Category: Equitable Distribution

Jim successfully defends orders on appeal

Jim Siemens, Court of Appeals

Jim Siemens presenting his argument before the Court of Appeals in October.

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).

Jim Siemens Argues Before Court of Appeals in Sparta, NC

Court of Appeals

Jim Siemens presenting his argument before Judge Zachary, Chief Judge McGee and Judge Calabria.

Jim Siemens traveled last week to the mountain town of Sparta, North Carolina to present an oral argument before the Court of Appeals. The argument was part of a special session celebrating the 50th anniversary of the NC Court of Appeals, holding a session of court in a hometown or county with a special connection for each judge. Jim’s case followed a criminal case from Watauga County, and the session drew a small crowd from the Sparta community.

Jim appeared before Chief Judge Linda McGee, Judge Valerie Zachary and Judge Ann Marie Calabria in the Alleghany County Courthouse. He argued in support of three orders on the issues of equitable distribution, alimony and child support. All three orders were drafted by Jim and entered last year by the district court judge presiding in Buncombe County, and are now challenged on appeal by the Defendant.

Jim defended his positions on valuing marital assets including retirement accounts and real property; the use of date of distribution exchange rates to value Brazilian real property; the application of the terms of the parties’ premarital agreement for an equal division of the marital estate; and determining the Plaintiff’s status as a dependent spouse for establishing terms of alimony.

The Court was particularly interested in the issue of valuing the marital portion of a Thrift Savings Plan and subsequently funded IRA and annuity in the equitable distribution trial. Jim gave further support for his argument pertaining to valuing deferred compensation using a coverture fraction in the context of N.C. Gen. Stat. § 50-20.1 and Watkins v. Watkins.*

After Jim’s strong argument before the panel, he now waits for a decision from the Court. More information about the judges on the panel and the Court of Appeals of North Carolina can be found on nccourts.org. More information about the special session can be found on the Twitter page for the NC Judicial Branch.

*Watkins v. Watkins, 228 N.C. App. 548, 746 S.E.2d 394 (2013).

Jim Siemens, Court of Appeals

Jim arguing before the N.C. Court of Appeals. Photo by Chris Mears/NC Judicial Branch.

Alleghany County Courthouse

Alleghany County Courthouse in Sparta, N.C. Photo by Chris Mears/NC Judicial Branch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jim Siemens, Court of Appeals

Jim answering questions from the panel.    Photo by Chris Mears/NC Judicial Branch.

Court of Appeals

Judge Calabria, Judge McGee and Judge Zachary. Photo by Chris Mears/NC Judicial Branch.