What if I sell the car?


#1

My spouse is having a mid life crisis. Over the course of our marriage (+10 years) my spouse hasn’t really paid for anything that you can physically put your hands on as far as property. I’ve been fine with this actually because my primary goal has always been to give my kids the best life as possible. Now that the spouse is on this little mentail trip I see potential for us not being together in the next few years. Right now we still are but it is possible that we may not be in a few years. Obviously, I am now starting to think about all the things that I have worked my rear end off for being handed to to the spouse that really didn’t put anything into those things. I know in the statutes how much a spouse financially contributed to property is something that is considered when ED occurs. Anything of any vaule was purchased soley by me and it has always been that way becuase the spouse just doesn’t care to ccontribute.

Now my questions:

1.) We each have cars. I paid for them entirely. I hate to ask such a direct question but what’s to stop me from just giving mine or both vehicles to my parents to where they are out of my name? They are both in my name soley and again we are still married. Can I do this?

2.) How about bank accounts? My spouse does very poorly with money management and I learned that very early on and I wisely have kept separate accounts. My spouse has an account…with nothing in it most of the time…and I have several thousand dollars in mine. I just pay for everything and consider it the cost of making sure my kids have a good life. Can I just cash my account out right before we separate?

3.) The spouse has racked up >$15k in credit card debit despite an agreement many years ago that we never have credit cards after I paid them all off. This credit card was hidden from me until recently. With just the spouse’s name on the credit card and the fact that it was hidden from me despite our agreement, will I be liable for any of this?

What realistically happens in the court room. I know there are laws but what realllly happens in the court room?

I can’t possibly be the first person to ask these questions but I have not seen anyone directly ask them yet so I figured I will. It is a crying shame that it may come to this but sometimes you have no control over things.

Thank you so much for this forum.


#2
  1. Despite how the cars are titled, or who paid for them they are marital property and subject to distribution by the court.
  2. No, same answer as before, the cash is marital property.
  3. Yes, more than likely the purchases will qualify as marital debt and the debt will be distributed. If it is all distributed to you it will be accounted for in the final distribution.

#3

While what you say is certainly true in an active separation and or divorce (and marriage for that matter), it is also true that if a couple is married and not in an active separation or divorce, there is no law in place within NC that prevents a spouse from doing exactly what is questioned in points one and two. If prior to any separation, a vehicle is sold for even a $1 to a parent, and title transferred to that parent, the vehicle is no longer marital property and would not even be considered in ED since it belongs to someone else. Same thing for the money. Prior to a separation, people are free to do with their money what they please so long as it is within the bounds of the law. If you take all of the money out, because you can, and give it to someone else it now belongs to who you gave it to and is no longer marital propery subject to ED.

Is the above paragraph a true statement?

Yes, I know this is an ugly way of looking at things but divorce is ugly as well. You hear about people doing things like this. The question is considering the circumstances stated, what’s to stop someone from doing so. If I was asking this from the perspective of my spouse, I would want to know what would prevent my spouse from doing what is suggested in points one or two.

Hopefully none of this will never come to reality!


#4

You can sell anything you want at any time, technically. However, you need to know that there may be consequences if you are later challenged by your ex in an equitable distribution. Your ex could challenge the transfers (sales) and the withdrawal of cash as wasting of marital assets. If the judge agrees with your ex, then those monies/property will be put back into the marital pot and he will receive his share of those items as if you never sold/spent them. If one party alleges waste, it is up to the judge to decide. Giving or selling marital property to anyone right before a separation will almost certainly be viewed as an attempt to avoid distribution.