Distribution of real property

My wife and I were married 7 years ago in NC and intentionally didn’t record the marriage certificate. We each pay approximately $1600.00/mo for our living expenses. We own a house together but, she pays the mortgage amount which is $1,600.00 (her half of paying our living expanses). I pay the remaining $1,600 for other living expenses (cable, internet, utilities, lawn services, food,…etc).

Questions:

  1. If we decide to split, does she have a viable surface argument to succeed an unequal distribution of real estate?
  2. I renovated the house before we moved in at an amount of $56K which she did not contribute. Although, she pays for the mortgage now, do I have the same strength in arguing unequal distribution of real estate?

Please advise.

  1. Based only on the information you provided, she does not have an argument for an unequal distribution of the marital estate.

  2. Assuming you were married at the time the renovations were made and the house was and is titled in your joint names, then you do not have an argument for an unequal distribution of the marital estate on this basis.


Anna Ayscue

Attorney with Rosen Law Firm Cary • Chapel Hill • Durham • Raleigh • Wake Forest

Rosen Online | Unlimited confidential access to a North Carolina attorney for $199/mo - click here

The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service only, a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action. The information posted on this forum is available for public viewing and is not intended to create an attorney client relationship with any individual. These answers are provided for informational purposes only, a person should consult with their own individual legal counsel before taking any action that could affect their legal rights or obligations.

-We weren’t married when we bought the house.
-We decided to have it titled on both names.
-After we bought the house the renovations were completed before we moved in.
-We were never married at the time that we bought the house, nor during renovation nor now.
-We have a covenant marriage based on declarations made to each other and remain the same way.
-The marriage certificate has not been recorded.
-We may have another ceremony and record in the future.

What are your thoughts based on this information?

Thanks,

You have a valid marriage if you lawfully obtained a marriage license and the marriage license was completed on the day of the ceremony by a proper officiant even if it was not returned to the register of deeds office. The officiant could be charged with a misdemeanor for failing to return the completed license to the register of deeds office.

If you never obtained a marriage license, then you do not have a lawful marriage and equitable distribution laws would not apply.

Assuming you have a valid marriage, then since the home was purchased prior to the marriage but in both names, then the full value of the home at the date of separation is a marital value that is subject to being divided 50/50. You would not be entitled to a dollar-for-dollar reimbursement of the money you spent for renovations.


Anna Ayscue

Attorney with Rosen Law Firm Cary • Chapel Hill • Durham • Raleigh • Wake Forest

Rosen Online | Unlimited confidential access to a North Carolina attorney for $199/mo - click here

The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service only, a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action. The information posted on this forum is available for public viewing and is not intended to create an attorney client relationship with any individual. These answers are provided for informational purposes only, a person should consult with their own individual legal counsel before taking any action that could affect their legal rights or obligations.