During divorce, all property and debt held between the couple are valued and divided. The outcome of this division will have a profound impact on your financial future and your lifestyle. It is critical that you have an attorney who is committed to zealously protecting your interests and advocating on your behalf for the best possible outcome.
Protecting Your Interests in Marital Property Division
Our goal at Greensboro Family Law, is to ensure that our client receives his or her fair share of marital property, without depleting the entire marital estate in the process by racking up unreasonable legal fees. Our family law practice has access to considerable resources in terms of experience with professional valuation experts, which allows us to work efficiently and effectively to create property division plans that are fair and customized for each client's situation.
There are four basic steps in the marital property division process in any North Carolina divorce:
- Accurately identify the property existing at the date of separation
- Determine what is marital property, what is separate property (not subject to division) and what is mixed property (only part of which may be subject to division)
- Determine the fair market value of the property subject to division
- Distribute the assets and property in a fair and equitable manner
Marital Property Division Plans That Preserve the Marital Assets
Courts are constrained to follow certain procedures in property division, which can have the effect of diminishing the net value of either or both parties' share(s). More importantly, the cost of the court process can quickly exceed the total value of the property to be divided. Our approach to the division of marital property enables us to do what North Carolina judges often cannot do — negotiate a fair, equitable and individualized settlement, often without the time and expense of litigation.
Preserve Your Rights to Marital Property During Negotiations
In the event that property issues cannot be quickly resolved by agreement, we can assist you to preserve your share of marital property until the marital estate is divided, including some or all of the following actions:
- Take possession of the assets you wish to use during property distribution negotiations or litigation, like your home, furniture and vehicles, and those assets that might be liquidated or “held hostage” by your spouse, including jewelry, collectibles and cash.
- Protect your credit rating by: (1) freezing or closing joint credit cards and blocking your spouse's access to other joint credit such as a home equity loan; (2) closing joint bank accounts and opening accounts in your own, individual name; and (3) changing the name of the responsible party on utility and other bills.
- File a lis pendens in the Register of Deeds Office of any county where you or your spouse owns real property. A lis pendens is a notice of pending litigation that may affect real property. A lis pendens clouds the title to the property, effectively preventing sale.
- Obtain an injunction to restrain your spouse from transferring or otherwise disposing of any property covered by the restraining order or to return separate property.
- Obtain an interim agreement or order regarding the distribution of marital property, pending a final resolution of the property matter. An interim allocation could, for instance, give you much-needed funds on which to live.
- Change the locks on the marital residence if your spouse has moved out and established a residence elsewhere.
Experienced, Knowledgeable Counsel With Proven Results
To discuss the particulars of your case in a confidential consultation with an experienced attorney, contact Rebecca Perry today.
Please continue reading for more information about important issues in property division, including the sometimes complex issues associated with dividing ownership interests in a family business or professional practice.