Greensboro Divorce Lawyer
When clients come to us in need of help with a divorce settlement, they are often going through a period in their lives that is somewhat chaotic. Everything they and their spouse own are being put on a negotiating table and divided up. The equity of the final settlement can go a long way towards determining the quality of a client’s life moving forward. With so much uncertainty going on around them, people need to know that a reliable attorney has their back. That’s where we come in.
The Greensboro divorce lawyer at Roupas Law Firm has over 25 years’ experience in legal practice and it’s now over 17 years since Attorney Tom Roupas founded our firm. That experience gives us the nuanced understanding of North Carolina law that our clients rely on. Furthermore, we deliver our reasoned legal counsel in a manner that is efficient, and respectful of the client’s time. We know how to research, and we know how to fight through the legal system. Our Greensboro office serves clients throughout Guilford County and all over Alamance, Rockingham, and Randolph counties.
Equitable Distribution in a North Carolina Divorce
North Carolina is one of 41 states that use the principle of equitable distribution in dividing up property during a divorce settlement. It’s important to point out that a small difference in word choice can have significant legal—and financial implications. That choice is the word “equitable”, which is not the same as “equal”.
In an equal settlement, each spouse would get half of the property. But an equitable settlement leaves more room for interpretation. It simply means that the settlement must be seen as fair to each party. This is often in the eye of the beholder—and if a settlement can’t be reached in negotiation, that beholder will be a North Carolina family law judge. It also means that the quality of one’s legal counsel—both the diligence of their research and the effectiveness of their advocacy—might become a crucial factor.
Marital Property vs. Separate Property
Even before beginning equitable distribution discussions, property must first be classified as marital or separate. Marital property is that which belongs to the spouses jointly. Separate property belongs to a particular spouse individually. Spouses get all of their separate property in a settlement. It is only marital property that is subject to equitable distribution.
Having said that, the legal definition of what constitutes separate property is tighter than is commonly realized. To be separate property, the spouse must have owned the asset prior to the marriage or received it as a gift (i.e., an inheritance).
Furthermore, an asset that is generally separate property, might be at least partially marital property. The stock portfolio that was owned prior to the marriage is separate property—except for the value that accrued in it after the wedding date. The same goes for real estate. Inheritance money that was commingled into joint bank accounts may now be marital property.
All of which is to say that separating marital property and separate property can require a lot of detail and analysis. Good attorneys with diligent staff make sure they’re combing over every detail in pursuit of a fair settlement for their clients.
"After the call not only was I treated with kindness and respect, I was totally confident that Attorney Roupas could handle my case!"- Candice T.