Can separate property be encumbered as a per a divorce decree?

UPDATED: Aug 20, 2011

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Can separate property be encumbered as a per a divorce decree?

I now live in NH (last 3 years). My sister and brother are in NC. We inherited land from my grandparents who willed it to us as tenants in common under NC law. I just received divorce decree from divorce trial. The judge ordered me to apply for mortgage against land and give lump sum to wife. Is the land protected under NC law from being considered marital property, and can the judge order me to put lien against the property.

Asked on August 20, 2011 Massachusetts


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You need to have someone help you with this matter who can read the trial transcript and the decree.  You realize that in North Carolina assets of a marriage are divided under the law known as "equitable distribution."  It does not mean equal and generally, inherited property is separate property for this purpose.  But is can take on a dual classification and a Judge has a lot of latitude in encumbering separate property in order to properly divide marital assets "equitably."  But the court can not effect the rights of others which it may have done here because the property is not only yours.  Please seek legal help.  Good luck.

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