The NC Court of Appeals published its opinion this week on a case Jim argued before a special session of the Court in October. Jim was successful in defending equitable distribution, alimony and child support orders entered in Buncombe County last year. The Defendant-Appellant raised fourteen issues on appeal. All but one of which were ruled to be without merit. The equitable distribution and child support orders were affirmed in full, and the alimony order was remanded in part for additional findings on the parties’ expenses.
Judge Valerie Zachary wrote the opinion for this case, and Judge Calabria and Chief Judge McGee concurred. The Court of Appeals upheld the trial court’s adoption of most of the Plaintiff’s proposed findings and conclusions, as well as acceptance of the Plaintiff’s witness as an expert in accounting, and the application of the terms of the parties’ premarital agreement. The trial court’s classification, valuation and distribution of assets in its equitable distribution order were also upheld.
The Court of Appeals specifically upheld the trial court’s use of a coverture fraction to value the marital portion of a TSP and subsequently funded IRA and annuity in the equitable distribution order. The use of the coverture fraction in the context of N.C. Gen. Stat § 50-20.1 and Watkins v. Watkins* was supported by Jim in his brief, and seemed to be of particular interest to the panel during his oral argument before the Court.
The opinion stated in summary, “the trial court’s alimony order must be reversed and remanded for entry of additional findings concerning the parties’ expenses. We conclude that the trial court did not otherwise err and that in all other respects, its equitable distribution, child support and alimony orders should be affirmed.”
The full published opinion on Kabasan v. Kabasan (COA 17-254) is embedded below, and can be found on the N.C. Appellate Courts website.
*Watkins v. Watkins, 228 N.C. App. 548, 746 S.E.2d 394 (2013).