Your Local Hometown Divorce & Child Custody Lawyers
Chapel Hill & Durham, NC
North Carolina Family Law Attorney
Divorce is difficult. The process can be spiritually and emotionally draining. At our firm, we understand the dynamics of divorce. We work with you to ensure that divorce is in fact the proper solution. Our goal is to ease the burden of divorce by taking care of the legal technicalities for you.
In North Carolina, married couples can obtain an absolute divorce and a divorce from bed and board. Regarding absolute divorce, North Carolina is a no-fault state. This means that, despite fault, you are entitled to an absolute divorce after twelve months of living separate and apart from your spouse. A divorce from bed and board is not actually a legal divorce. It is a legal separation. A divorce from bed and board is useful when there is marital misconduct and one spouse would like the guilty spouse to be ejected from the marital home. A court may find marital misconduct in when a spouse does the following instances: (1) commits adultery; (2) abuses drugs or alcohol and such use results in an adverse impact on the marriage; (3) abandons or leaves the other spouse without justification or explanation; or (4) treats the other spouse cruelly (Note: This list is not exhaustive of all the forms of marital misconduct.).
Child Custody and Support
The bond between a parent and child is valuable. It is our goal at our firm is to preserve the parent-child bond. This may mean assisting you in gaining full physical custody of your child or it may mean ensuring that you are able to have more time with your child.
An individual may obtain physical or legal custody of a minor child. Physical custody means the time in which the minor child is actually in your care. While legal custody, refers to a person’s ability to make decisions regarding the minor child’s health, education, and other aspects of the child’s life. In determining child custody, the court takes into consideration the best interest of the child.
Our firm also assists in modifying existing child custody orders. As such, there must be an existing child custody order. There must be a change from when you entered into the order to the present. The change must be significant, and it must impact the minor child. People often seek a modification when wanting to regain primary custody of a minor child.
At our firm, we care about you and your family. We will work diligently and relentlessly to get the best result. We appreciate and recognize the sacred bond between a parent and child. It is our goal to assist in preserving that bond.
Alimony/Post-Separation Support/Separate Support & Maintenance
Taking the first step to separate from a spouse is a taxing process. The process can be especially difficult when one spouse is financially dependent upon the other spouse. In North Carolina, alimony and post separation support is a mechanism used to address this issue. Our firm is committed to assisting you in this arduous process.
Alimony is a court ordered obligation for a supporting spouse to pay a dependent spouse a monthly payment. However, the process of obtaining alimony can be lengthy. Through post separation support, a spouse can get financial support from the supporting spouse within a relatively short time frame. Post-separation support is the temporary form of alimony. To make an award of alimony and post separation support, the court must conclude that there is a supporting spouse and a dependent spouse. A dependent spouse financially relies upon the supporting spouse to meet his or her reasonable needs.
In North Carolina, the court considers marital misconduct when determining an award of spousal support. A court may find marital misconduct when a spouse does the following instances: (1) commits adultery; (2) abuses drugs or alcohol and such use results in an adverse impact on the marriage; (3) abandons or leaves the other spouse without justification or explanation; or (4) treats the other spouse cruelly (Note: This list is not exhaustive of all the forms of marital misconduct.). At our firm, we take the utmost care in handling your alimony and post-separation support case. We make sure that we obtain the necessary information to present your case.
Equitable Distribution/Property Division
Another challenging part of divorce is determining the division of marital debts and assets. In a perfect world, a couple going through a divorce would decide who got what after separating from one another. Unfortunately, many couples are unable to come to an agreement. In equitable distribution cases, the court divides marital assets and debts.
In North Carolina, the court goes through a number of steps in making determinations in equitable distribution cases. First, the court classifies the type of property. There are three classifications, separate, marital, and divisible. Separate property is property that the court considers to be exclusively owned by one spouse. Marital property is property acquired by the couple during the course of the marriage. Divisible property is marital or separation property in which there has been active or passive appreciation. Active appreciation refers to an increase in value based upon the actions of one or both spouses. Passive appreciation is a change in the value of the property without actions taken from either spouse. After classifying the property, the court determines the division of the property. The presumption is that an equal division of assets and debts is fair. The court may order an unequal division of property based upon multiple factors such as the incomes of the spouses, the earning capacity of the spouses, the ages of the spouses, whether one spouse has the children, and other relevant factors. At our firm, we understand the complexity of equitable distribution cases. We are tenacious advocates ready to handle your case with attention to detail and poise.
Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements
There are times when spouses can come to an agreement about assets and debts before or after they separate from one another. A prenuptial agreement is a contract between two individuals intending to marry one another. The purpose of the agreement is to ensure protection of separate assets in case there is a divorce. A postnuptial agreement is helpful when a married couple separates from one another in anticipation of divorce. At our firm, we know the importance of protecting your property. We work relentlessly to ensure that accuracy of your contractual agreements.