In a North Carolina divorce, you’ll have to divide your marital assets. That is to say, any money or property that belongs to both of you must be divided equitably.
Most property acquired during the marriage is considered marital, rather than separate, regardless of whose name is on the title. There are some exceptions, like inheritances and personal gifts. Property you owned before the marriage is generally considered your separate property, but your spouse has a claim on any increase in its value during the marriage.
It’s not simple, unfortunately. The rules of equitable property division are complex, but a good lawyer can help you figure out how they apply in your situation.
Some assets are harder to divide than others, however. Here are three examples:
Valuable collectibles. You may have spent years building your collection of memorabilia, figurines, wine, jewelry or automobiles. Depending on the market, some collections can be worth a lot of money, if you’re willing to part with them.
The challenge often lies in valuing the collection. For that, you may need the opinion of an expert in the field. You and your spouse could agree to accept a certain expert’s opinion, or you could each hire your own expert. When there is more than one expert, you might agree to meet in the middle of the two numbers.
Cryptocurrency. Electronic currency can be hard to value in the short-term because its value fluctuates, sometimes wildly. You may wish to set a specific date that you will both accept as determinative of the e-currency’s value for the purpose of your divorce. Or, you could agree to accept the average of three different dates, for example.
Private club memberships. If you’re a member of a membership-only club, it may have transferrable value. That means that you could sell your membership for money. Or, you may have used household funds to buy in to your club. If your membership is transferrable, it’s relatively easy to determine its value because there is probably an established open-market value. If it is not, it could still be considered a valuable asset to one or both of you.
The first step in dividing a private club membership is contacting the club to understand their policies, such as whether memberships are transferrable and what happens when members divorce. Will the club require at least one spouse to buy a new membership? If it will, that cost could be the best way to value the existing membership.
There are many marital assets – and debts — that require a little more effort to divide. Work with an experienced, compassionate attorney who will go the extra mile for a fair result.