Equitable Distribution

Hi, I am in the process of “ED.” As such I have a lot of questions. but will provide facts before. My spouse abandoned the marital home, while committing adultery. I hired a PI, have phone records, etc. I believe all this is pretty strong… I have maintained the marital home, paid off the primary mortgage, and have been paying on the equity (she borrowed $8k against one week before she left), paid the insurance and one year’s worth of property taxes since she left.

She earns around $45k/annum and I earn around $85k. We were married for 23 years.

  1. Her attorney has filed a motion for interim distribution of debt - the County property taxes. My ex-spouse works at the County and I have refused to pay the taxes this go round but offered to pay 50%. Can the judge order me to pay the taxes in full, and is it likely the judge will do so?

  2. She is asking for maintenance/alimony to help her keep up her standard of living. She lives by herself with a dog. Is it likely I would have to pay this and how would a judge determine her need vs. my need to support myself?

  3. I worked at my employer for 6 months before marriage. Shouldn’t I be able to successfully claim an exemption for .5/23 of the pension and 401k monies I earned (half year out of 23 years?

  4. We purchased an automobile for my son (he paid 4k and we paid rest). We put the car in my name, for insurance purposes. She is claiming this as a marital asset. Is she likely to be successful here?

  5. She rents an apartment and pays roughly $600/month. I have paid over $33k in house payments and insurance in the last 2 years. Will I receive credit for what I have paid on the house and if so how much?

  6. She has a “longevity” plan at her work. It takes 10 years to vest. She was at this employer for 7 years before leaving. Can I claim a portion of this?

  7. The $8k in equity she borrowed one week before leaving - is this considered marital debt or exclusively her debt?

Any and all help is appreciated.



  1. Depending on the date that the separation began this could be your debt entirely on the marital home, since you have retained the home. If this is for a vehicle then I believe it would depend on who has the property.

  2. If you have proof of an extramarital affair, it is unlikely that she will be able to ask for alimony. The adultery would dismiss her claim to alimony.

  3. Yes, the money you had prior to the marriage is yours alone, unless you used it for marital purposes…buying property, borrowing against for marital gain…etc.

  4. Not certain about this one…I would think that since the car is in your name, you may owe her 1/2 the value but since the car belongs to your child, it may be considered a gift… I’ll be interested to see the attorney’s response.

  5. Since the date of separation, the home is considered your debt alone. The amount that you have paid towards it and any equity built since that date is yours and not to be divided. The equity built prior to that must be divided but can be negotiated for other marital assets such as the 401K…regardless, the adultery does not negate her claim for this.

  6. I’m not sure what this “longevity” plan is but if the years invested were during the marriage then it is considered a marital asset and therefore should be divided equally.

  7. This could be show to be her debt if you can show the court that it was done solely to increase marital debt in order for the separation to begin.

Hang in there. The attorney’s job is to try to get you to agree to give his client what she is asking for. It does not mean that you have to give in to any and all demands, but they are going to ask for whatever they believe you will give. There may be no knowledge of her adultery prior to leaving the marriage, or the timeline for finances. If you agree to pay alimony then the courts can do nothing to change it. That is your first priority.

From Statute 50-16.3A: If the court finds that the dependent spouse participated in an act of illicit sexual behavior, as defined in G.S. 50-16.1A(3)a., during the marriage and prior to or on the date of separation, the court shall not award alimony.
The adultery does not have an affect on the ED (though in my opinion it should) but does stop her claim for alimony or post separation support. The only thing she is entitled to is 1/2 the marital assets at the time of separation.
She should get used to her “standard of living” being considerably reduced as a direct result of her adultery. But that’s just my opinion…

The judge can order you to pay all of the property taxes, however it will be considered in the final distribution of property in that you will receive a “credit”. The judge may very well order you to pay the taxes in light of the disparity in income. The goal will be to ensure the house is not lost, this maintaining the martial estate.

Your wife is barred from seeking alimony in light of her affair. You will need to prove that she committed adultery to avoid paying her alimony.

Any portion of retirement that is saved (or earned) prior to the marriage is separate property, the growth on the separate portion also remains separate. More often than not, when a pension in involved you will have to bring in an expert to value the pension, and the separate portion. In this case, I would imagine the cost of determining the separate value would more than the separate value is worth since you only have 6 months worth of separate savings.

You will have to prove the car is your son’s as anything in your name is presumed to be marital. Your testimony and documentation showing your son’s contribution should be sufficient.
You are entitled to receive ? of any principal reduction which has been made since the date of separation.

Yes, retirement is marital, whether it is vested or not.

This debt should be considered separate, as it was clearly incurred in anticipation of separation and was not for the benefit of the marriage.