I have a divorce pending that is somewhat complicated, though it shouldn’t be and could use some direction as to how the court handles equitable distribution. Here’s some background:
- I make in excess of $65K yearly.
- He makes approximately $40K yearly.
- We have two daughters and are splitting custody 50-50, with no support claimed by either parent.
- We have a house with an FHA loan. The mortgage is in his name, the deed is in both names. We purchased this house through at $20K gift from my mother, but the $20K was split into two “gifts” (one in my name, one in his) of $10K each to avoid paying tax.
- He moved out approximately one year and nine months ago; I have paid the mortgage since that time, and have claimed all mortgage deductions on my taxes, with his knowledge that I was doing so.
- We sat down and agreed in principle on a number of items to be addressed in the divorce (custody, who claims which child on their taxes, repayment of back taxes); other items, such as repayment of personal loans from his father to us as a married couple were still up in the air. We also agreed that I would try to refinance the property in my name in order to get his name off the mortgage, and that he would be paid approximately 5% of the equity of the house based on value at the time of separation.
- I am now engaged and living with my fiance; we both have joint custody of our respective children. I am the sole supporter for our household (he’s Mr. Mom).
- At one point, we had an incident that I guess would be considered domestic violence. I eventually filed a report with the local Sheriff’s Department but did not press charges. As I understand it, a deputy did visit him to ask for his side of the story, but as no charges were ever filed, that is the extent of the investigation that was completed.
Here is where it gets hairy. I doubt that I can refinance the house in my name; I have credit issues and of course, there’s the massive credit crunch going on for those of us with sub-prime credit. So then here are questions:
- If I cannot refinance the house into my name, can he force me to sell?
- If we do sell, how does North Carolina’s equitable distribution statute look at the equity in the home, and where does the $20K my mother gifted to us come in?
- If he decides to take possession of the house, can I force him to pay my equity in the property before he can take possession from me?
- If my name is on the deed but not on the mortgage, does this mean I am on the mortgage somewhere (i.e. - my name is listed as on the deed and mortgage but not the part of the mortgage that encompasses the promissary note)?
- Does my engagement and role as sole provider for my fiance and children play any role in the court’s decision about equitable distribution?
- If we cannot amicably agree on conditions for the divorce, what role does the report I filed with the sheriff play?
I am so sorry for all the questions but this has gotten snarled way worse than I ever thought it would. At one point, we had it worked out but suddenly, it’s gotten way more complicated. We’re doing out best to remain amicable but I’ve got a sneaky feeling it’s heading downhill.