Since becoming an attorney in 2000, attorney Blair Cody of Helton, Cody & Associates, PLLC, has fought for the interests and concerns of those he represents in every family law case. He always makes certain your story is told. The firm serves clients throughout Catawba, Burke, and Caldwell counties.
When it comes to your divorce, we are not interested in going through the motions when it comes to legal proceedings. Instead, we strive towards providing you with the best possible legal representation at an affordable rate. We understand the process for dividing belongings during divorce, and our goal is to provide you with the best available outcome. When coming to our office, we will listen to you and review your options. We will then put together the sort of legal strategy that best meets your needs.
Property division is often one of the most contested issues in a divorce. It’s natural for divorcing spouses to want to protect their respective best interests. However, the emotional aspects of divorce can influence some divorcing spouses to make hasty or even spiteful decisions. North Carolina upholds an equitable distribution statute for resolving property division. While this law aims for fairness and is generally preferred over community property law, property division in equitable distribution states can be complex and time-consuming.
When you choose Helton, Cody & Associates to represent you in a divorce, we can help you understand the various elements of the property division process and help you determine the best approach to your case. Regardless of your individual financial concerns, we will help you understand North Carolina’s property division law and approach the property division process with clarity and peace of mind.
North Carolina has in place an equitable distribution process when it comes to division of property during a divorce. The courts in North Carolina have great discretion in deciding how property should be divided during divorce. The property and assets may not be split evenly. Instead, courts try to divide property fairly.
When making such determinations, the court may look at how long you were married, your education, age and health, custody and visitation considerations, and how much you and your spouse contributed to the acquisition of assets while the marriage took place.
Sometimes the process for dividing assets is not easy. The assets a couple acquires during a marriage can include stock options, job benefits, and investment and retirement accounts. Calculating the value of the assets can be tricky. Also, sometimes couples may have considerable debt, and dividing this debt also requires analysis.
As an experienced lawyer, attorney Blair Cody offers dependable services concerning even the most complex asset division matters. At Helton, Cody & Associates, PLLC, we will analyze your situation and provide you with a number of legal avenues you can pursue. We also have access to appraisers, accountants, and experts who can review your circumstances and testify on your behalf.
The first stage of the property division process in any divorce is financial disclosure. Both spouses must provide complete and accurate financial records for all the assets and debts. A financial disclosure statement will likely include bank records, investment account statements, retirement account statements, cryptocurrency account information, and detailed lists of physical assets and real property. Financial disclosure also applies to debts.
A divorcing spouse must be honest in financial disclosure. While you may have trouble accepting that you will need to divide some of your property with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, do not be tempted to hide assets or obfuscate the financial disclosure process. Doing so can have severe consequences, including contempt of court or even criminal prosecution. Additionally, if you try to hide assets and the judge discovers this, they may hold you liable for your spouse’s legal fees.
A Hickory property division lawyer can help you complete your financial disclosure statement. If you believe your spouse has been untruthful regarding their statement, we can help you address these concerns by working with forensic accountants and other experts capable of accurately reviewing you and your spouse’s respective financial records.
In a divorce, North Carolina law differentiates between “separate” and “marital” property. Separate property is anything a spouse owns that does not qualify for property division. This usually includes property and debt they held before getting married, gifts they received during the marriage, and property inherited from their parents and other family members. Marital property is everything else that is subject to equitable distribution. This includes income earned by both spouses during their marriage, jointly owned real property, and assets purchased using shared funds. It’s also possible for separate property to qualify as marital property if the original owner adds their spouse as a co-owner or refinances property with their spouse as a cosigner.
Your financial disclosure statement must include records of ownership that prove your individual property ownership rights. If any disputes arise regarding separate and marital property designations, your attorney can help you determine the best possible resolutions to these issues.
If you take your divorce to court, the judge overseeing the case has the final say on every aspect of your divorce, including property division. For this reason, many couples across the United States are choosing alternative dispute resolution to settle their divorce cases. Divorce mediation and other alternative dispute resolution methods can allow a divorcing couple to retain more control over the outcome of their divorce.
As long as you and your spouse agree to alternative dispute resolution, it’s possible to negotiate a property division agreement privately, allowing for more individualized and preferable terms to property division than a family court judge would likely determine. However, it’s important to remember that you cannot settle every aspect of your divorce through alternative dispute resolution. For example, if you and your spouse have children, custody must be decided by a family court judge who will evaluate what type of custody arrangement would best suit your child’s needs and interests. The same applies to child support determination, but you and your spouse can negotiate a property division settlement that includes alimony terms. Once you draft your agreement, you must submit it to the family court for a judge’s final review and approval. As long as the judge deems the agreement to align with North Carolina law, they will likely approve it with few to no changes.
In most equitable distribution states, judges who resolve property division aim to avoid any need for ongoing alimony or spousal support arrangements between the spouses. Therefore, if possible, the judge will award a more significant share of marital property to one spouse to offset the need for an ongoing alimony order. However, this is not always possible. For example, if one spouse was entirely financially dependent on the other for many years, or if they are unable to work and support themselves independently after divorce due to health issues, the judge may order alimony as part of the divorce.
It’s possible for divorcing spouses to negotiate alimony terms in alternative dispute resolution. It’s also possible for a divorcing couple with a prenuptial contract to use their prenup as a guide for the divorce process. For example, many couples develop prenuptial contracts for financial reasons. These contracts can protect the spouses from one another’s debts, outline the terms that will apply to the financial aspects of divorce, and ultimately streamline a future divorce. However, the prenuptial contract must be legally enforceable to influence a property division determination.
The outcome of a property division dispute can potentially influence your life for many years to come. In addition, some divorcing spouses may face burdensome financial obligations, and others may struggle with tax-related issues following property division. Having an experienced Hickory property division lawyer to guide you through your case will significantly reduce the chances of encountering complex issues like these. Helton, Cody & Associates has extensive experience helping clients in the Hickory, NC, area with difficult divorce cases, and we can provide the answers you need to your most challenging property division questions.
When going through divorce, it is only natural you have concerns regarding the division of your property. If you wish to make an appointment to speak to us, please contact Helton, Cody & Associates, PLLC in Hickory by calling 828-328-9966. We will do what is necessary to get the right results for you.