ED & BB Combo


I have a 2 part question.

I recently won my BB case. My ex has been formally served and will have to move out soon which will officially begin the legal separation. This has brought me some level of peace. Although this is a “no-fault “state, my question now surrounds the next step which is ED. I am the primary breadwinner and understand that all assets will be reviewed. We’ve been married 5 years and have no children. As he’s being forced to move out (his words), he has now finally retained a lawyer and is threatening to “take me for all that I am worth “. He doesn’t have any retirement, savings, property, or assets of any value due to addiction. It appears majority of his income was spent on clothing and credit card debt. His addiction is the cause of his inability to have a stable work history, income, or acquire any retirement accounts during the marriage. The only joint assets we have are the home and a small loan. I am the only one on the mortgage but of course, being North Carolina, his name is included in the deed. In selling my previous home, I put most of the proceeds Into the down payment for our current home which we have been in for two years. He’s asking for half the equity, even though he has not contributed And has refused to pay absolutely any household bills in the last seven months as we went through the BB process. I feel like I may be punished for being responsible but have faith. I was a finance major, so I don’t have much debt, have savings & investments and was focused on trying to build a comfortable life for us.

I am hoping that factors such as length of marriage, age, contribution of one party to the education/career of the other, etc. might be considered. I can prove that I helped my spouse purchase a franchise business and return to school to complete his degree. Does this even matter? Can I speak to this? I’m going to hire legal representation; may use the same lawyer that handled my previous case.

The logical side of my brain Knows that this will be reviewed as a business transaction, but even in business, parties have to uphold their part of the contract. Right now he’s being vindictive / irrational, which makes it hard to get to reach a settlement. We’re in the beginning stages of a separation agreement/ ED, I haven’t even been contacted by his lawyer yet, but I’m trying to plan for the future I currently hold 90% of our assets (the home in both our names, 401k, cars, stocks, etc.) and made the bulk amount of the income (80/20). Is a dismissal for equitable distribution possible?What can I do to protect all that I have worked so hard for? And yes… I now understand why prenups are so important.

I’m really hoping to work this out and reach a fair settlement.

Please help!

A dismissal of a claim for equitable distribution (ED) is not possible based on the information you’ve provided.

North Carolina views a marriage as an economic partnership, so it does not matter who earned the money, who acquired and paid for the assets, or who paid the bills during the marriage.

Your husband will still be entitled to 50% of the marital value of the marital assets, so all assets acquired during the marriage between the date of marriage and date of separation. He will also be responsible for 50% of marital debts, or all debts acquired during the marriage for a joint marital benefit.

He will also be entitled to 50% of the entire equity in the home assuming it was purchased during the marriage. It is presumed under the law that the funds you used for the home’s down payment were considered a gift to the marriage because the house was titled in both spouse’s name, even if the source of the down payment was from a separate asset you owned prior to the date of marriage.

However, there may be applicable Distributional Factors that could help you argue that you should receive more than 50% of the marital estate.

You may also have some arguments to reduce any alimony obligation that may exist if your husband is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed and is capable of employment.

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

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