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Raleigh Divorce Law Blog

The Ashley Madison hack: bad news for some, good news for others

If you're the type of person who actively tries to avoid scandalous news stories, then you may not have heard the entire story about the hack on an infamous website called Ashley Madison. The site, as some of our Garner readers know, is a dating website geared toward married people, helping them to commit adultery without their spouses knowing about it.

But when the site was hacked recently, millions of user names and email addresses were leaked on the Internet, giving anyone with access to a search engine the means to see if their friends, family members or significant others were users on the site. In some cases, such as the one showcased by NPR this month, email addresses were stolen and used on the site, making it look like someone was cheating when they weren't. But in many other cases, such as the ones mentioned by a CNN Money article, salacious activities were confirmed, giving way to the possibility of divorce.

Is it illegal to hide marital assets during a divorce?

If you have a curiosity about family law topics as some of our more frequent readers do, then we suggest you look at a property division post we wrote back in June of last year regarding hidden assets. As those who read the post learned, hiding assets prior to dissolving a marriage isn't exactly a new concept, as those who are well-versed in family law will tell you. But what is new is the method in which some are choosing to do so.

For those who didn't read our post, the way in which some are choosing to hide assets is through the use of Bitcoins, a digital currency that is not backed by any national government or banking institution. Virtually untraceable, Bitcoins provide an avenue for high-asset individuals to hide large sums of money prior to the distribution of marital property in the hopes of reclaiming it later after a court judge has already divided marital assets.

Does a legal separation trigger a prenuptial agreement?

Here in North Carolina, as some of our more regular readers already know, there are two ways of separating from your spouse. The first is through divorce, which dissolves a marriage and triggers the division of a couple's assets and starts discussions about child custody, child support and alimony payments in some situations.

The second is through a legal separation, which allows spouses to live separately and even make decisions regarding property division, child custody and support, and alimony payments. The difference between a legal separation and a divorce though is the fact that the couple remains legally married after a legal separation until such a time when the couple decides to legally dissolve the marriage through a divorce.

How fads can wreak havoc on property division

Here in North Carolina, as many of our more frequent readers know, property is divided during a divorce using the standard of equitable distribution. This legal principle does not necessarily require the courts to divide property equally but instead requires courts to do it fairly. With some marital property, valuation may be necessary in order to determine what the property is worth and how it can be distributed equitably.

For those who don't know, valuation of property is based on current market value, meaning whatever someone is willing to pay for the item now is what the item is worth at the time property is divided. While valuation amounts may remain true for years and years, such as with priceless pieces of artwork, the same is not true for all property. To illustrate this point, we'd like our Wake County readers to consider the Beanie Baby craze and the effect it had on divorces during the '90s.

How a forensic accountant can help you in a high-asset divorce

When it comes to the divorce process, most people find property division to be the most frustrating step. For the average couple, untangling assets can be a real challenge, especially if the couple has been married for more than a decade. But for high-asset couples, frustration often arises because of one simple question: is my spouse hiding any assets from me that I don't know about?

As some of our more frequent readers may remember, we held a conversation a few weeks ago about hidden assets on our blog. In our post, we explained that not everyone is as forth coming about their assets in high-asset divorces. In fact, some individuals have been known to partake in surreptitious activities that actively seek to hide assets, whether by means of transferring money to friends or through elaborate schemes using shell corporations and offshore accounts.

Are wills affected by divorce in North Carolina?

It'd be ridiculous to assume that everyone in North Carolina, including our Raleigh readers, would be experts in all aspects of family law. We here at the Breeden Law Office understand that because of most people's limited understanding of the law, a lot of questions that get raised sometimes go unanswered, especially if an individual does not seek help from a skilled divorce attorney.

Here on our blog though, we like to provide help to North Carolina residents who have questions about the family law process. In today's post, we'd like to answer a question that might not immediately get asked by most people after filing for divorce despite its importance. Having the answer to this question could mean the difference between having your end-of-life wishes executed exactly how you want and finding out that your ex-spouse will inherit some of your wealth. Let's take a look.

How a legal separation agreement can save you money

Contemplating divorce often involves imagining how you might provide for yourself and your children without the daily physical and financial assistance of your current spouse. For example, you may soon require the assistance of a day care or babysitter's services in situations where your spouse would currently provide those duties at no cost. Additionally, you may experience difficulty finding gainful employment if you have been a homemaker for several years. You may also have trouble figuring out how you might arrange to keep your child's other parent involved in their lives while at the same time living apart from your spouse.

Fortunately, North Carolina allows divorcing spouses to settle many of these issues out-of-court. In fact, you can arrange terms of a legal separation agreement with your spouse that can settle matters related to child support, spousal support (alimony), child visitation rights and even the distribution of marital property.

Marital rape still a serious problem

If you're getting a separation or divorce, one of the things you may be interested in knowing about is marital rape. Rape is nothing you should accuse someone of for the sake of a divorce, but understanding that the law recognizes that even married couples can be victims of rape can help you in the process of filing for divorce or separation.

First of all, marital rape is no different from any other kind of rape. It simply means that a husband or wife raped his or her partner. Any non-consensual sexual act, even if it's with someone you're married to, is rape. And just like any other kind of rape, that involving spouses is illegal.

How can I uncover hidden money in my high-asset divorce?

Proper valuation of your marital wealth is arguably the first thing you should consider in your high-asset divorce. North Carolina is considered an "equitable distribution" state. Many people wrongly believe that means that a court will simply divide a divorcing couple's estate in half because that phrase contains the word equitable.

In reality, however, a court will strive to enforce an equitable balance between the wealth accumulated by both spouses throughout the course of the marriage and their individual needs. For example, it may not be equitable for the court to grant a 50-50 split of the marital wealth to a spouse of a 20-year marriage who contributed to the family primarily as a homemaker -- particularly if that spouse does not possess other marketable skills. A court in that situation may consider awarding that spouse a larger portion of the marital estate.

Equitable division of your assets must be fair to you

When you decided to get a divorce, one of the things you may have worried about was how your assets were going to be divided. You've probably heard horror stories about how a husband or wife has left the other with nothing after the divorce, and that can put you on edge. The important thing to realize is that most of the time, your assets will need to be split equitably. That means that no one will walk away without anything.

North Carolina's laws require that property and debts should be distributed equitably. That's not equally, but in a fair manner. What that means is that you can argue for why you should receive certain assets or why you shouldn't receive certain debts. For example, if you can prove that a debt was created by your wife for her own purposes only, you may not end up needing to split that debt with her. However, if the debt is shared, then it would be more likely that it would be split among you.

Firm founder Jonathan Breeden has earned his nickname of "The Bulldog." He takes a direct, straight ahead approach at resolving his client's family law, criminal law, and business related problems. He knows when it's in your best interests to negotiate a resolution or litigate your case in court.
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