Separate property in divorce

I’m sorry for all my recent posts, however I am in a bad way, and my stress level is to the ceiling…possibly being driven to have a heart attack/stroke/breakdown.
As mentioned prior, My age presently 74, married in 2013 to present husband aware I lost my entire wealth in yr 2005 taken by a bigamist con-artist/criminal. Got an annulment from the bigamist in 2006 appx. And still have severe anxiety on medication.
Only thing left from ravage in 2005 is owning my very old, small home. living on a small pension SS, supporting my daughter and grandchild (7). Home has been deteriorating badly since married in 2013, having not the funds to renovate. No CAC heat, as well. Value is low. I have NO savings, no back up.
When married in 2013 I moved in with my husband to be with him in a house of his mother’s with his mother (now 96) where he has lived for 40+yrs taken care of his mother, while I still had to support my own home and family leaving me struggling every month financially. Tho he begged me to marry him, he acted cold/strange right after marriage, and was made to feel like a stranger by both himself and his mother, but I hung in there.
My daughter back at my own home had what most would call a nervous breakdown. I moved back into my own home to take care of her responding to her pleas SOS. After a time she improved, and about to move back in with husband, BUT on stay overnight I discovered by fluke 10 pigs of FB messages on husband’s computer indicating to me husband had never stopped being involved with a married woman throughout our courtship, engagement, marriage and to date of my discovery. (Learned later this was an affair going on for 20yrs+) Devastated I instead did not move in again with husband and went back to my own home. Husband wanted no divorce and to save our marriage…he said. We continued talking oodles of times per day and seeing each other all the time, and so it continued on. Husband leading me to believe he would buy a house for “us”, fix up my old home (hahah) and we would all come together, presumably after his mother passed. Amazing how yrs go by. THEN he buys a house in cash over a yr ago(2020)t titled in his name only for 125k only after myself and my daughter approved of it for we could all move in right away. Two doors down from his mother’s house. This was to be a family home for myself, my daughter and grandchild who my husband adores, and later he would move into when his mother passed on. A better life for all of us, and certainly me suffering from arthritis/sciatica inflamed by living in my old damp home without heat or air central. He sat down with us, and he told he would add my name to title. I would eventually sell my own home or rent it, and when I did, I would be then able to share some of the costs of water and electricity on the house he bought. My daughter and I go into action to get the “new house” ready for us to move into asap, and then deal later with my own home which would be vacant. My daughter used her school money, and I used money from my equity loan on my own home to repaint, buy furniture, etc etc for the “new home” which was bare/vacant. A huge hardship to do. Vince did buy several appliances over time. TILT. Husband acting VERY ODD during and from this time on. His true character is showing, full of outright series of bad deceptions, lies, causing both myself and my daughter severe stress, and for myself major anxiety. He’s throwing up obstacles delaying our move in with his HIDDEN agendas unspoken. After investing time, money we did not have, having the house looking beautiful thru far, my back against the wall with my own home in even worse shape and looking unliveable …for one BIG example. After pinning him down about his attitude and actions, he then tells me he will NEVER add my name to title of his house to give ME, all of us security. MAJOR BLOW. He’ll give me a life estate, but he doesn’t move on that either. using it as another stall, stringing me out…MUCH more cruelty in this…but bottom line my health is not good with my pains and anxiety, and finally I myself move into his house, after he goes on a tirade a few months back when my daughter (41) had her boyfriend from out of town spends the night. My husband made sure there was NO heat and water ice cold without our knowledge which effected my granddaughter as well, until the boyfriend left.
He keeps doing and acting badly. Emotionally abusive for sure. It seems he has had hidden agendas from the time we met on… Doesn’t speak truth, loves playing games with my life, all the signs of a woman-hater. Bottom line he has made sure everything is in his name only. everything separate property like the house paid by his stocks acquired yrs before marriage, and of course his stock itself worth to date probably about a million alone besides anything else. At my old age, with his promises he would always take care of me, I am in a VERY bad situation, for the only way he is taking care of me is by putting the knife in my back, I am suspicious he is and has been cheating still, tho no proof as yet for anything current. He NOW wants me to pay utilities for his house. I don’t have a dime to spare and he knows it. This may be his sly way of many of getting me out of his house by demanding utilities for starters and if I don’t comply cause I don;t even have money to do so, he will cut the utilities.
MY QUESTION IS: obviously everything is his separate property, but I READ that NC divorce laws considers an equitable share depending on situation of parties, age, financial, health, cheating spouses, mental abuse, etc etc etc. So is there any exceptions to the separate property rule?
DO I HAVE A LEG TO STAND ON In ANY WAY…ANY benefit awarded to me from 8 yrs of marriage…in a divorce. And will an attorney take my case with all fees paid by husband only?
There has to be some justice in this. I am thinking how I handle him should he cut off utilities alone right now with me not having money for an attorney.
My daughter (41) is having huge amount of depression, anger even towards me for what my husband has done…her having put out so much money making his house set up for her and my grandchild to live in this “new house”. Money for what she can’t get back??
The selfishness, greed, want of control, alone is off the wall.
Sorry, for this.

Equitable distribution divides the marital property 50/50 assuming 50/50 is equitable. If 50/50 is not equitable, then the marital property will be divided unequally.

Your husband’s separate property cannot be divided in equitable distribution unless marital funds were used to make improvements to separate property, pay a mortgage on separate property, contribute to a separate investment account with marital funds, etc.

There are several factors that could sway property division to an unequal division if equal would be unequitable. Check out our article Is the division of property always fifty-fifty? What factors are considered in an unequal distribution of property? (rosen.com) for a list of the statutory factors.

You may be entitled to postseparation support and alimony as it appears that you have been the dependent spouse and he has been the supporting spouse throughout the marriage.

If your husband turns off the utilities without your consent, then you will have to file in court against him for equitable distribution, postseparation support, and alimony.

You can seek reimbursement of your attorney’s fees for a postseparation support and alimony case, but attorney’s fees are not allowable for equitable distribution. You would have to pay your attorney first and then a judge, after a hearing, could order that your husband pay your attorney’s fees or reimburse you.


Anna Ayscue

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

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