Durham, NC asked in Family Law for North Carolina

Q: I have been married for 7 years, am I entitled to half our assets? He came into the marriage with half a mil.

These assets have grown to 1.4 million since we have been married. My husband is 16 years older than me and is retired. I work (teach). We have 2 small children together. He controls the finances with the exception that I recently started to have my paychecks deposited into my own account (which is linked to his). I pay his health insurance and the kids (half of my salary) and he pays for their private school, food, car insurance, taxes etc. Our house and cars are paid for and he has no debt and I have 7,000 in credit card debt.

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2 Lawyer Answers
Amanda Bowden Houser
Amanda Bowden Houser
Answered
  • Jacksonville, NC
  • Licensed in North Carolina

A: You may be entitled to a portion of what has been earned together as a married couple but what would make you think you are entitled to any portion of what he came into the marriage with (unless he foolishly commingled it with marital assets)? Besides you will likely be getting more than your fair share just in child support. If you want to get a better idea of what you may get consult with a local family law attorney who can review your situation in more detail. Best of luck.

Angela McIlveen
Angela McIlveen
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Charlotte, NC
  • Licensed in North Carolina

A: In NC, marital property consists of assets and debts that were acquired during the marriage. In an equitable distribution case, the court determines whether the property is marital or separate and the value of the marital property. Then the court distributes the marital property in an equitable (fair) way between the parties.

Anything that was acquired prior to the date of marriage is considered the separate property of the spouse that brought it into the marriage. When an asset is separate property and it increases in value during the marriage the court must decide whether the increase in value is marital or separate property. This is usually determined based on whether the gain was passive or active. For example, if the assets have gained passively then the gain would likely be determined to be your husband's separate property. If the assets have increased in value due to active acts then the gain would likely be determined to be marital property. The short answer is you are not entitled to half of the $500K he brought into the marriage. You may be entitled to half of the increase in value.

You should discuss your situation with an attorney as the particular facts of your case can change the analysis. Family law, especially equitable distribution, is a complicated area of the law.

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