Required Inventory Affidavits of Marital Property
As you may already know, the Piedmont Triad is in a state (North Carolina) that presumes equitable distribution of marital property. Marital property includes all property and assets that have been acquired by one or both spouses during the marriage but before separation. This property, both assets and debts, is to be divided equally between the spouses. Equitable distribution can be avoided if there is a valid prenuptial agreement in place that provides for an unequal distribution of the property acquired during the marriage. For assistance with either a prenuptial agreement or with the equitable distribution process, it is important to have an experienced family law and divorce attorney at your side.
Without a valid prenuptial agreement, equitable distribution is going to be presumed by the court. In order for there to be a 50/50 split of the property, there needs to be a document listing all of the property subject to division, including both assets and debts, along with the value of said property. This document is an inventory affidavit of martial property, also known as an ED affidavit. The date of valuation for these assets and debts is going to be the date of separation. For example, you would need to determine the amount of money that was in the joint checking account as of the date of separation. Note that there are factors for the court to consider for an unequal division of marital property.
As part of the property division case (equitable distribution) in court, you have to list the assets and liabilities of the marriage in the ED affidavit and affirm or swear that the listing is correct before a notary public. You have to make a full and fair disclosure. Without such a disclosure of the assets and liabilities, the court will not be able to accurately divide the property equitably. You would want your spouse to make a full disclosure of their assets, especially any that you do not have access to, so you should do the same in order to make the process as easy as possible.
Of course, you may also settle your property division case without a court proceeding if everyone can agree on all points. This requires complete agreement on what assets are subject to division – i.e., are they martial assets (acquired during the marriage) or separate assets (acquired prior to the marriage or after the date of separation with separate funds). In addition, the parties must agree as to who gets the property and what is the value of each asset and liability.
An experienced attorney can assist in both filling out the ED affidavit accurately and strategically, as well as in negotiating with the other side. The ED affidavit can be used in mediation as a basis for the negotiations, in order to avoid a court proceeding. If the parties are unable to agree on all of the issues, they will have to go to court and a judge will determine how the property that has not been agreed upon will be divided between the spouses.
For assistance with required inventory affidavits of marital property, or any of the wide range of family law and divorce services that we offer here at Woodruff Family Law Group, contact us today to set up an initial consultation. Our knowledgeable attorneys have both the competence and the experience to assist you.