Property division is often the most stressful part of a divorce. Whether you and your spouse are arguing over the division of multiple homes or a single piece of furniture, having an experienced family law attorney on your side can help you ensure that your rights are protected.
Raleigh equitable distribution lawyer Nicholas J. Dombalis II handles the family law practice at Nicholls & Crampton, P.A. For more than 35 years, he has provided dedicated support to clients in North Carolina. Attorneys and clients throughout the state have come to trust his knowledge of divorce issues such as property division, which is evident in the many referrals he receives. For sound and supportive advice and representation, contact Mr. Dombalis at Nicholls & Crampton, P.A.
In North Carolina, there is a presumption that the marital estate should be divided equally between divorcing spouses. However, the court can award one party more than 50 percent of the marital property in certain circumstances. The party who believes he or she should receive more property must prove that one or more factors exist which justify it. These factors include a spouse's earning capacity, the need to keep the children in a martial home and other economic factors. Marital fault is ordinarily not considered unless the marital fault has affected the value of the marital estate.
As an experienced North Carolina property division attorney, Mr. Dombalis has the knowledge to represent clients during the appraisal and equitable distribution of simple as well as complex property, including:
- QDROs and other retirement assets, including pensions and employment benefit plans
- Marital debt
- Hidden assets, including offshore bank accounts
- Family businesses and partnerships, including business valuations
Determining the Value of the Marital Estate
Courts determine the value of the marital estate from the day that the parties separate. "Separation" starts on the day the spouses no longer live together as husband and wife and where at least one party intends for the separation to be permanent.
Most property acquired during marriage will be considered part of the "marital estate" and will be divided equally during the divorce. Other divisible property includes property that comes into the estate after the date of separation, such as rent paid on rental properties the parties own together or interest on investment accounts that accrues after the date of separation.
Generally, separate property includes any property acquired before the marriage or acquired as an inheritance or gift during the marriage. Contributions of separate property to the marital estate will generally remain the separate property of the owner unless the contribution is made to real estate, in which event it is considered a gift to the marital estate. Similarly, if a spouse owned a business prior to marriage and the value of the business increased during the marriage due in part to the other spouse's efforts, a portion of the business assets may be included in the marital estate.