In North Carolina, we see cases where one spouse is primarily a breadwinner for the family, often bringing in most if not all of the income. In those case, the other spouse is the homemaker, the one that cares for the children and/or pets and maintains the home. And when it comes to separation and divorce, dollar values become important. So how do you value a homemaker spouse’s contribution to the marriage? Continue reading →
Wall v. Wall, 140 N.C. App. 303 (2000).
Former spouses in North Carolina can split their property in an action for Equitable Distribution (ED). In order for the Court to make a decision on distributing property, it needs an inventory affidavit of all property owned as a product of the marriage. Occasionally, and especially in cases involving high-income parties, the inventory list can be extensive. Many times, there can be arguments regarding values of property. This can lead to some delay between the day of the hearing and the day of entry of a Judgment. Continue reading →
Suppose you inherit money from a family member during your marriage. Is your inheritance subject to being divided under North Carolina’s equitable distribution statute? The brief answer: it depends.
North Carolina General Statute § 50-20 defines marital property as all real and personal property obtained and currently owned by either or both spouses during the marriage and before the date of separation unless that property is determined to be separate or divisible property. Separate property under N.C.G.S. §50-20 is real and personal property acquired by a spouse before or during the marriage through devise, descent, or gift. Applying the definitions of marital and separate property from N.C.G.S. § 50-20, any money or property you inherit from a family member would be separate property. Continue reading →
Generally, military disability benefits are exempt from distribution in equitable distribution actions. Here we see whether the court can consider these benefits as income to satisfy a distributive award pursuant to an equitable distribution order. (In this case, Plaintiff improperly filed a Rule 60 motion to set aside the judgment, which is outside the scope of this blog.) Continue reading →
The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has made fundamental changes in how people interact with the world around them. Businesses immediately felt the impact. Small businesses of all kinds were forced to shut their doors in order to protect the public and their employees. The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), among other emergency relief funds, was offered as a remedy. It was designed to provide needed cash flow in order to continue paying some of the necessities in running a business, such as employee payroll, mortgages/leases, and utilities. It has been almost ten months since the beginning of the pandemic. In this time, life carried on. Unhappy spouses still sought divorce. And as part of those divorces, businesses still required valuations, including businesses that utilized the PPP. But how can the PPP affect the value of a business? Continue reading →
Stock options can be offered to employees as an incentive or reward for a job well done. They are typically offered up front as a future benefit after working at a company for a set amount of time and can be purchased at an option price that was previously set. Every company will have a different policy and set of requirements. Some require vesting. In North Carolina, in most circumstances, the court will consider a stock option as a form of deferred compensation. The label is important because it opens up the possibility of stock options to equitable distribution. If they are acquired or received during the course of marriage and before separation, they are very likely marital property, even if the option cannot be exercised until after a judgment of divorce. Likewise, they can be divisible if acquired as a result of employment during the marriage, but not received until after separation. Continue reading →
Crowell v. Crowell, 809 S.E.2d 325 (2018).
In North Carolina, Equitable Distribution (ED) is one of the mechanisms by which former spouses separate their personal and real property. Sometimes property can be mingled in with third parties, such as in cases where either a trust or a third-party business entity is involved. The case below discusses how a court may handle such an issue. Continue reading →
In North Carolina, Equitable Distribution (ED) is how property is divided in divorce proceedings. ED can be a complicated process, and much of it relies on timelines and tracing funds. When people get married, a typical occurence is that separate bank accounts are converted to joint accounts. What happens in a divorce proceeding when one spouse claims that the account is not joint but still separate, despite the addition of the other spouse’s name? Continue reading →
Stowe v. Stowe, ___ N.C. App. ___ (2020).
In North Carolina, Equitable Distribution (ED) is one of the mechanisms by which former spouses separate their personal and real property. What if the during the marriage one party opens a business? Unlike other forms of property, businesses have reputations that are carefully cultivated, as well as patrons and other intangibles that make the business more valuable than what can be accounted for on paper. Courts call this factor Goodwill. In the case below, we explore how one court handled Goodwill for an insurance company. Continue reading →
Montague v. Montague, 767 S.E.2d 71 (N.C. App. 2014)
Equitable Distribution (ED) is one of the mechanisms by which former spouses separate their personal and real property. What if the during the marriage one party opens a small business? Businesses are subject to ED, and valuation of a business can be very complex. In the case below, we encounter one issue where a family law specialist with experience in Equitable Distribution can be valuable. Continue reading →