Family Law is a very volatile area of law due to the intense emotions involved at every turn. Our firm prides itself on taking the time to listen and understand what our clients are experiencing every step of the way. Not only do we strive to obtain the best legal result for your case, but we will provide you with the support needed to navigate through this difficult time.
The best way to protect yourself, your children and your assets while going through a divorce, is to seek out the advice of an attorney. Should you seek legal counsel it is imperative you find an attorney you are comfortable working with and trust.
North Carolina does not require a legal separation to obtain a divorce. Most divorces are based on the one year requirement to live separate and apart from your spouse. There is no requirement that you file paperwork with the court upon your separation. However, if there are unresolved marital issues, it is likely in your best interest to enter into a separation agreement. Unresolved marital issues that would warrant entering into a separation agreement include but are not limited to the division of assets, financial accounts, alimony, child custody and child support. Should you and your spouse agree on some or all of the marital issues, a separation agreement can be drafted to fit your individual needs. The separation agreement is enforceable through the courts should one party default on the terms of the agreement. If the parties cannot agree on the marital issues, then you will need to file an action in court where a judge will make the necessary decisions.
Absolute Divorce is obtainable after one year of living separate and apart from your spouse. Once an absolute divorce has been granted, alimony and equitable distribution (the division of marital property) will be barred forever, unless you specifically reserve the right to file at a later date, or if the action has already been filed and is currently pending. Equitable distribution allocates to each party 50% of the property acquired during the life of the marriage. This division includes the right to each spouse’s retirement and/or pension plan from their respective employer. Fault will not be considered in seeking an absolute divorce, it will be a relevant factor for determining alimony and equitable distribution.
A Child Custody determination is based on the best interests of the child. This is a very subjective standard and often the adults involved do not agree on what is truly in the best interest of the child. As children are often the most affected party in a separation or divorce, it is vital the adults refrain from making disparaging remarks about the other party throughout this process.
Child Support determinations are made by considering the gross income of both parents, the cost of health care and daycare, the number of nights the minor child(ren) spend with each parent, and any special needs or additional considerations regarding the care and well being of the child(ren).