During a North Carolina divorce, both spouses can trust that the outcome for property division will be fair. That is because state law requires the equitable distribution of a couple’s marital property based on their personal circumstances.
A judge will look at everything from your earning potential and health to your custody arrangements to determine what would be fair and appropriate. Unfortunately, there are certain people out there who will stop at nothing to try to lash out at their spouse at the end of a relationship.
What are a few of the ways that your spouse could unfairly affect the property division process?
By hiding or not disclosing assets
The only way that you can ask for your fair share of the marital property is if you know what assets you’ve accumulated during your marriage and their approximate worth. Some people will not disclose all of the property they have or intentionally undervalue their biggest assets.
Some will go a step further than that and actively try to hide financial accounts or even physical property from their spouse. If you notice discrepancies on financial statements or if valuable physical assets seem to have gone missing from your house or are not on the marital property inventory, those could be warning signs of hidden property.
By trying to diminish the marital estate
Some people are happy to take less in the divorce if it means that their spouse gets less, too. When one spouse attempts to diminish the marital estate out of spite, their actions likely constitute marital dissipation, which can influence how the judge divides the remaining property.
Giving valuable items away for free or selling them for a fraction of their fair market value is one form of dissipation. Accruing large amounts of debt or emptying savings accounts is another form. Extensive spending on activities that benefit one spouse only or that actively damage the relationship is another. Anything from gambling away half of your home’s equity to spending thousands on hotel rooms during an affair might be marital dissipation.
Recognizing ways that your spouse could try to make the divorce unfair will help you fight back against those underhanded tactics during property division proceedings.