Equitable Distribution

3 Common Mistakes People Make when Filing their own Divorce

Divorce Mistakes

There are a ton of divorce mistakes that I often see people make when they file their own divorce. When I was preparing to write this post, I did a brainstorm and could find no fewer than 10 major mistakes – any one of which could doom your divorce, cause you major legal/financial trouble, or both. So I went ahead and prepared this video outlining the 3 biggest mistakes I see people make: They file too soon They don’t properly serve their spouse They don’t properly preserve claims for spousal support or equitable distribution in their divorce If you are […]

What does “Complex Divorce… Made Easy” really mean?

I’ve recently changed the tagline on my website to “Complex Divorce… Made Easy”. You may be wondering what that means. Here’s the quick and dirty explaination. Not all divorces are complex. Some cases are actually relatively simple. If you are in a situation where you don’t own property, you have a relatively short marriage, there are no spousal support issues, and you don’t have kids, then I would consider that to be a relatively simple divorce in North Carolina. If you go to an attorney under that factual situation and they quote you an unrealistically high fee to accept you […]

In complex equitable distribution cases, who wins?

In complex equitable distribution cases, who wins?

My answer is going to surprise you – it’s not necessarily who you would think.  Here are some possible answers: The person represented by the better lawyer?  (whatever that means) The person who spends the most money on legal fees? The more sympathetic spouse? The person whose lawyer is best friends with the judge? No, no, no….. and big NO. The person who wins in these big, document heavy, complicated with lots of assets to figure out type of cases is the spouse who does a better job preparing. What about the lawyer you ask?  Aren’t they the ones that […]

I received an inheritance and put it into a joint account with my spouse, can I keep it?

North Carolina Equitable Distribution laws are extremely complicated and confusing.  One of the most frequent questions I get involves the handling of an inheritance, financial gift, or lawsuit proceeds that one spouse receives during the marriage.  The question is simple, “Do I have to give half to my husband/wife?”  The answer is a little more complex. N.C.G.S. Section 50-20 deals with the distribution by the court of marital and divisible property.  Notice that the title of the statute does not address the division of “separate property”, which is what we are talking about when we are discussing an inheritance, gift, […]

Getting a divorce in North Carolina: Some Pitfalls

North Carolina has some wacky laws when it comes to divorce.  They are not always intuitive, and sometimes they are downright unfair.  One such example is a rule called the “McClean Presumption“.  This rule deals with Equitable distribution in North Carolina, and the treatment of marital and separate real property (also known as land) and their treatment as “joint interspousal gifts“joint interspousal gifts. Here’s an example: Lets say that you own a house that you purchased before you were married.  You worked hard and paid off your mortgage, and now the home is worth $,000.  You get married and you […]

How to divide a pension in a divorce?

I got a great question today in my Ask a Lawyer Section.  The question was this – “In North Carolina is a spouse entitled to half her husband’s pension? If so, when does she get it and is it considered income when considering Alimony and Child Support?” Here is a quick synopsis of this difficult and complex area of family law – one that even a lot of lawyers have a hard time understanding because of all the variables at play… Both spouses are entitled to 1/2 of any assets that were acquired during the course of the marriage, including […]

How a Collaborative Divorce could save your business

In discussing the benefits of Collaborative Divorce, we often talk about how it will help save your relationship with your spouse, cause you less stress and anxiety, be less harmful to the kids, and usually costs less than “old school” litigation. One of the real world examples of this is the case of a family that owns a small business, as this story illustrates.  If you are the owner of a small business and are considering a divorce, you must consider how a traditional divorce will impact the business.  As Richard Sharp, a Collaborative Divorce Lawyer, says “a business caught […]

Why I like Collaborative Divorce so much…

I just started another Collaborative Divorce Case yesterday (meaning that we had the first four-way meeting with another attorney and her client).  It was another shining example of why Collaborative Divorce is such a great thing for clients that are willing to work with one another to resolve their case with less stress and pain than in a traditional “old-school” divorce case. In one two-hour meeting, we were able to resolve who would move out and when, how the party that moves out will pay for the new residence, an interim distribution of cash to the dependant spouse, and resolve […]

How to prepare for divorce tip #12: Keep a Diary

This is the second to last in a series of tips for individuals who are considering separating from their spouse, and ultimately, divorcing them.  Many of the steps that I have provided in this series are geared toward preparing you for litigating your case, but I need to stress that I believe strongly in keeping divorce cases out of the courts through a dispute resolution technique known as Collaborative Divorce. Today’s tip asks you to keep a diary of major events that occur during the course of your separation and divorce.  Your lawyer may want your help in reconstructing a […]

How to prepare for divorce tip #11: Who moves?

Today’s divorce tip involves a commonly asked question, especially in North Carolina – Who moves?  I encourage all of my clients to at least consider the possibility of a collaborative divorce, and if you go that route, this is one of the many issues that can get worked out during the “four-way” meetings that are the hallmark of the collaborative process. In North Carolina, if you want a divorce, you must separate from your spouse for at least a year.  Practically speaking, this poses a number of problems – not the least of which is how to pay for two […]