Equitable Distribution FAQs

Will my marital estate be divided equally?

There is a presumption in North Carolina that marital assets and debts will be divided equally. The values typically used are from the date of separation. This presumption is rebuttable as there are many factors in our statute that would allow for a party to be distributed more or less than half of the marital estate.

If my husband buys me out of our home, will we have to pay taxes on the transfer?

Generally speaking, there is no gain or loss recognized by either party when property is transferred between spouses. The transfer is a nontaxable event. Please consult with your tax advisor and your attorney before transferring any interest in property.

What if everything is titled in my spouse's name? Is it still legally mine?

Most likely, yes. In North Carolina, the short definition of marital property is as all real and personal property acquired by either spouse during your marriage and before your separation regardless of title. This includes both parties’ retirement benefits, income earned, bank accounts comprised of marital funds, automobiles titled in one person’s name, etc. So, most likely, most, if not all, of your property acquired while you were married will be deemed marital property even if titled solely in your spouse’s name. The exception to this general rule is if the property was already the separate property of your spouse before you were married, if he or she transferred separate funds to obtain additional separate property, if your spouse received an inheritance or bequest and kept that separate from marital funds and/or property, or if you or your spouse received a gift.

Can I recover my attorneys fees if I make a claim for Equitable Distribution?

Typically, no. However, if you can prove that your spouse has willfully obstructed or unreasonably delayed discovery proceedings or has willfully obstructed or unreasonably delayed a pending equitable distribution case, and those actions have been prejudicial to your case, then you may have a claim for attorney’s fees against your spouse.

If property is titled in only my name, do I still have to divide it with my spouse?

It depends. One of the first steps in equitable distribution is identifying what property is separate and what is marital. Typically, property owned or acquired prior to marriage, and kept separate, is considered separate property. Typically, property acquired during marriage, regardless of title, is marital property subject to the principles of equitable distribution. At Sodoma Law, we can provide the legal expertise to help clients properly identify and then equitably divide their property.

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