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 Monroe, 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 separately 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 Monroe, NC divorce, you should meet with our experienced Monroe divorce attorneys to review your situation.
An Overview of Divorce Statistics in North Carolina
Are you preparing for a divorce in North Carolina? If so, you are not alone. Divorce is something that happens to many couples. While it can certainly be the right decision, it is never easy to actually go through the process. According to the most recent comprehensive data published by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), 32,960 married couples got divorced in the state in 2016. There were 535 divorces finalized in Union County alone that year. The National Center for Health Statistics has more recent data which shows that the divorce rate in North Carolina is somewhat higher than the national average.
Grounds for Divorce
To obtain a divorce in Monroe, you must be separated continuously for at least one year before filing for divorce by living in different residences with the intent to live separately 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.
Divorce in North Carolina: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What are Some Common Causes of Divorce?
Similar to every marriage, every divorce is different. That being said, many divorcing couples tend to cite the same factors as the reason why their marriage broke down. Some of the leading reasons why people file for divorce include:
● Financial problems;
● Constant arguing;
● Marital infidelity; and
● Loss of romance/intimacy.
What are the Different Assets Involved in a Divorce?
In North Carolina, parties to equitable distribution in divorce are required to make financial disclosures. All of the property, assets, and liabilities owned (or owed) by a couple can be part of a divorce case. Assets that are typically at issue in divorces include:
● Bank accounts;
● Investment accounts;
● Retirement accounts;
● Business interests;
● Personal property;
● Real estate, including the house; and
● Items with sentimental value.
How Does Legal Separation Differ From Divorce? How are They Similar?
In North Carolina, married couples can opt for a legal separation instead of a divorce. A separation agreement can be entered into at any time prior to getting a divorce. There is no need to separate for one year to enter a separation agreement. Most separation agreements divide assets, and deal with alimony, custody, and child support. You can get a divorce after signing a separation agreement as long as you have been separated for one year. A key difference between a legal separation and divorce is that it does not “end” the marriage in quite the same way. You cannot get re-married to another person if you have been legally separated instead of divorced. If you have specific questions about legal separation versus divorce, our North Carolina family lawyer can help.
Why Choose the Monroe, NC Divorce Lawyers at Perry, Bundy, Plyler & Long?
Divorce is hard. There are a lot of legal, financial, logistical, and emotional matters that need to be worked out before a divorce can be finalized. You do not have to navigate the process all alone. At Perry, Bundy, Plyler & Long, LLP, we are dedicated to providing clients with reliable, compassionate, and solutions-focused legal guidance and support across the full range of family law cases. Among other things, our Monroe, NC divorce attorneys are prepared to:
● Listen to your story and explain the next steps in the divorce process;
● Investigate the matter, gathering the documents and records needed to proceed;
● Handle all of the legal paperwork associated with your divorce;
● Advocate for your best interests in any divorce settlement discussions; and
● Develop a personalized legal strategy to protect your rights and interests.
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 Monroe divorce 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 professional 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 704-289-2519.
With over 110 years of combined legal experience, you can trust your case with us.
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