"Grey" Divorce


#1

My parents are 78 and 80 and will be eligible for divorce in just over 2 months. They will have been married for 58 years. At the time my father walked out, he said “Take the house. Sell it. I don’t care.” So they jointly listed the home, sold it and then they both endorsed the check for the proceeds. My Father then told my Mom that since the house proceeds roughly equaled his IRA value, she should take the full amount of the house proceeds to get her life started on her own. Which she did. They moved into separate homes in May of last year, they sold the house and she’s had the proceeds since June of last year.

He is now regretting his decision to walk out and wants to reconcile, but my mother does not. Since there are no other assets other than individual cars, his IRA and her bank account (which is 100% the proceeds from the house), does he have anything to go after? My mother is terrified that she will be left penniless. Since his IRA is roughly the same value as her bank account, it appears the best course of action is simply an absolute divorce because their assets are already 50/50. There are no other assets besides two indiv. cars.

Lastly, once the divorce is final, he cannot request anything from her bank account?


#2

He could still file an equitable distribution action in court which would seek for the court to equitably divide the marital property. From what you’ve described however, it does appear that if a balance sheet was made distributing the value of each asset that each is keeping, then each would have roughly equal value of the marital estate (this does not take into account that the IRA funds are not the same as the liquid cash in the bank account). Note that any marital debt existing at the date of separation, if any, should be included in the analysis as well.

Once the absolute divorce has been entered, he will no longer be able to ask the court to divide the marital property.


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.


#3

Thank you! I’ve been trying to tell my Father that the value of his IRA less taxes over time for distributions would equal the cash value of the home proceeds that my Mother now has, making it almost an equal distribution. The taxes, fees, and time associated with breaking up an IRA would grossly outweigh a few thousand dollars difference as it stands today. There is no additional outstanding debt between them. All that remains are vehicles, which are paid for. Am I incorrect in this statement? Thanks again!!


#4

You are likely correct.


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.