No two marriages are the same. As a result, no two divorces are the same either. And while the basic process of getting a divorce is used for everyone, different people will have different issues which are paramount. For high asset couples, property division can be a cumbersome issue to resolve and may require special considerations.
North Carlina is an equitable distribution state. This means the primary goal is not to divide property evenly, but fairly. At the outset of any divorce, the court will classify all of the couple’s property as either marital property or separate property. Separate property is that which was owned entirely by one spouse and will usually remain with that spouse. Marital property is everything else and will be divided according to the principal of equitable distribution.
For high asset couples, marital property can be extensive and wide-ranging. In fact, it’s common for one spouse not to know the extent of some marital property – or even of its existence. For these couples, using a forensic accountant may be a necessity that would be useless in other divorces. The accountant can ensure that all assets are properly traced and identified before it is distributed.
Another consideration which can be of particular benefit to high asset couples is that of mediation. Equitable distribution is undertaken by the court. And while a judge will do their best to ensure the distribution is done fairly, that’s no guarantee the parties will feel the same. If, instead, the spouses are still able to communicate and work together, mediation will permit them to divide the property according to the own wishes, in a way they deem fair. This can help avoid disappointment and bad feelings, which often result from a contested divorce.