Recently, I have been giving thought to how increases in separate property values through the active work of a spouse is considered during equitable distribution. As a refresh, the goal of a trial court in divorce is to classify all property owned on the date of separation, value it, and then distribute it between the parties; only marital property is distributed. Generally, increases in value to separate property during the course of a marriage are still separate property. However, the analysis does not end there. Continue reading →
Vonhall v. Vonhall, (No. COA20-466) (unpublished)
In equitable distribution, clients often ask whether gifts to one spouse during the marriage is going to be subject to division. Below, we see a simple case example of how the law treats these gifts and the evidence that supports the legal conclusion: Continue reading →
Are you recently separated or divorced and have started receiving bills for unpaid medical expenses of your former spouse? Are these bills for medical treatment your former spouse received after you separated? The Doctrine of Necessaries, which creates a legal duty for the husband to provide for the expenses of his wife, is still recognized in North Carolina. The most common necessary expense is unpaid medical bills of the other spouse. When the spouse receiving treatment cannot pay for services, the service provider will often sue the other spouse to satisfy the outstanding debt. Continue reading →
In recent celebrity news, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West have decided to get divorced. Undoubtedly, the couple signed a prenuptial agreement that handles much of the property division claims. But one aspect that is interesting about their eventual property settlement, is the issue of royalties. It is likely that the couple have a provision about their royalties and other intellectual property (IP) in their prenuptial agreement, but let us consider how it would play out in North Carolina if they did not. Continue reading →
Rolls v. Rolls, 706 S.E.2d 842 (2010) (unpublished)
In North Carolina, Equitable Distribution can be settled without ever needing to step into the courthouse. Separation Agreements and Property Settlements are common ways to resolve the issues incident to a divorce. They are the will of the parties in a separation, distilled onto paper. They are contracts, and there are very precise rules for formation and enforcement of contracts. As we see below, a separation agreement may have been faulty, but it was the actions of a party that doomed his own arguments.
(a) Facts: Plaintiff wife and Defendant husband married in 1980 and separated in 2007. The parties filed a separation agreement in 2007, where they waived equitable distribution and acknowledged that both parties made full disclosure of all assets and debts. However, during the absolute divorce portion of their case, Defendant pled that there was in fact not a full disclosure of facts, and he requested equitable distribution in a counterclaim. In 2009, the trial court entered a Domestic Relations Order whereby half of Plaintiff’s IRA would be transferred to Defendant in accordance with the 2007 separation agreement. Plaintiff then filed a motion for summary judgment to dismiss the counterclaim, which was granted. Defendant appealed.