In North Carolina, the purpose of divorce is to dissolve or terminate a marriage. Without competent divorce or separation counsel, divorce can have a devastating impact on:
- your life
- your property
- any claims for spousal support
To obtain a divorce in North Carolina, you must be separated continuously for at least one year before filing for divorce by living in different residences with the intent to live separate and apart. Proof of fault is not required. Any claims for post-separation support, alimony, or equitable distribution must be made or reserved before the granting of absolute divorce or you risk those claims being barred.
For help with your divorce, you should meet with an experienced Monroe divorce attorney to review your situation.
Grounds for Divorce
To obtain a divorce in North Carolina, you must be separated continuously for at least one year before filing for divorce by living in different residences with the intent to live separate and apart. Proof of fault is not required. This can make things easier on a couple divorcing because you do not need to allege and then prove abandonment, infidelity, or another fault-based ground.
Untangling Your Finances
If you have been married for any length of time, chances are good you have acquired marital property. Under North Carolina law, any property you obtained after being married is considered “marital.” This is true even if the property is in the name of only one spouse. For example, you might have bought a home one year after getting married. This is marital property subject to equitable distribution even if the home is only in your husband’s name. Courts divide marital property equitably or fairly, not necessarily 50/50. To better understand what property you might leave the marriage with, you should characterize all property you own as either “marital” or “separate.” Generally, separate property is anything you brought into the marriage, an inheritance, or a gift given only to you. You can leave the marriage with your separate property. Couples also need to divide their marital debts, such as the mortgage on a home or credit card debt. Carefully analyze whether the debt truly is joint or whether one spouse is responsible for it. An attorney can help you.
Deciding Child Issues
Disputes involving children are often very emotional. Divorcing parents can agree to a custody arrangement, including visitation, but if they cannot agree then a judge will need to decide what is in the children’s best interests. To determine that, judges look at many factors, such as who has provided care for the children and each parent’s physical and mental health. Parents should create a detailed parenting plan that explains when each parent has the children and how they will be transported. The more detail, the better. A thorough parenting plan can pre-empt any disputes from breaking out after the divorce has been granted. Divorce usually involves one parent paying child support to the other as well. North Carolina has guidelines that judges use to set an amount of child support. However, the judge can depart from these guidelines in certain circumstances.
Alimony is a sum of money one spouse pays to his or her ex after divorce. Judges are not required to award alimony but can do so if it is necessary to prevent one spouse from becoming destitute or in the interest of fairness. For example, one spouse might have stayed home to raise the children while her husband worked. This wife could have a hard time establishing herself after divorce, so she might receive alimony temporarily to allow her to get work experience and/or education. In some situations, a spouse can receive permanent alimony.
Resolving Disputes Amicably
Couples are free to come up with a divorce that works for them. So long as it is fair, a judge will usually sign off on it. Unfortunately, getting squabbling couples to agree can be difficult, but mediation or collaborative divorce can help. If you are interested in divorcing amicably, contact an experienced attorney at Perry, Bundy, Plyler & Long, LLP to look out for your best interests. You can rely on our firm for a superior, highly-skilled and experienced team of Union County divorce attorneys who will take the time to understand you during this emotionally challenging experience and efficiently respond to your needs and desires. Contact them at (704) 741-5804.
With over 110 years of combined legal experience, you can trust your case with us.
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