When spouses separate and divorce, they will need to divide money they have earned and saved, property they have purchased or debt they have accumulated during the marriage. Be sure to speak to an attorney before an absolute divorce is granted. Once divorce is granted, then many rights to property gained during the marriage will be lost.
In North Carolina, property division is known as Equitable Distribution. This can be as simple as dividing bank accounts and deciding who gets what vehicle to dividing a business or pension. The more assets that spouses have, the more complicated the division. Long term financial consequences must be considered when dividing property.
An attorney will often work with Certified Public Accountants to help with the process of dividing assets by figuring values and tax consequences. Real property and special collections should be appraised before deciding how to divide assets.
Because the law is complicated and property and debt can be divided in varied ways, an attorney can be invaluable in advising how to proceed and negotiate for the best division for you and can save you a lot of money.
Most spouses settle the division of assets and debts and enter into a Separation Agreement which is a binding contract between spouses that divides property and debt and severs financial ties to one another.
If spouses have reached an impasse on a few issues, they can go to Mediation or Arbitration. If a lawsuit is filed, North Carolina requires that spouses attend mediation before they can be heard in Court.
If a settlement cannot be reached and Court is the only option, it is imperative to have a strong advocate who is able to explain the financial intricacies to the Court and battle for the division that is in your best interest. If you need legal help in Franklin County or the surrounding counties, Ms. McCray would be glad to meet with you to discuss your options.
Click here to contact attorney Gena McCray or call us at (919) 497-0091 for more information.
DOCUMENTS YOU SHOULD GATHER
Your attorney will need as much information as possible to advise you on the best way to divide your property. Particularly in Wake County, you will be required to turn over a lot of financial documents. Below is the standard list of documents that you will need to gather for Equitable Distribution. These need to be organized by type of document and by date (chronological order). If there is something in the documents of particular importance, put a post-it note on it (or some other way of marking it without writing on the document itself). This is taken directly from the requirements in Wake County, North Carolina. However, gathering these documents is prudent in every county:
- Real Property. All documents pertaining to any real property, such as deeds, deeds of trust, promissory notes, closing documents, amortization schedules, appraisals, listing contracts.
- Motor Vehicles. All documents pertaining to any motor vehicle (land, water, or air), such as titles, bills of sale, promissory notes, and amortization schedules.
- Retirement Plans. All documents pertaining to any defined contribution plan, any defined benefit plan, pension plan, SEP, IRA, Keogh, retirement, profit-sharing plan or other deferred compensation or retirement plan, such as account statements, plan descriptions, benefit statements, and account valuations.
- Insurance. All documents pertaining to any life, casualty, or liability, such as policy contracts or descriptions, statements, and premium payment vouchers.
- Debts. All documents pertaining to any secured or non-secured debt including, such as credit card statements, promissory notes, account statements, and credit reports.
- Stocks, Stock Options, Bonds. All documents pertaining to any stocks, stock options or bonds , such as investment account statements, company stock plan descriptions or statements, stock options or bonds documents.
- Financial Accounts. All documents pertaining to any checking, savings or other financial account, such as monthly account statements and check registers.
- Individual and Business Tax Returns. Complete copies of signed and filed individual federal and state tax returns for the past five (5) years, including all schedules and attachments (W-2 forms, 1099 forms, etc.)
- Personal Financial Statements. All personal financial statements provided to any financial institution or other entity or person in the last three (3) years before the date of separation.
- Income. Documents showing all income from all sources since the party’s last filed tax return.