When Should I Hire an Attorney?
Many will try to handle family issues without consulting an attorney. This could create problems that last for years and might be detrimental to your finances or future family relationships.
In North Carolina, spouses must be separated for a year prior to filing for divorce. This one-year period begins the day one spouse moves out with the intent to not resume the marriage. A contested divorce is one in which there are one or more pending issues between the spouses. These issues could involve child custody, child support, post-separation support/alimony, and/or equitable distribution of property. If a divorce is finalized prior to addressing equitable distribution of property and/or post-separation support/alimony, you could lose your legal rights with regard to these claims. It is always best to consult with a family law attorney to determine what steps need to be taken prior to filing for divorce. We also handle uncontested divorce, which means there are no pending issues between the parties. This usually means divorcing parties have already settled matters such as property division and child custody. The last step in this process is finalizing the divorce. We will ensure that your legal rights are protected prior to filing a divorce on your behalf.
The decision to separate is a difficult one, and there are many emotions involved. We are here to help you navigate your separation and to ensure your legal rights are protected. We can assist you with Separation Agreements that can address matters such as child custody, child support, alimony, and/or equitable distribution of property. Each separation is unique, and you can depend on us to take your specific needs into consideration. In many cases, a settlement may be reached without having to resort to court action. Contact us today to find out how we can help you plan your next step.
Unfortunately, domestic violence continues to be a widespread problem in North Carolina as well as in other states. Domestic violence can exist in marriages and relationships, both same-sex and opposite-sex. If you find yourself in an abusive relationship or you have been accused of domestic violence, contact us today to find out your legal rights. If you are an abuse victim, you should also contact InterAct of NC for support.
(DIVISION OF PROPERTY)
After child custody, the other component of separation and divorce that is most highly contested is the division of property, which in North Carolina, is called Equitable Distribution. North Carolina law presumes that equal division of assets and debts is equitable, unless one of the parties can prove otherwise. Many times, these matters can be addressed in a Separation Agreement or in a Consent Order. Parties may come to an amicable settlement without having to involve the courts. Many of our clients have successfully used mediation, and have avoided the cost of lengthy court battles. The division of assets and debts can be complicated, and even if you don’t have extensive assets and/or debts, it will still be beneficial to you to consult with an attorney to evaluate your rights and options.
ALIMONY AND POST-SEPARATION SUPPORT
North Carolina law is hazy, at best, when it comes to guidelines for alimony and post-separation support. Unlike some states, North Carolina has no specific guidelines to determine alimony or post-separation support payments. Instead, if the matter is settled in court, a judge takes many factors into consideration, including, but not limited to: length of the marriage, if there were marital misconduct, needs of the spouses, standard of living during the marriage, assets and liabilities of each spouse, and any contribution of a spouse as a homemaker. It is often a gamble to have alimony or post-separation claims addressed in court since there are such vague guidelines. What North Carolina law DOES say regarding alimony and post-separation support is that in order for a court to order alimony, there has to be a supporting spouse and a dependent spouse, and the supporting spouse must have the ability to pay alimony. There are many myths floating around online about alimony and post-separation support, and for that reason, it is best to consult with a family law attorney to find out your legal rights and obligations.
Each parent has an obligation to support their children. North Carolina Child Support Guidelines are very specific, but you may still have questions about what may be counted in the child support worksheet. Child Support in North Carolina is based upon an “income shares” model, and looks at the income of both parties in determining a child support obligation. Other expenses such as medical insurance, childcare, and extraordinary expenses can also come into play. https://ncchildsupport.com/ecoa/cseGuideLines.htm
PATERNITY AND PARENTAL RIGHTS
We can help you establish paternity for your child, and will answer any questions you may have about the legal implications of doing so. Contact us today to find out how we can help.
Child custody is one of the most contested parts of ending a marriage or relationship. We can help you navigate custody matters with sensitivity and an appreciation for your family’s unique situation. We will discuss many different options to navigate custody disputes including mediation and court action, if and when it is needed.
PRENUPTIAL AND POSTNUPTIAL AGREEMENTS
It may be in your best legal interest to protect some or all of your assets, either prior to or after marriage. We can assist you in drafting both prenuptial and postnuptial agreements.
Welcoming a child into your family through adoption is very exciting. We are here to help you handle the legal processes involved, and strive to make the process as easy as possible. We handle private adoptions as well as step-parent adoptions. Schedule a consultation today to find out how we can assist you in your adoption journey.
SURROGACY AND ARTIFICIAL CONCEPTION
Because of advances in medicine over the last several decades, there are many options available to couples that are unable to conceive naturally. There are legal implications with each option, and it is imperative you meet with a family law attorney to discuss them.
LGBTQ-SPECIFIC FAMILY LAW
Fuquay-Varina Family Law fosters an affirming environment for those identifying as gay, bisexual, transgender, genderqueer, or any other non-cisgender identifying persons. LGBTQ-Specific Family Law is ever-changing, and with the legalization of same-sex marriage came a myriad of issues because of the way laws were written. You can count on us to be a strong advocate for you and your family.