he changed jobs that required relocation to another state. He would stay in hotels and campgrounds in the new state while Wife would stay at the marital residence at the old state. Husband would also regularly return to the marital residence on weekends. This would continue until the couple bought a new home in the new state. When Husband accepted a new job in New York, he continued this habit. However, before he left, he asked for a separation on April 17, 2017. But true to habit, he stayed in hotels in campgrounds in New York, while returning to the marital residence in North Carolina on weekends. This happened until July 16, 2017—the last night he spent in the marital residence with Wife. As part of his appeal of an equitable distribution order, he argued that the date of separation should have been April 2017, not the July 2017 date.

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