Let’s suppose that you provided funds, checks, cash, or other payments to your ex since separation. You have a claim pending for equitable distribution, which seeks to divide your marital property. But court is slow and it can take some time for the court to reach your case. When it does, how should the court treat those payments you made? Were they gifts, or were they something the court ought to consider in equitable distribution? Continue reading →
It is not rare in this day and age that a spouse “brings” a home into a marriage. This means that one spouse was the owner of a home before they got married. It also likely means that the spouse bringing the home into the marriage was paying the mortgage. It is typical that, upon marriage, all funds are co-mingled and “my money” becomes “our money.” That is the case even if the spouses keep separate accounts and only deposit their respective paychecks into their separate accounts. North Carolina is not a title-controls state. The acquisition of a piece of marital property is usually dependent on whether it was acquired during the marriage or not. (Note: law is complex and there are exceptions.) But what about the home? Continue reading →
Shropshire v. Shropshire, 2022-NCCOA-441.
Plaintiff and Defendant separated and initiated a case for Equitable distribution (ED). Pursuant to a pretrial Order, the parties filed affidavits for the ED trial. Both parties listed retirement plans under the “marital property” section of the affidavit. This included the Plaintiff’s 401(k) plan. Furthermore, both parties designated that Plaintiff’s retirement plans had values to be determined for date of separation and “net” value. Under the section of the affidavit marked for “divisible property,” neither party listed any property.
In a hearing in August of 2018, the parties testified about ED. In October 2018, the trial court judge told the parties that evidence was going to be reopened so that evidence could be presented that showed the date of trial values for the retirement plans, as well as value of the marital residence. Plaintiff objected to the reopening and filed a motion to recuse.
The motion was denied in trial court and the reopening was allowed. The information was provided over objections, and a final ED order was entered. Plaintiff appealed. Continue reading →
Wright v. Wright, 222 N.C. App. 309, 730 S.E.2d 218 (2012)
- Facts: Plaintiff and Defendant married in 2002 and subsequently separated in 2008. Defendant was a professional football player in the NFL. While playing football, Defendant suffered significant injuries, three of which were sustained while he was married to Plaintiff. Defendant retired in 2008 due to those injuries. Defendant began receiving disability payments because of his retirement from the NFL. He also applied for permanent disability. These benefits are paid to former players. The trial court classified these disability benefits as deferred compensation programs and distributed them in equitable distribution. Defendant appealed.
Our pets and divorce saga continues. Today we have a tale from the state of Washington that continues this trend. A couple that separated in 2018 owned two dogs together: Kona and Mr. Bear. At the time, they co-parented the dogs extensively, texting each other schedules, grooming appointments, trainings, and social outings. Throughout the divorce proceedings, both parties emphasized how important the dogs were to them, and how important it was for the dogs not to be split up. Ultimately, the Husband got the dogs, but the Wife got a visitation schedule. Husband wanted to remove those visitation provisions, the court denied, and he appealed to the court of appeals. Husband won, and the visitation provisions were struck out. Continue reading →
In North Carolina, a stipulation, in the legal context, is an agreement between the parties in a lawsuit. It is most commonly used by parties to extend deadlines for responding to discovery or to agree on a factual finding that is uncontested. It can be done to minimize costs in litigation, because there is no need to spend time proving something that is agreed upon. Good practice dictates that stipulations are written and signed by the parties and/or attorneys and then presented to the court. Continue reading →
Desai v. Desai, No.COA20-435 (July 2021) (unpublished)
An interim distribution is an order of the court that can be entered anytime after the filing of the equitable distribution (ED) claim and before the final judgment on equitable distribution. In these interim orders, the court can classify, value, and distribute certain assets or debts. This partial distribution can also provide for a distributive award that one party pays the other in exchange for the distribution of an asset or debt. So how does this affect the final judgment? Below is a case that explains simply what should happen. Continue reading →
Desai v. Desai, No.COA20-435 (July 2021) (unpublished)
Often in matrimonial cases, one party might question whether jewelry gifted to a spouse can be taken back in the property division phase of a separation and divorce. Jewelry and other assorted gifts often represent everlasting love and affection between spouses, so it is always slightly peculiar when one spouse requests the gift be returned. Below is a case about a special necklace given as part of a Hindu marriage celebration, and how our courts handled the issue. 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 →
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 →