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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 102506
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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My wife of 23 years had cancer last sept. a double mastectomy.

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My wife of 23 years had breast cancer last sept. a double mastectomy. Now one year later she just moved out saying I wouldn't change for her. What is my recourse?
Hello friend. My name is XXXXX XXXXX welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice, and, (2) there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies.

I am very sorry for your situation.

You state: "What is my recourse?"

This is a very open-ended question. This depends - what do you wish to do here, i.e. what do you wish to achieve?

This is not an answer, but an Information Request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

She just went out and rented a townhouse and just started moving stuff. We have been married 23 years and practically everything is in both our names. If I had just up and walked out it would be abandonment. But we cannot afford 900.00 dollars a month more in debt and she doesn't understand that.


Thank you. So is your primary concern her taking assets/property? Is this what you wish to stop her from doing?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Does she have the right to just take what she wants out of the house?. I mean, we have a son in college, one in high school and I don't think she is rational because of the cancer. I'm not perfect but here at the holidays? And I don't think she has retained a lawyer.

Thank you, William.

Does she have the right to just take what she wants out of the house?

The answer is "yes and no."

In North Carolina, marital property comes in two forms:

SEPARATE PROPERTY is everything one had before marriage, and/or, inherited by gift, or, received in settlement. This is given to the party that had this.

MARITAL PROPERTY is everything else, and this is divided "equitably," which means fair but not necessarily 50/50. The court shall divide the marital property and divisible property equitably. The court shall consider all of the following factors under this subsection: (A) The income, property, and liabilities of each party at the time the division of property is to become effective. (B) Any obligation for support arising out of a prior marriage. (C) The duration of the marriage and the age and physical and mental health of both parties. (D) The need of a parent with custody of a child or children of the marriage to occupy or own the marital residence and to use or own its household effects. (E) The expectation of pension, retirement, or other deferred compensation rights that are not marital property. (F) Any equitable claim to, interest in, or direct or indirect contribution made to the acquisition of such marital property by the party not having title (G) Any direct or indirect contribution made by one spouse to help educate or develop the career potential of the other spouse. (H) Any direct contribution to an increase in value of separate property which occurs during the course of the marriage. (I) The liquid or nonliquid character of all marital property and divisible property. (J) The difficulty of evaluating any component asset or any interest in a business, corporation or profession. (K) The tax consequences to each party. (L) Any other factor which the court finds to be just and proper. (North Carolina Statutes - Chapter 50 - Sections: 50-20)

See here.

However, this is all on paper until/unless one of you filed in court out of separation/divorce. If so, the Judge then will allow temporary orders prohibiting taking property/assets and spending money beyond necessities until the property is divided at divorce.

However, until/unless a party files in Court for this, then either can take whatever they want because the property is presumed marital until proven otherwise.

So she can do this, but, you can stop her by filing in court (or threatening to do so). Or, simply not allowing her (without violence, of course).

I hope this helps and clarifies. Good luck.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

would you suggest that I seek consultation regardless of her intentions?


I would indeed. And perhaps action if necessary.

May I recommend the NC Bar referral program - here. The attorneys are vetted and qualified. You should be able to find an attorney you are confident with and whom you can trust, and who is available ASAP.

Gentle Reminder: Please use the REPLY button to keep chatting, or RATE and submit your rating when we are finished.
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