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The disintegration of a family unit can cast long shadows over children’s lives, extending its reach into their educational spheres.
For parents wading through the murky waters of divorce and separation, the unintended consequences often manifest in their child’s academic performance.
In this article, we delve into these multifaceted issues, aiming to arm parents with knowledge and strategies, answering:
- How can the turmoil of domestic life impact school and social settings?
- How can parents act as a buffer and steer their children through this turbulent phase?
Prioritizing Your Children
It’s imperative your children’s well-being and requirements are the driving force behind every decision during the divorce process. In North Carolina, our legal precedents dub this the “Polar Star” or “North Star.”
Considering the best interests of children, parents must endeavor to provide a nurturing environment amidst sometimes seismic shifts in their domestic life – Bill Powers, Charlotte Divorce Lawyer
Gaining insights into your child’s emotional and scholastic state can help parents share information and shape their responses to common questions, ensuring your children feel both supported and heard.
While they were not part of the decision-making process in ending the marriage, children are called to live with the consequences. Anticipating their worries and concerns helps ease the blow.
Engaging with educators, therapists, and counseling experts adept at handling the nuances of family transitions can be instrumental. It’s paramount that children’s welfare remains the beacon illuminating each move, requiring compassion, adaptability, and an unyielding dedication to their holistic growth.
Children grappling with the emotional weight of a divorce may find it hard to stay attentive, leading to a slump in grades.
Educators may pinpoint a drastic reduction in class participation or a wavering focus. The news of an impending separation and eventual divorce is a tumultuous time. Bolstering your child’s academic needs with patience and understanding can make a tremendous positive difference.
The emphasis should be on nurturing trust, fostering open channels of communication, and ensuring a stable environment.
Focus on the Child: By immersing yourself in your child’s world and fortifying ties with educators and support networks, you can help limit, and to some extent, alleviate the adverse effects of separation and divorce on scholastic achievements.
Monitor Behavioral Shifts: A child’s behavior can offer valuable insights. An uptick in reclusive tendencies or unruly behavior can hamper learning and social bonds. Recognizing these shifts and liaising with school staff opens doors to customized interventions. If these changes linger, consider seeking expert help from therapy and family counseling.
Watch Friendship Dynamics: Alterations in friendship circles or mounting challenges in bonding with peers might surface. Kids occasionally grapple with feelings of alienation due to their parents’ relationship status. Prioritizing heart-to-heart discussions about their emotions and fostering opportunities for social engagements can help sow seeds of resilience.
Strategies for Supporting Young Minds
A comprehensive, well-thought-out plan is invaluable when tackling the intertwined challenges of divorce.
Your blueprint for success should incorporate emotional, educational, and social facets, tailored to the distinct needs of each child – Bill Powers, Child Custody Lawyer
To be clear, one size does not fit all. Children each have their own way of dealing with the perceived loss of control, consistency, and reliability. By committing to predictable routines and championing a culture of open dialogue, children can be enveloped in a cloak of love and an assured sense of security.
Consistent Routines: Children often find solace in predictability. Maintaining a fixed schedule for homework, meals, and sleep can impart a semblance of normalcy. It’s a good idea to involve your child in crafting this routine, empowering them with a modicum of control.
Transparent CommunicationCultivate an environment where your child feels safe voicing their feelings. Make it a ritual to check in on their emotional state, reinforcing that their emotions hold validity. Kids, just like their parents, find it important to be heard. Communication provides agency to children, giving them the opportunity to perceive their new environment, set forth and achieve goals, and personally impact their futures.
School Collaboration: Fortifying ties with educators and counselors ensures that they’re clued into your child’s specific needs. Truth be told, teachers, coaches, and counselors may very well experience more face time with children than parents. Periodic discussions can unearth insights into your child’s scholastic journey and social evolution. Making educators aware of life changes and personal challenges, on a proactive basis, can be key to a child’s academic and social success.
Seeking Professional Insights: Therapists and family counselors may serve as safe havens for your child, offering them the space to vocalize and navigate their emotions when talking to parents is just too hard and emotionally overwhelming. Moreover, family therapists can play a pivotal role in ensuring the legal aspects of child custody, and visitation resonate with your child’s best interests. Early intervention can often stave off prolonged negative repercussions.
Separation: An Often Overlooked Phase of Divorce
Legal separation, a necessary precursor to divorce in North Carolina, can be a stormy phase for children. The transitory nature of separation can breed feelings of uncertainty. That’s understandable. Parents themselves may not know what the future holds or what life will look like both in the short term and in years to come.
During this interim phase, parents should do their best to double down on ensuring stability, open conversations, and emotional sustenance. Setting realistic expectations and centering the child’s well-being can be immensely beneficial – Bill Powers, Divorce Lawyer
Post-divorce, co-parenting might be best described as walking a tightrope. It’s a delicate balancing act, aiming to mirror rules and values in two different households.
For co-parenting to flourish, both parents need to be on the same page, with the child’s welfare as the common denominator. That can be easier said than done. A common factor in couples choosing to divorce often centers on the inability to come to an agreement on many issues, including but not limited to child-rearing decisions.
Looking Beyond the Present
It’s crucial to realize that the aftershocks of divorce on academic achievements can have long tendrils. It necessitates constant dialogue, academic performance monitoring, and quality time.
Navigating Legal Waters Before Taking the Plunge
Before uttering the words, “I want a divorce,” it’s vital to have a comprehensive grasp of your legal rights and legal responsibilities.
Talking to a lawyer makes sense. Indeed, upon determining your obligations under the law, you may find it appropriate to seek counseling rather than initiating divorce proceedings.
It’s advisable to seek legal advice from an experienced divorce lawyer. Family law attorneys help clients fathom the ramifications of divorce, including custody arrangements, child support, and alimony.
The Lingering Aftermath: Even after divorce papers have been signed and routines established, the ramifications of ending a marriage can linger. Parents might notice fluctuations in behavior, academic inconsistency, or challenging social adjustments even years post-divorce. As a custodian of your child’s welfare, it’s imperative to maintain an observant eye, attuned to shifts in their demeanor.
Maintaining Open Dialogue: Acclimation to change takes time. Rarely do humans just “get over” substantial changes in life. Coping with divorce often involves processing and going through stages such as despair, anger, and, hopefully, eventual acceptance and peace. One of the cornerstones of ensuring your child navigates the post-divorce landscape with resilience is fostering a consistent environment of open dialogue. This doesn’t merely entail discussing the divorce itself but encompasses a broader spectrum of their life experiences. It’s about nurturing a space where they feel validated, heard, and understood.
Adjusting to New Realities: Divorce often brings new family configurations. This might mean a parent remarrying or the introduction of step-siblings. These adjustments, while potentially positive in some regards, come with their own set of challenges. It’s crucial for parents to facilitate smooth transitions, ensuring the child feels integrated and valued within the evolving family unit.
Financial Ramifications: Beyond the emotional and psychological facets, the financial implications of divorce can indirectly impact a child’s academic journey. Reduced household incomes might entail shifting to a new school district, the need for scholarships, or adjustments in lifestyle. It’s essential for parents to broach these topics delicately, ensuring children are mentally prepared for upcoming changes.
Cultural and Societal Perceptions of Divorce: Depending on the community, children might face societal stigmas or cultural perceptions tied to divorce. Addressing these proactively and equipping your child with coping strategies can help them stand tall amidst potential peer pressure or societal judgment.
The Role of Extended Family: Grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins often play an integral role in a child’s life. Their support can be instrumental during and post-divorce proceedings. Regular interactions, family gatherings, and consistent routines with extended family serve as anchors of stability for a child.
Powers Law Firm: Your Trusted Legal Partner
Embarking on the divorce journey deserves a blend of compassion, resolve, legal acumen, and unwavering support. The dedicated team at Powers Law Firm stands ready to guide families through these intricate waters. Reach out to us today for a private, no-obligation consultation, and let us light the path ahead.
We help people with family law issues in the Charlotte-metro region, including:
- Charlotte, North Carolina in Mecklenburg County
- Monroe, North Carolina in Union County
- Mooresville and Statesville, North Carolina in Iredell County
Charting the Path Forward
As parents, while you may traverse the legal and emotional complexities of divorce, it’s pivotal to keep the spotlight on your child’s well-being. By melding empathy with informed strategies, you can help ensure that your child’s academic trajectory remains robust and resilient, even in the face of family transitions.
While divorce marks an end, it’s also a beginning. It’s a journey of reinvention, of forging new paths and building stronger bonds. With the right support systems in place, both parents and children can emerge from this experience with newfound strength and understanding.
Should you require counsel or assistance during this transformative phase, Powers Law Firm remains steadfastly by your side, merging legal experience with genuine compassion.
Helpful Information for People Thinking About Divorce
- What is Equitable Distribution in North Carolina?
- What is Collaborative Divorce: Why is it Better?
- What happens if you’re accused of Domestic Violence?
- VICTIMS of Domestic Violence
- Understanding the NC Wiretapping Laws and Your Rights
- Why it helps to have a lawyer who handles both CRIMINAL DEFENSE and FAMILY LAW cases
Divorce is rarely easy, but grey divorce – the term for couples over 50 who split up – can be particularly difficult.
The emotional, financial, and logistical challenges may seem daunting at first, but with these tips, you can help make the transition smoother:
1. Take your time
Don’t rush into any decisions. Take the time to reflect on what went wrong and how you want to proceed.
2. Immediately seek legal representation
Divorce laws, procedures, and outcomes can vary greatly from state to state, so it’s important to get advice from an experienced attorney near you who is familiar with the NC divorce laws and local protocols.
Do not assume divorce in North Carolina will be the same as in other states such as South Carolina, Georgia, or Virginia.
An unbiased, realistic assessment from an attorney will help you make informed decisions and protect your interests throughout the divorce process.
The sooner you have legal representation, the better. There are often important steps to take to protect yourself before you say, ‘I want a divorce’ – Bill Powers, Charlotte Divorce Attorney
We can help explain your legal rights, responsibilities, and options.
3. Talk to a therapist
Divorce can be stressful, no matter your age or the length of your marriage.
That’s particularly true if there are allegations of marital infidelity, sexual misconduct, or abuse.
Don’t be afraid to seek professional counseling if you are struggling with grief, depression, and anger.
A therapist can help you find ways to cope with the stress and transition into a new way of life.
4. Educate yourself on finances
Divorce often brings substantial financial changes, so it’s important to be as informed as possible about your finances.
Before making any big “life decision,” it is imperative to fully under how assets are divided in a divorce – Bill Powers, Divorce Attorney
You should also be aware of the implications of tax laws and insolvency laws, which can affect your estate planning, retirement accounts, and other financial matters.
5. Talk to a financial adviser
Financial advisers can help provide sound advice for managing assets during and after the divorce process.
They can also offer tips for creating a budget and developing an achievable long-term financial plan.
Having a good understanding of your finances will help you make the best decisions during this time of transition.
We often recommend clients work with a financial planner who has no prior relationship or fiduciary relationship with your spouse. Confidentiality is important – Bill Powers, Mecklenburg Divorce Lawyer
6. Get organized
The divorce process is ordinarily quite complex. Having all the necessary documents in one place will help things proceed more smoothly and in a timely fashion.
Gather all of your financial records and documents, such as tax returns, bank accounts, investments, pensions, and insurance policies.
This will provide a clearer picture of your potential post-divorce income and expenses and help your lawyer understand your financial condition.
7. Set boundaries
In any divorce, especially one involving couples over 50, it’s a good to set boundaries with your soon-to-be ex-spouse so that both of you can move on with your lives.
Keeping communication civil is key.
Avoid unnecessary conflicts and acrimony. It’s OK if you don’t agree on everything.
If you find yourself in need of additional support, consider reaching out to friends or family members who can provide a different perspective and help guide you through the process.
8. Consider Collaborative Divorce
Collaborative divorce is a process that allows for both spouses to work together in resolving the issues of their divorce without litigation.
It’s an alternative dispute resolution method that can lead to faster and less costly results than traditional litigation.
By working with a qualified collaborative law attorney, you may be able to settle the issues in your divorce without having to go to court.
Collaborative divorce is an effective way to reduce stress and create a peaceful resolution for all parties, especially those over 50 who are facing unique challenges during their divorce – Bill Powers, Charlotte Collaborative Divorce Lawyer
Bill Powers is a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and the Charlotte Collaborative Divorce Professionals.
9. Make a plan for living expenses
As soon as you decide to divorce, make sure you have a plan in place for how you will cover living expenses during and after the divorce process.
This may involve budgeting, carefully monitoring cash flow, and/or seeking Post Separation Support (PSS) and Child Support.
10. Embrace the new you
Your divorce may be an opportunity to start fresh and redefine who you are.
You may find that it gives you the freedom to pursue interests and activities that were once put on hold – Bill Powers, Divorce Attorney
Take this time to explore what makes you happy, and find a new sense of purpose and fulfillment.
No matter what the future holds, remember that you are in control of your life, and there is no better time to start fresh than now.
By taking the time to plan ahead, you can ease some of the stress that comes along with gray divorces.
With careful consideration and professional advice, you can move forward in life without missing a beat.
Do I need to change my will?
It’s a good review and update your will after you have gone through a divorce.
Provisions in a pre-divorce will may no longer be valid (or appropriate) once the divorce is finalized.
For example, if your spouse is named as a beneficiary or executor of your will, it may be necessary to choose someone else for those positions.
Additionally, any bequests that were made to your former spouse very well may need to be updated or removed from your will and codicils to your will.
It is also important to update any health care directives (Declaration of Natural Death), Power of Attorney, and Medical Power of Attorney documents after a divorce, as such materials commonly contain provisions relating to your spouse that may not be appropriate post-divorce.
If you have any questions about the specific documents that need to be revised, it is best to consult with an attorney who can review your situation and advise accordingly.
In summary, it is important to review and update any estate planning documents after a divorce.
This is to ensure that the documents reflect your current wishes. An attorney can provide guidance and assistance on how to update your documents in order to protect your estate and legacy.
Who gets the house?
When it comes to who gets the house in a divorce, it depends on the specific facts and circumstances of your marital estate.
In many, if not most instances, the primary dwelling will be part of the marital estate. The division of real property is often one of the most important aspects of ED (Equitable Distribution) – Bill Powers, Charlotte Divorce Lawyer
Under the North Carolina divorce laws, the Court (the Judge) will divide the marital estate through something called Equitable Distribution.
A District Court Judge in North Carolina settles legal and factual disputes. Juries are not involved.
Classify, Value, and Distribute – CVD
The Court must first classify the property, determining whether it is a jointly held asset and part of the marital estate or separate property.
Separate property is not subject to equitable distribution in North Carolina, and therefore remains the property of the party who owns it.
Once the Court classifies the marital estate, the next step involves determining the value of the property/asset.
Thereafter, the Court (the Judge) will then determine how to distribute the assets through a process called equitable distribution.
What is Equitable Distribution?
Equitable Distribution is a process used by the Court to divide marital assets (the marital estate) during a divorce in North Carolina.
This division of property must be fair, but not necessarily equal.
In determining the division of assets, the Court will consider several factors, such as the length of the marriage, each spouse’s contributions to the marital estate, their incomes, and earning potential.
The Court will also consider if either party intentionally wasted or destroyed marital assets prior to the divorce (marital waste).
“Equitable” doesn’t necessarily mean equal or fifty-fifty; the Court can consider various factors when determining the division of assets and is given broad discretion under N.C.G.S. Chapter 50.
This means that the Court may not necessarily divide the assets 50-50, but rather it will use its discretion to decide what is “equitable” given the unique nature and circumstances of the marriage.
What is considered during Equitable Distribution?
The Equitable Distribution Factors in North Carolina include things like:
(1) the income, property, and liabilities of each party;
(2) Each spouse’s contribution to the acquisition, preservation, or appreciation of property;
(3) Prior support obligations of either spouse;
(4) The needs of custodial and dependent children, if any;
(5) The age and health of each party; and
(6) Any other factor which the court deems relevant.
To be clear, Equitable Distribution only becomes necessary if the parties are unable to come to an agreement and/or are unwilling to sign a Separation Agreement.
ED is a notoriously complicated area of law. Your financial future deserves the attention of an attorney who will carefully review the full measure of the marital estate – Bill Powers, Equitable Distribution Attorney
What happens to retirement accounts?
Generally, contributions made to a retirement plan while married are often considered marital property and divided during divorce proceedings.
There are important exceptions. Each marital estate, like each client, is unique.
Retirement accounts may include funds from an employer-provided pension plan or 401(k).
It is important to consider any tax implications and withdrawal penalties that may arise from transfers of assets held in retirement accounts.
In some circumstances, retirement accounts owned prior to marriage and not made part of the marital estate, may not be considered marital property and thus would not be part of a divorce settlement / Equitable Distribution.
Each state has its own laws governing how these assets should be divided. It’s best not to assume North Carolina’s divorce laws are the same as other jurisdictions, even neighboring states like South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.
Ultimately, it is important to speak with an attorney regarding the specifics of your case.
Family law attorneys can help provide guidance on how a divorce will impact you and ensure that your legal rights are protected throughout the process.
Financial Considerations in Gray Divorce
In addition to Equitable Distribution, there are other financial considerations that should be made when it comes to a gray divorce, including issues such as:
- Retirement Funds / Retirement Savings
- Social Security Benefits
- Inherited Property
- Vacation Homes / Investment Property
- Rental Income
- Family Businesses / Closely Held Corporations
- Health Insurance
- Dependant Adult Children
- Education Savings / 529 Plans
- Stocks / Bonds / Certificates of Deposit
- Deferred Income Sources
- Disability Insurance / Life Insurance
Charlotte Divorce Lawyers – Powers Law Firm PA
At Powers Law Firm PA, our family law attorneys understand the emotional and financial complexities of a grey divorce.
We’re dedicated to compassionate, zealous legal advocacy and encourage ADR when appropriate – Bill Powers, Charlotte Divorce Attorney
If you are facing a divorce, the family law attorneys at Powers Law Firm PA may be able help.
We understand the financial and emotional stress that such an event can bring and will work to make sure your rights are protected throughout the process.
**Prior to discussing any family law matter, our firm will conduct a conflict check to confirm the availability of the firm for legal representation. We charge consultation fees, hourly rates, and often require a True General Retainer to retain the law firm for family law cases.
We help clients with legal issues involving:
- Legal Separation
- Separation Agreements
- Child Custody
- Child Support
- Post Separation Support – PSS
- Equitable Distribution
- Domestic Violence Protective Orders – DVPO – 50B
- Alienation of Affection / Criminal Conversation
Thinking about separation? Considering Divorce? Not sure what to do?
If so, you’re not alone.
According to the latest statistics, more than 50% of marriages in the United States end in divorce.
While the divorce process may seem daunting, it’s important to remember that many couples who divorce eventually find happiness in their new lives.
A lot can depend on how things end with the present marriage.
If you’re considering getting divorced, we think it’s a good idea to start by gathering information and establishing a well-thought-out plan.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss the steps you may want to take before telling your spouse, “I want a Divorce.”
When is the best time to get divorced?
This is a difficult question to answer, as divorce proceedings are often quite unique.
However, there are some steps that you can take to help make sure that you’re making the best decision for yourself and your family:
1. Talk to an Attorney
It’s important to talk to an experienced divorce lawyer about the specifics of your case before making any decisions or filing any paperwork.
2. Educate Yourself
It’s also important to educate yourself about the divorce process and any local rules, protocols, and forms that may apply to your legal matter.
For example, the Mecklenburg County Local Rules of Domestic Court are thirty-six pages long and can be quite confusing if you’re not experienced with navigating our legal system.
4. Gather Documentation – Materials
An incredibly important aspect of divorce involves gathering materials and documentation.
In order to provide sound legal advice, divorce lawyers need information.
We need to understand and review things like temporary living arrangements, any proposed settlement agreement or separation agreement, and determine whether there is a history of domestic violence, substance abuse, or marital unfaithfulness. Most people don’t realize how truly complex a marital estate can be – Bill Powers, Charlotte Divorce Lawyer
We regularly ask clients to provide materials and documents, including but not limited to:
- Financial Statements – Bank Accounts, Checking and Savings Accounts
- Summaries of Marital Assets
- Credit Card Statements
- Student Loans
- Employee Benefits Handbooks
- Retirement Account Statements
- Life Insurance Policies
- Important Financial Documents
- Marital Property
- Separate Property
- Joint Accounts – Individual Accounts
- Marital Assets – Cars, Jewelry, Homes, Investment Properties
- Living Expenses – Copies of Budgets
- Mortgage Documents – Deeds, Promissory Notes
3. Consider Your Options
You should carefully consider all of the options available to you, such as divorce mediation or collaborative divorce, before making any decisions.
An experienced divorce attorney can help explain the process and what to expect.
To be clear, separation and divorce fall within the category of a “major life change.”
4. Create a Budget
You should create a budget that takes into account the cost of living, as well as any attorney or court fees associated with filing for divorce.
5. Seek Counseling
If you are struggling to make decisions about whether to stay married or file for divorce, it may be helpful to seek the advice of a counselor or therapist.
Ultimately, it’s important to remember that each situation is unique and that you should carefully consider all of your options before deciding whether or not to divorce.
In addition, it’s imperative to be honest with yourself about why you are considering a divorce and what is truly important to you.
If you are considering a divorce, it’s important to take the time to make sure that you have all of the information and resources necessary to make an informed decision.
This can include talking to an experienced lawyer and seeking counseling if needed.
Family law attorneys encourage clients to consider their options, educate themselves, and create a budget.
That way, you can ensure that you make the best decision for yourself and your family.
Are there things to avoid?
When considering a divorce, there are certain things that you should avoid both in the short-term and long term.
In the short term, it’s important to avoid making any hasty decisions or rash statements while discussing your potential divorce with your spouse.
This can lead to unnecessary conflict and hurt feelings between both parties.
Additionally, it’s a very good idea to avoid talking negatively or harshly about your spouse with friends and family and especially your children.
This can create an unproductive atmosphere and make it more difficult to reach an amicable agreement between both parties.
In the long term, avoid making any major financial decisions before discussing them with a lawyer who is familiar with the NC Divorce Law.
That may include things such as:
- Marital Debt – Credit Cards, Medical Bills, Student Loans
- Marital Assets – Bank Accounts, Vehicles, Cash on Hand
- Marital Home – Investment Properties, Beach and Mountain Homes
- Child Support
- Life Insurance Policies
- Health Insurance
- Retirement Accounts
- Marital Property / Separate Property
Avoid taking any drastic actions or steps, such as changing your will or the beneficiaries of insurance policies, before consulting with a lawyer.
Finally, it’s important to avoid making any rash decisions about custody arrangements for children without discussing it with both parties and ensuring that everyone is in agreement about what works best for the family.
To be clear, there may be disputes about Child Custody and Support.
The family law attorneys at our office prefer to recognize and anticipate potential areas for disagreement and plan a course of action, as opposed to attempting to correct a misstep after it’s been taken.
By avoiding these things, you can ensure that the divorce process is smoother and more amicable.
What are things people don’t think about before getting divorced but they should?
1. Finances: Most people don’t think about their finances before getting divorced, but it is essential to understand the financial implications of a divorce, such as the division of assets, alimony, and child support payments.
2. Child Custody: It’s important to consider who will have custody of any children involved in the divorce and the appropriate parenting plan.
3. Communication: Going through a divorce can be a highly emotional process, and it’s important to consider how you will communicate with your ex-spouse throughout the process.
Having an effective method of communication can help reduce arguments and misunderstandings.
4. Legal Representation: It’s important to have legal representation throughout the divorce process.
It makes sense to choose an attorney who you trust and who is experienced in your particular legal matters.
5. Mental Health: Going through a divorce can take an emotional toll on both parties involved.
It’s important to consider the mental health of all parties involved and seek counseling or therapy if needed.
6. Effects on Children: Divorce can be especially hard on children, so it’s important to consider how the divorce will affect them emotionally and physically.
Make sure to discuss any changes with your children ahead of time and include them in the decision-making process where appropriate.
How long does it take to get divorced?
The length of time it takes to get divorced can vary greatly, depending on the complexity of the case and the willingness of both parties to reach an agreement.
The North Carolina Divorce Law requires a minimum period of legal separation of one year.
While many, if not all, the legal issues involving a pending divorce may be settled by way of a Separation Agreement, with limited exceptions and at minimum, a divorce will take one year in North Carolina before the Court (the Judge) may execute a Divorce Decree.
Generally speaking, working out the terms for a divorce can take anywhere from six months to several years or more.
Factors that may affect the timeline include jurisdiction-specific divorce protocols, child custody issues, division of assets, alimony and other financial considerations, and any disagreements between the spouses.
It’s important to stay in close contact with your attorney throughout the process to ensure that all paperwork is filed correctly and on time, as delays can lengthen the overall divorce timeline.
There is no set timeline for divorce, and individual cases can vary greatly in length.
However, with careful planning and attention to detail, it is possible to reach an agreement relatively quickly and settle any disputes efficiently.
With a collaborative effort from both parties, it is possible to avoid any lengthy delays.
If you’re considering divorce, it’s a good idea to work closely with an experienced family law attorney who can help ensure that your rights and interests are protected throughout the legal process.
If you would like more information about filing for divorce and what to expect during the process, please call our office now to schedule a consultation.
Before meeting with our divorce attorneys, we will conduct a Conflict Check and confirm the availability of the firm for legal representation.
Powers Law Firm PA does charge a consultation fee and hourly rates for Family Law matters.
Our law firm can help provide the guidance and support you need to successfully navigate the divorce process.
For more information about getting divorced, please visit our website: Charlotte-Divorce-Lawyers.com
If you have any other questions or concerns, please contact us directly at (704)-342-HELP
Do I need a lawyer?
We firmly believe it is advisable to consult with a qualified family law attorney before proceeding with any major legal decisions such as filing for divorce.
An experienced family law attorney can provide advice and guidance on the best course of action for your individual circumstances, ensuring that your rights are protected throughout the process.
A Charlotte divorce lawyer can also help you understand all of the legal implications of filing for divorce and can help ensure that the divorce process is handled correctly and efficiently.
Divorce proceedings are often complex, and having a legal professional on your side can make all the difference.
If you’d like to find out more about how an experienced family law attorney at the Powers Law Firm PA can assist with your divorce case, please contact us today.
Does it matter if I have kids?
Clearly, the presence of children can significantly affect the timeline for a divorce.
If you and your spouse have minor children together, there will be additional matters that need to be addressed during the divorce process, such as child custody arrangements, visitation schedules, and financial obligations such as Child Support.
All of these issues can take time to resolve and may lengthen the overall timeline for the divorce.
It is important to remember that the best interests of the children should be kept in mind when negotiating any details related to their care and well-being.
If you have children, we actively encourage clients to work closely with your attorney and come up with a parenting plan that takes into account what’s best for you and your kids.
By working together collaboratively, it is possible to achieve a fair agreement that meets the needs of everyone involved.
For more information about how children can affect the divorce process, including the possibility of Collaborative Divorce, please contact us directly.
We’re here to help!
What is Collaborative Divorce?
Collaborative divorce is an alternative to traditional divorce proceedings where the parties involved work together to reach an amicable settlement outside of court.
It involves both spouses and their attorneys working collaboratively to resolve issues such as child custody, division of assets (Equitable Distribution), and spousal support (Alimony), PSS – Post Separation Support, or what used to be called “Temporary Alimony.”
The process is voluntary, and all decisions are made by consensus, allowing the parties to be in control of their own destiny.
This type of settlement is often quicker and, in the long run, can be more cost-effective than traditional divorce proceedings.
It is also less adversarial, which can benefit the children involved in the divorce.
We believe Collaborative Divorce allows for a more peaceful transition for the entire family.
The collaborative process often begins with both spouses meeting with a team of professionals, including attorneys, financial advisors, and mental health professionals.
The goal is to work together to reach an agreement that is fair and equitable to both spouses.
Each spouse has their own attorney dedicated to representing their interests during the process.
Throughout negotiations, the team works together to ensure that all information needed for settlement is exchanged openly and transparently.
In addition to the team of professionals, the spouses also meet regularly with each other and their attorneys to discuss progress, negotiate solutions, and review documents.
The collaboration allows for solutions tailored specifically to the couple’s needs and goals.
Through this collaborative approach, both parties can come away from the divorce feeling respected and satisfied with the outcome.
Collaborative divorce provides an alternative to more traditional, adversarial methods of divorce and can be a great option for couples looking for a peaceful resolution to their divorce.
If you are considering divorce, it is important to understand all the options available to you so that you can make the best decision for your family.
How much do divorce lawyers cost?
The cost of divorce lawyers varies based on the complexity and length of the case, as well as any additional services that may be necessary.
Generally speaking, the attorneys at Powers Law Firm PA charge an hourly rate for their services
Additionally, we may require a True General Retainer to secure the availability of the firm for legal representation prior to beginning work on your case.
Depending on your situation, the cost of divorce attorneys can range anywhere from a few thousand dollars to a rather substantial amount.
“Rarely is divorce inexpensive. Terminating a marriage can be a time-consuming, laborious process that involves the most important assets of your life – Bill Powers
A lot depends on whether the parties wish to proceed in a reasonable fashion.
We do not believe in litigation for the sake of litigating and/or causing harm or pain.
Clearly, divorce is often emotional.
Having said that, the best way to increase the costs of a divorce is to engage in rancor, dissension, and unnecessary litigation.
Additional Resources for Mecklenburg County Family Court:
- Mecklenburg County Local Rules DOMESTIC COURT – Mecklenburg County – 26th Judicial District – 2022
- General Rules of Civil Court – Mecklenburg County Mecklenburg County
- Mecklenburg Alternative Dispute Resolution Rules – Equitable Distribution – Equitable Distribution
Injury to Real Property in North Carolina and its Role in Family Law Cases
Injury to real property is a broad term that can involve a number of different legal issues.
Generally speaking, it refers to intentional damage or destruction that is done to land or buildings or “realty.”
This can include anything from vandalism and arson to damaging real property. Real property includes things like houses, buildings, realty, and real estate.
The damage to real property requires wanton and willful conduct. That means it is an intentional act and not the result of an accident.
When it comes to family law cases, injury to real property can play a role in a variety of situations, from allegations of domestic violence to equitable distribution of the marital estate.
In this article, we will discuss what injury to real property is and how it may be relevant in your family law proceedings.
What is Wilfull Injury to Real Property?
In order to constitute an injury to real property, the act must be done willfully.
That is, it must be an intentional act and not an accident.
It must also be done with wanton disregard for the rights of others.
This means that the person who committed the act knew that it was wrong and did it anyway.
For example, if someone were to set fire to a house or other building on purpose, that could be considered an injury to real property.
Destroying or damaging the personal property within the interior of the building would necessarily constitute a separate criminal charge.
The relevant North Carolina criminal law that defines what is injury to real property may be found in N.C.G.S. 14-127. (N.C.G.S. stands for North Carolina General Statute)
It is similar in some respects to Injury to Personal Property but has some remarkable differences.
Punishments Injury to Personal Property depend in large measure on the amount of the personal property that is damaged.
ITPP (Injury to Personal Property) for items valued $200 or less is a crime, and is a Class 2 Misdemeanor. Damages to personal property valued more than $200 is a Class 1 Misdemeanor.
The NC criminal law for willfully Damaging Personal Property is defined in N.C.G.S. 14-160.
In contrast, Willful and Wanton Injury to Real Property is a Class 1 misdemeanor in North Carolina and carries with it a maximum period of incarceration (jail/prison) of 120 days.
As such, punishment under the NC misdemeanor criminal laws for a Class 1 Misdemeanor charge carries the potential for a longer period of incarceration than certain assault and assault and battery charges in North Carolina.
The consequences of a conviction, depending on the circumstances of the case, also involve the possibility of Supervised Probation, Costs of Court, and Fines.
How Does Injury to Real Property Relate to Family Law?
Injury to real property can play a role in family law proceedings in a few different ways.
While there may be issues of Marital Waste relative to Equitable Distribution, family law attorneys may immediately wish to address the possibility of domestic violence in the household or relationship.
Injury to Real Property, that is, the wanton and willful destruction of the household residence causing property damage, may be done so in an attempt to threaten, harass, and/or control the victim.
As such, it may also be a crime in North Carolina and prosecuted as such in criminal court.
What is Domestic Violence?
In order to understand how injury to real property may relate to domestic violence, it is important to understand what domestic violence is.
The North Carolina General Statutes define Domestic Violence.
The DV statute in NC – Chapter 50B includes things like:
- Attempting to inflict bodily harm, bodily injury
- Sexual assault, sexual abuse
- Intentionally causing bodily harm, bodily injury
- Placing the victim in fear of imminent bodily harm
- Causing property damage incident to assault or assault and battery
There are many resources available to victims of domestic violence, including safe shelters and hotlines like the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800)-799-SAFE or (800)-799-7233
Injury to Real Property as an Act of Domestic Violence
In North Carolina, injury to real or personal property can both be considered acts of domestic violence.
This means that if you are a victim of domestic violence, you may be able to obtain a restraining order against the perpetrator to protect yourself and the children in your household or care, and to guard against further property damage, assaults, and threats of harm.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, it is important to establish an attorney-client relationship with a qualified lawyer who can help you understand your individual rights and options.
We think it helps to retain a lawyer who possesses substantial courtroom experience in both family law and criminal law cases.
Criminal defense attorneys understand the process of criminal prosecution in criminal court. Family law attorneys tend to focus on issues involving Equitable Distribution, Custody, and Support.
We regularly serve as legal counsel in crossover matters, those that include both criminal allegations and their interaction with family court in Mecklenburg County, Union County, and Iredell County, North Carolina – Bill Powers, Charlotte Family Law Attorney
Criminal defense attorneys who limit their practices to criminal charges clearly understand the possible criminal sanctions; it’s important to establish an attorney-client relationship with legal counsel who further recognizes the impact of criminal allegations on restraining orders, child custody, and child support.
Please call the Powers Law Firm PA in Charlotte NC to schedule a consultation. We protect confidential or sensitive information obtained as part of confidential communications.
Our contact form sends information to an attorney on call. Our law firm will conduct a conflict check to confirm availability for legal representation.
What is a Domestic Violence Protective Order?
A Domestic Violence Protective Order (DVPO) is a civil order that provides protection from abuse by a family or household member.
The DVPO can include provisions such as no contact, stay away, and turn over of firearms. Such orders ordinarily include provisions not to “assault, harass, or threaten the victim.”
That necessarily includes not committing further acts of domestic violence, including intentional cause property damage, communicating threats, assault and battery – Bill Powers, Charlotte Domestic Violence Lawyer
It is important to know that the DVPO does give child custody and child support to the protected victim.
North Carolina General Statute Chapter 50B helps explain what is Domestic Violence in NC and the legal options available to victims.
As such, family law attorneys and criminal defense attorneys may refer to Domestic Violence Protective Orders as “50B” Orders.
Violation of DVPO – Misdemeanor Charges
The willful violation of a Domestic Violence Protective Order in North Carolina is a misdemeanor offense.
Indeed, it is classified as an “A1” criminal charge and carries with it a maximum period of punishment of 150 days in jail.
Other possible consequences if arrested and convicted include community service, fines, costs of court, anger management class, restitution, and treatment.
Class A1 misdemeanors in NC include allegations of:
- Assault on a Female
- Assault on Government Official or Law Enforcement Office
- Assault with a Deadly Weapon
- Assault on a Child Under Age 12
- Assault Inflicting Serious Injury in the Presence of a Minor
The standard of proof for a criminal case is Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt.
The legal standard in order to obtain a DVPO is By the Greater Weight of the Evidence.
Charges dropped by the District Attorney do not preclude the possibility of issuance of a DVPO.Learn More
Threatening to harm or kill a spouse, child, or other family member is a criminal offense in North Carolina.
It doesn’t matter if the threats are made in person, online, or through text messages- communications that threaten bodily harm (physical harm to another person) may be deemed criminal and result in criminal charges.
If you are being threatened by someone close to you, it is important to know your rights and take action to protect yourself and your loved ones.
In this blog post, we will discuss what constitutes communicating a threat in North Carolina, the implications of Domestic Violence in Family Court, and the legal consequences that can come with it.
What is Communicating Threats in North Carolina?
Communicating threats includes things such as:
- Threats to Kill or Physically Injure another person
- Threats to injure (physically) someone’s spouse, the person’s child, parent, or sibling
- Threats to cause physical injury to dependents
The threat may be made indirectly or directly.
This means that making a threat through text messages, social media posts, phone calls, or in-person threats all constitute communicating threats.
It is important to note that the communication to physically injure someone does not have to be directed at a specific person for it to be considered a crime.
For example, if you post on social media that you are going to kill your ex-spouse, that could be considered communicating a threat- even if your ex-spouse is not specifically named in the post.
On the other hand, exaggerated, hyperbolic statements like, “Oh, he makes me so mad I could kill him” may not necessarily constitute communicating threats.
The law requires a reasonable person would fear for their physical safety, and the person threatened believes the threat.
What does “Reasonable Person” mean?
The reasonable person standard is an objective test applied in court to determine whether the defendant’s actions would have caused a reasonable person in the victim’s shoes to fear for their safety.
It is important to note that the reasonable person does not need to actually be scared, but a reasonable person threatened believes that they were in danger of a threat of physical harm.
What is considered Domestic Violence?
Domestic Violence is a pattern of coercive, controlling behavior that is used by an intimate partner to gain or maintain power and control over the other intimate partner.
The use of physical violence, sexual violence, emotional abuse, economic abuse, and/or threats of violence may be used in Domestic Violence cases.
Communicating Threats is often one form of abuse that is used in Domestic Violence cases.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, it is important to know that there are resources available to help you.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline provides 24-hour support for victims of domestic violence.
You can also contact your local domestic violence shelter for assistance.
If you are in immediate danger, please call 911.
Finally, if you are a victim of someone communicating threats and/or domestic violence, please call the attorneys at Powers Law Firm PA.
We may be able to provide legal assistance or point you in the right direction in the event circumstances preclude representation.
With communicating threats matters, we believe establishing an attorney-client relationship with a lawyer well versed in criminal law and well as domestic law is a good idea.
Contact us now at: 704-342-HELP
What are the Consequences of Communicating Threats?
Communicating threats is a Class 1 misdemeanor offense in North Carolina.
This means that someone convicted of this crime could face up to 120 days in jail (incarceration).
Communicating threats charges may also carry legal consequences, including the issuance of a domestic violence protective order, and can affect child custody and visitation.
Communicating Threats is ordinarily a misdemeanor criminal charge. There are instances when other related criminal charges may be brought in coordination with allegations of Communicating Threats.
For example, in the Domestic Violence context, Communicating Threats may be one of many related criminal charges such as Simple Assault, Assault on a Female, Injury to Personal Property, Assault Inflicting Serious Bodily Injury, and Felony Strangulation in North Carolina.
What if the Threat is Made Against a Child?
When a threat is made against a child, this may also be considered child abuse under North Carolina law.
Child Abuse is generally defined as:
Physical injury, sexual exploitation, sexual abuse, or grossly negligent treatment of a child who is younger than 18 years old. It can include parents, foster parents, custodians, and guardians.
If you have been threatened by someone and you are concerned for your safety or your child’s safety, it is important to contact law enforcement.
An experienced domestic violence attorney may be able to assist you in getting a protective order to help keep you and your family safe from further harm.
The Family Courts in Charlotte and throughout North Carolina take Communicating Threats and other instances of DV seriously.
We recommend victims seek legal representation without delay.
Can a Family Law Attorney help?
Again, if you are a victim of domestic violence, we think it is important to seek legal assistance as soon as possible.
An experienced Family Law attorney can help you understand the criminal justice system and can assist you in navigating the consequences in Family Court.
A Family Law attorney may recommend and further assist you get a protective order (DVPO) to help keep you and your family safe from further harm.
In North Carolina, that is often referred to as a Domestic Violence Protective Order or “DVPO.” Attorneys may also refer to it as a “50B Order.”
An experienced Family Law attorney can help you understand the criminal justice system and can assist you in navigating the consequences in Family Court.
Domestic Violence can impact Child Custody and Visitation when one parent willfully threatens another parent in the presence of the child may have long-lasting consequences to the child.
Felony Assault Inflicting Serious Bodily Injury
As you might imagine, Felony Assaults in North Carolina carry substantial consequences both in criminal court and Family Court.
An assault that results in serious bodily injury is a Class F Felony in North Carolina.
Serious bodily injury may include bodily harm that:
- Creates a risk, a substantial risk, of death
- That causes a coma, disfigurement, or another permanent injury
- That causes a protracted condition that results in extreme pain
- Protracted or permanent impairment or loss of function of any bodily organ or member
- Results in hospitalization that is prolonged
Divorce Lawyers in Charlotte – Powers Law Firm PA
Communicating Threats is an all too common aspect of family law cases in Mecklenburg County.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, it is important to seek legal assistance as soon as possible both for yourself and your children.
The attorneys at Powers Law Firm PA are experienced in handling these types of cases and can help you understand the criminal justice system and navigate the consequences in Family Court.
N.C. Court of Appeals Family Law Update – Contempt of Court
The Powers Law Firm in Charlotte is dedicated to providing helpful information to people interested in the NC Divorce Laws.
To that end, we regularly post materials on our blog and website regarding advances in the law and legal rulings.
We believe good decisions during divorce are predicated on good information and sound legal advice. Divorce is complicated and sometimes an emotional, messy affair. We want to help people. That’s why we do what we do – Bill Powers, Charlotte Divorce Lawyer
What’s in this Blog Post?
In this blog post, we will discuss civil contempt in family law cases in North Carolina.
Civil contempt can serve as a powerful tool to enforce Court Orders.
In the family law context, it is often used to compel parents to comply with child custody and support orders.
What’s new in Divorce in North Carolina?
N.C. Court of Appeals, on July 5, published a new batch of cases, two of which provided insight and clarity into some nuances within NC family law.
In Bossian v. Bossian, the Court—authored by Judge April Wood—touched on an array of issues including private modification of a custody order, effectuating a prior contempt order, and Rule 59 & Rule 60 Motions.
Background Fact Pattern
In Bossian, the parties were married in August 1998 and had two minor children before they eventually separated and divorced after February 2013.
A child custody and support order was entered in February 2015 granting primary custody of the parties’ two minor children to the Plaintiff-mother and secondary physical custody in the form of visitation during the minor children’s school breaks to the Defendant-father, who was living in Rhode Island.
The Order also required Defendant to pay $1,225.87 in monthly child support until the order was modified or terminated.
In March 2015, the court resolved the pending equitable distribution claim requiring Defendant to pay a $1,800 distributive award to Plaintiff from the proceeds following the sale of the marital home. These two orders remained in effect and were never modified by the court.
Shortly after, in January 2016, the parties privately agreed—absent the court’s involvement or permission—to modify the custody order allowing the parties’ younger minor son to move and live with Defendant-father, who ostensibly would assume primary custody.
The minor child remained with Defendant from January 2016 until July 2018 when he returned to North Carolina to live with Plaintiff. Defendant did not pay child support pursuant to the child support order during this period.
Later, in March 2020, Plaintiff filed a show cause motion to hold Defendant in contempt for Defendant’s failure to pay child support, unreimbursed medical expenses, and the distributive award pursuant to the March 2015 Order.
After a contempt hearing, the trial court entered an order in September 2020 holding Defendant in contempt for his failure to pay his aforementioned legal obligations, as well as awarding Plaintiff attorney’s fees.
A few days following the Contempt Order, Plaintiff filed a Rule 60 Motion for Relief to correct a clerical error resulting in a lower miscalculation of Defendant’s child support arrearages.
Defendant filed a Rule 59 Motion for Relief from Civil Contempt and Attorney’s Fees arguing that no evidence was presented at the hearing of Defendant’s current ability to pay—a statutory requirement to be held in civil contempt—contesting his civil contempt adjudication.
Both the party’s respective motions were heard at a hearing in April 2021. The presiding judge granted Plaintiff’s Rule 60 Motion and denied Defendant’s Rule 59 Motion.
The judge concluded the hearing by inquiring whether Defendant had purged his contempt pursuant to the September 2020 Contempt Order. The judge found that Defendant had the present ability to purge his contempt and ordered Defendant to pay $9,300—a reduction from the previously ordered $31,398.52—and be taken into custody until he had satisfied this purge amount.
Defendant appealed the trial court’s granting of Plaintiff’s Rule 60 Motion, denial of Defendant’s Rule 59 Motion, and Defendant’s order to be taken into custody.
Court of Appeals’ Holding & Key Takeaways
The Court of Appeals in its reasoning provided several takeaways in its Bossian holding:
1. A Judge May Effectuate a Previously Adjudicated Contempt Order Without Providing New Notice to the Contemnor
Defendant’s first argument was that the trial court’s holding him in contempt and his arrest after the April 2021 hearing on the party’s respective Rule 59 and 60 motions was a violation of his due process rights because he was not provided notice of the potential contempt hearing and of his arrest.
The Court disagreed holding that so long as the original contempt order was properly initiated—via a judicial order to show cause—and the contemnor had notice of the order and has presently not purged his contempt, then it is within a trial court judge’s discretion whether to stay or effectuate the enforcement of a civil contempt order.
Neither the trial court’s use of a second contempt order to enforce the original contempt order, nor the modification of the original purge amount in a second contempt order, constitutes a “new” contempt order that would require new notice.
2. A Clerical Error in a Contempt Order Does Not Give a Contemnor Legal Justification to Not Comply with the Order
The next argument that Defendant makes is that because both parties were contending that there were errors in the original contempt order, his failure to make the ordered payments could not be willful because he did not have the ability to comply, thereby preventing him from being held in contempt.
The Court noted that two statutory elements of civil contempt are that the contemnor’s violation is willful (i.e., an ability to comply and an intentional failure to do so) and he must have the actual ability to take reasonable measures to comply. However, it disagreed with Defendant’s argument citing Rule 62(b), and held that absent a Rule 62 motion to stay a contempt order, a contemnor’s compliance is mandatory.
3. Private Agreement, Absent a Court Order, Does Not Justify Noncompliance with a Court Order
The final key takeaway from the Court of Appeals’ ruling in Bossian is a contemnor’s noncompliance is still willful regardless of if the parties privately agree to not comply with a court order.
Defendant argued that it was error for the trial court to deny his Rule 59 motion because the evidence showed that his non-payment of his child support obligation was not willful due to the parties’ private modification of the child custody agreement.
The Court was unpersuaded by this argument.
The Court emphasized that pursuant to N.C. law, a child support order can only be modified by the court via a pending child support action and a showing of changed circumstances.
The Court iterated, and then later reiterated, that parties may not modify a court order through extrajudicial written or oral agreement, and a party has an obligation to follow a court order until it has been lawfully changed via judicial decree.
Charlotte Divorce Lawyers – Powers Law Firm
- Equitable Distribution
- Civil Contempt
- Child Support
- Why you should hire a Divorce Lawyer
- Domestic Violence Protective Orders
Is there really such a thing as a “simple divorce?”
No one enters into a marriage expecting it to end in divorce, but unfortunately, that is sometimes the case.
If you are considering separation or divorce, it is important to understand that this is not a decision to be taken lightly.
There are many things to consider, and hiring a qualified divorce attorney is one of the most important decisions you will make.
In this blog post, we will discuss some of the reasons why it is so important to have an experienced attorney on your side during this difficult time.
Can you serve as your own attorney? Do you really need divorce lawyer?
We think the answer is almost always yes; it’s a very good idea to hire an attorney.
Here are four reasons why hiring a divorce lawyer is so important.
Reason One: Asset Division
In many divorces, the biggest asset is the family home. Other assets may include retirement savings, investments, and vehicles. An experienced divorce attorney can help make sure that these assets are divided fairly (consistent with the NC divorce laws) between the two spouses.
Reason Two: Child Custody and Support
If there are children involved in the divorce, custody and support can be major issues. A good divorce lawyer can help make sure that the child custody arrangement is in the best interests of the child and that child support payments are fair.
Reason Three: Alimony/Spousal Support
In some divorces, one spouse may be ordered to pay alimony (also called spousal support) to the other. The amount and duration of alimony can be difficult to determine, but an experienced divorce lawyer will explain your legal rights and legal obligations, as the case may be.
Reason Four: Protection from an Abusive Spouse
Unfortunately, in some cases, one spouse may be abusive towards the other. If this is the case, we think it’s imperative to have a divorce lawyer on your side who has substantial experience handling DV Domestic Violence cases in both criminal court and DVPO / Chapter 50B civil court in Charlotte.
Hiring a divorce attorney is important because they can help make sure you get what you’re entitled to under the law. If you are considering a divorce, we encourage you to contact an experienced Charlotte divorce lawyer today.
The team at Powers Law Firm PA is here to help guide you through this difficult time. Contact us online or give us a call at (704)-342-4357 to schedule your initial consultation with our firm.
Our attorneys understand the unique challenges that come with a divorce, and we are here to help ensure that your rights are protected every step of the way. Let us put our experience to work for you. Call today!
What is ordinarily involved with a divorce?
There are many things to think about when going through a divorce: children, support, property division, and more. That can add up to a lot of emotional distress. Your divorce attorney will be able to help you with all of these things and more.
One of the most important things to consider when getting divorced is what will happen with your children. If you have minor children, you will likely need to come up with a parenting plan that outlines how your kids will spend time with each parent and what the financial arrangements will be.
Your attorney can help you create a parenting plan that is in the best interests of your children.
Another important thing to consider when getting divorced is how your assets will be divided. You and your spouse likely have many assets, including your home, savings accounts, retirement accounts, and more. You will need to come to an agreement on who gets what.
Your attorney can help you negotiate a fair property division agreement with your spouse.
If you are getting divorced, you likely have many questions about the process. We think the best way to get answers to your questions is to consult with an experienced divorce attorney. Schedule a consultation with an attorney at Powers Law Firm today to learn more about how we can help you through your divorce.
The Charlotte Divorce Law Firm, Powers Law Firm PA, is here to help guide you through this difficult time. Contact us now to schedule a consultation.
What is Legal Separation in North Carolina?
Big picture, legal separation refers to when the couple remains legally married but lives apart. In some states, the couple must live apart for a short period of time before they can file for a divorce.
In North Carolina, the parties must be separated for one year before a Family Court Judge can grant a divorce.
If you are considering filing for a legal separation, it is important to consult with an experienced family law attorney who can explain the NC Family laws and help you navigate the process.
What Are the Grounds for Divorce?
The grounds, or reasons, for divorce vary by state.
Some states grounds for divorce due to irreconcilable differences or incompatibility.
In North Carolina, there are different grounds for divorce, which are listed in Article 1 of NCGS Chapter 50 – Divorce and Alimony.
They include things like:
- Incurable Insanity – Grounds for Absolute Divorce – N.C.G.S. § 50-5.1
- Living Separate and Apart for one year (either Plaintiff or Defendant have resided in NC for a period of six (6) months – N.C.G.S. § 50-6
- Divorce from Bed and Board – N.C.G.S. § 50-7
What Happens if We Cannot Agree on the Terms of Our Divorce?
If you and your spouse cannot agree on the terms of your divorce, then you may have to go to court and let a judge decide. This is called litigation.
It’s important to understand, prior to taking some divorce proceedings to trial in North Carolina, there are instances when mediation is mandatory. For example, parents (and other legally interested parties) making a claim for custody of a child or children must attend mediation unless the Judge “waives” mediation.
A waiver is not automatic and therefore should not be assumed as 100% guaranteed to happen.
It requires the filing of a special kind of Motion known by divorce lawyers as a Motion and Order to Waive Custody Mediation.
Another example of when mediation takes place is if the spouses cannot agree upon property division. Mediation is required for Equitable Distribution.
The majority of divorces are settled out of court through mediation or negotiation or collaborative divorce, but some cases do end up going to trial. If your case does go to trial, it will be important to have an experienced courtroom lawyer with practical trial skills by your side to help you navigate the process.
If you are considering filing for a divorce in North Carolina, or if you have already been served with divorce papers, divorce attorneys can explain the NC Family laws and help you navigate the process.
The attorneys at Powers Law Firm PA help clients with divorce and family law cases, including property division, alimony, child custody and support, post-separation support, and more. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.
Can the parties waive the period of legal separation in North Carolina?
No, the parties can NOT waive the one-year period of separation in North Carolina even if they agree to do so in writing.
What are some common mistakes people make during their divorce?
One of the most common mistakes people make during their divorce is not being prepared. This can mean not having all the necessary paperwork in order or not knowing what to expect from the divorce process.
Another common mistake is trying to do too much on their own and not seeking help from a divorce lawyer. The divorce process is complex. It can be confusing, especially if you don’t have much experience dealing with the legal system. We think it’s imperative to have someone on your side who understands the law and who is looking out for your best interests.
Finally, people often make the mistake of assuming that they will get everything they want in the divorce settlement. This is rarely the case, and it’s important to be realistic about what you can expect to receive.
Another common mistake people make during their divorce is failing to disclose all of their assets. It is important to be honest about all of your assets and debts during the divorce process.
If you are considering filing for a divorce, or if you have already been served with divorce papers, contact a reputable divorce lawyer. The experienced divorce attorneys at Powers Law Firm PA provide legal guidance and can explain the court proceedings.Learn More
Alienation of Affection in NC
Messing with a marital relationship is a big deal. In fact, it can have substantial consequences.
While it may seem to some an outdated law, one would be wise to understand this: Alienation of Affection is alive and well in North Carolina.
For that matter, so is Criminal Conversation.
People sometimes ignore claims of Alienation of Affection, and Criminal Conversation; in fact, on more than one occasion we’ve seen responses that dare, if not invite, litigation. We think that’s a tremendous mistake. However you may feel about the AACC laws in North Carolina, people do sue for interfering with marriages – Bill Powers, Charlotte Family Law Attorney
If you are somehow involved in an AACC claim, (Alienation of Affection / Criminal Conversation) we hope this blog post helps provide some of the basics behind the law.
Thereafter, if you have questions about bringing a possible claim (or defending a lawsuit alleging interfering with a marriage), the attorneys at the Powers Law Firm are available for consultation.
What is Alienation of Affection in North Carolina?
Under what lawyers may call the Common Law, it has traditionally been possible for someone to sue their spouse’s lover if they can prove that the affair led to the breakdown of the marriage.
That is, someone interfered with the marriage, thus resulting in Alienation of Affection. People tend to have a lot of questions about AACC claims in North Carolina, such as:
- Is this law still relevant in today’s society?
- Or is it a thing of the past?
- Can you sue someone in North Carolina for Alienation of Affections?
- How much are “damages?”
- What is the difference between Alienation of Affection and Criminal Conversation?
The NC Alienation of Affection Law
Chapter 52 of the North Carolina General Statutes sets forth the law on Alienation of Affections and Criminal Conversation.
In order to prove a case for alienation of affections, the plaintiff must show that:
There was a valid marriage between the plaintiff and the spouse;
Genuine affection or love existed between them;
That affection or love was alienated or destroyed; AND
The wrongful and malicious acts of the defendant caused the alienation of affection or love.
Actions that may be considered “wrongful” include adultery, criminal conversation, and/or any other deliberate interference with the marital relationship.
If you’ve received a letter from a lawyer, threatening litigation for interfering with a marraige, don’t fire off an angry response or speak about what happened. Lawyer up – Bill Powers, Family Law Attorney in Charlotte
It is important to understand, while more commonly related to romantic relationships and/or sexual encounters with a cheating spouse, people other than “lovers” can be held liable for Alienation of Affection.
For example, in North Carolina, an interfering “in-law” can be technically subject to civil claims under the NC affection law.
What are the possible damages for an Alienation of Affections claim in NC?
In North Carolina, the general rule is that AACC plaintiffs can recover both economic and non-economic damages for interfering with a loving marriage.
Economic damages are those which compensate a plaintiff for monetary losses related to the interference with the marriage. These may include:
- Loss of earnings or earning capacity
- Medical expenses
- Counseling/therapy expenses
- Other financial harms suffered as a result of the alienation
Noneconomic damages are those which cannot be calculated in terms of dollars and cents. Instead, they seek to compensate a plaintiff for more intangible injuries, such as:
- Mental anguish
- Anxiety – Emotional Distress
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of love and affection
- Interference with an exclusive, marital sexual relationship
In some cases, there also can be an award punitive damages.
Punitive damages are designed to punish a defendant for particularly egregious conduct and to serve as a deterrent for others who might be tempted to engage in similar behavior to the defendant’s conduct.
What is the difference between Alienation of Affections and Criminal Conversation?
Criminal conversation is very similar to alienation of affections.
The main difference is that criminal conversation focuses on sexual intercourse between the spouse and the third party, while an affection lawsuit can encompass any wrongful or malicious interference with the marriage, whether sexual or not.
Both claims for wrongful conduct were created at a time when North Carolina (and most other states) did not allow divorce for any reason other than adultery by a cheating spouse.
As a result, an affection claim was a legal recourse available to spouses who had been wronged by a cheating spouse and his or her lover.
With the advent of no-fault divorce, a criminal conversation/affection claim has become much less common. Only a few states still recognize what lawyers may refer to as “heart balm” affection cases.
However, Alienation of Affection lawsuits remain viable in North Carolina and can be brought in certain circumstances.
If you think you may have a claim for alienation of affections or criminal conversation, you should contact an experienced family law attorney to discuss your case.
Do all Divorce Lawyers handle Alienation of Affection cases?
While such a claim for Alienation of affection remains valid under the NC law, few family law/divorce lawyers in North Carolina are willing to serve as legal counsel in a civil lawsuit.
There are various reasons for that.
Some divorce lawyers personally disagree with the cause of action. Other attorneys do not have jury trial experience.
Alienation of affection lawsuits are often filed in Superior Court in North Carolina. Divorces are handled in District Court in NC, by a District Court “family court” judge.
The cause of action in an affection lawsuit is in some ways fundamentally different than issues involving Equitable Distribution, child custody, and support – Bill Powers, Charlotte Divorce Lawyer
Our law firm helps people with Alienation of Affections cases, both in bringing causes of action and defending them.
We do not limit ourselves to territorial restrictions, meaning that while a Charlotte-based family law firm, we will travel in appropriate circumstances to help people.
In fact, given the somewhat sensitive nature of such causes of action, some clients prefer working with an attorney or law firm from another judicial district or jurisdiction.
Our law license says ‘North Carolina’ on it and isn’t limited to Mecklenburg County. In fact, when it comes to AACC claims, historically we’ve served more people from surrounding counties in smaller towns. When we think we can help people, we will travel – Bill Powers, Alienation of Affections Lawyer
Are sexual relations required?
An Alienation of Affection lawsuit does not require proof of sexual intercourse or sexual conduct. Similarly, a divorce is not required.
The plaintiff need only prove their spouse’s affections were materially affected due to the adulterous spouse’s lover and his or her actions.
Affection lawsuits may use proof of such behavior to prove why or how a spouse’s affections were materially harmed.Learn More
VICTIMS of Domestic Violence – 50B Domestic Violence Protection Orders in Monroe: What You Need to Know
Domestic violence is a pervasive problem that rarely receives the attention it deserves. Union County, North Carolina, is no exception to this unfortunate reality. As legal counsel for people facing complex family issues, we can help file for Domestic Violence Protection Orders in Monroe.
We can also appear with you at the Court hearing in Monroe District Court.
A recent study by the U.S. Department of Justice found that one in four women are victims of domestic violence at some point during their lives, with Native American/Alaskan Native women having the highest rates of domestic violence at 46.5% followed by African-American women at 35%.
Domestic violence is a crime that affects victims, no matter their race or socioeconomic status. People from all kinds of backgrounds seek protection orders.
The effects of domestic violence on minor children are well known and quite serious.
Obtaining a protection order against an abuser may begin first by filing ex parte Complaint and Motion with the Clerk’s Office.
Ex Parte Domestic Violence Protection Orders in Monroe
Family law attorneys, law enforcement officers, and court personnel may refer to a temporary protection order as a “10-day Order” as a ” Ex Parte 50B.”
DVPO’s are available in District Court in North Carolina to assist victims of domestic violence as a means of obtaining immediate help and protection from the person who has been terrorizing them.
They also can serve as a way for law enforcement to respond to complaints of DV, especially in instances of enforcing violations of a no contact Order.
Once an ex parte Protection Order is granted, which is a type of temporary restraining order, “Service of Process” begins.
That’s where the representatives from the court system “serve” the abuser with official notice of the civil lawsuit.
That’s also when they are officially advised of the protection order process and court hearing date.
What happens if someone violates a DVPO?
Once served, violation of even a temporary restraining order, specifically the “ten day ex parte protection order” is a serious criminal offense.
A 50B Order in civil court is separate and distinct from criminal court. A temporary order may affect the immediate custody of minor children.
A Motion for a protection order may be accompanied by related criminal charges.
In Monroe, North Carolina, the court hearing for the DVPO is on a different day than when any charges like Assault on a Female, Communicating Threats, Stalking, and Harassing Phone Calls will be handled on a court date in criminal court.
Depending on the type of criminal charges, that may take place in District Court or Superior Court.
Who can file a restraining order in North Carolina?
North Carolina General Statute 50B-1 lays out the requirements to obtain a domestic violence protective order. It includes things like:
- The person seeking the DVPO must be in fear of “immediate serious bodily injury.” That fear can be based on either past actions, violent or threatening acts, or current threats.
- Protection Orders require one of several different kinds of relationships with the abuser. This includes current or former spouses, people who have children together, live-in partners, people involved in dating relationships, or anyone else currently residing together.
- The abuser must have committed an act of domestic violence against the petitioner within the past year. Domestic violence is defined as “any assault or physical injury resulting from sexual battery, any threat of imminent physical violence, or any physical violence committed against that person by a relative, household member, or current or former sexual or intimate partner.”
It is important to remember that domestic violence can be charged as a misdemeanor crime under NC General Statute 14-32.2(a), even if the DVPO is filed at the magistrate level at the country courthouse.
This means that even if you are successful in obtaining an order for protection, the abuser may still be prosecuted criminally. Entry of a Domestic Violence Protection Orders in Monroe does not affect the criminal case. The dismissal of protection orders does not result in an automatic dismissal of criminal charges pending at the Union County courthouse.
What is the process for getting a Domestic Violence 50B restraining order in Monroe NC?
The process for obtaining a Domestic Violence 50B protective order is relatively straightforward.
Fill out paperwork:
The petitioner should ask the court clerk at the Union County Courthouse in Monroe to provide them with a Complaint and Motion for Domestic Violence Protective Order (Form AOC-CV-303).
Although it may seem daunting, the petitioner need only complete Complaint and Motion, which may include a short statement describing why they seek protection from intimate partner violence.
Only the court may extend a 10-day temporary restraining order to a one year order.
Issues regarding permanent child custody, child support, and long term visitation of minor children are often resolved through a civil filing under Chapter 50 of the general statutes.
Attend Court – Hearing for Protective Order:
If the Complaint and Motion for Protection Order is uncontested by the abuser, then a hearing may be avoided altogether.
The temporary order may be extended, when legally and factually appropriate, unless the complaining party not longer feels they need protection or requests the protection Order not be extended for an additional period of time.
If there is a contested DVPO, both the petitioner and defendant appear before a judge. At this hearing, each party can make their case for why the protective order should be ordered or denied.
** NOTE: A Motion and Complaint for Domestic Violence Protective Order (DVPO) does not always result in an Order of Protection or Protective Order. The matter may be set for further hearing by a District Court Judge hear the matter and make Findings of Fact and the issuance of a protective order as appropriate.
Domestic Violence Protective Orders are an important way to stop acts of DV and obtaining immediate protection from the person who has been inflicting pain and fear.
For more information regarding Domestic Violence Protective Orders or any other family law issues such as child support or the protection order process, contact our knowledgeable Monroe family law attorneys for an initial consultation.
We represent clients in Union County, including all of the following cities: Monroe, Waxhaw, Indian Trail, Wingate, and Weddington, North Carolina. We also serve clients throughout the surrounding counties of Mecklenburg County (Charlotte) and Iredell County (Mooresville, Statesville) in both District and Superior Court.
What protections are available under a domestic violence protection order?
A domestic violence protection order (DVPO) is a court order, which means it must be obeyed and enforced by law enforcement. If an abuser violates the DVPO, he can be arrested for a crime and subsequently prosecuted.
In addition to having criminal sanctions for any violations of a DVPO, abusers may also face consequences at the civil level.
Since domestic violence is a form of intentional tort, an abuser may be sued for monetary damages in a civil court case by his victim.
A DVPO can be granted against someone who is an “intimate partner” or has lived with or has had a dating relationship with the petitioner.
If the abusive relationship involves a family member, like a spouse or ex-spouse, child, stepchild, parent, stepparent, grandparent, sibling or stepsibling of the petitioner; then they may be subject to DVPO protection.
What is covered by a domestic violence protective order?
Domestic Violence Protection Orders in Monroe usually cover and protect the victim and may include protection of minor children, as may be necessary and appropriate for their Best Interests. If a DVPO is granted on behalf of a minor child or children, then it will specifically say so in writing.
The DVPO is written to help keep you (and your kids) safe from future harm by the abuser. Some of the more common protections that are included in a DVPO may include:
- Prohibiting abuse, including physical, verbal, sexual assault, and emotional abuse
- Enjoining the abuser from contacting you at home or work or anywhere else you might be
- Granting exclusive use and possession of your home to you and excluding the abuser
- Allowing you to have temporary custody of any minor children
- Allowing you to have temporary use of a vehicle if necessary, including keeping the car(s) in your
If you are concerned that your ex will use firearms against you, then you should specifically request that the judge include the prohibition of firearms in your DVPO.
How do you prepare for a domestic violence case?
Your attorney will need to know as much as possible about the violence that you have suffered through. This includes:
- Dates and times of all incidents
- Locations of those incidents
- Ages and names of children involved in the incidents
- Photographs, real evidence (like hospital records) and other documentation related to injuries sustained
- Any prior Court Orders or Permanent Child Custody ORder from other jurisdictions relating to custody or a similar ex parte order
If you have been physically abused, then your attorney will also need to know about any broken bones, black eyes, or other types of injuries. In some cases, they may even need to contact a doctor in order to get a record of the abuse.
What evidence do I need?
The more documentation and evidence of abuse that you can provide, the better your case will likely be. This includes, but is not limited to things like:
- Photos of injuries you have sustained or damage to personal property
- Hospital records related to injuries or hospitalization
- Witness Testimony —from people who can give direct evidence that they witnessed or overheard an incident of violence, threatened abuse, or saw resulting injuries of domestic abuse
- Police Reports prepared by a law enforcement officer
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or protective orders, or would like to petition for a protective order, click here to schedule a confidential consultation.
The family law attorneys at Powers Law Firm, P.A. represent clients in Union County, North Carolina, who need help obtaining child custody and child visitation, want to establish or modify child support, or need help with a domestic violence order.
What are the consequences of Domestic Violence to children?
Children witnessing domestic violence need help and support in coping with the violence they have seen and heard.
It is important to encourage your child to talk about their feelings, fears, concerns over threatened abuse, and expectations of both themselves and the abuser.
By encouraging them to express their feelings about domestic abuse you can be sure that they are getting the emotional support they need during
What are the consequences of Domestic Violence to an adult victim?
When you are the victim of domestic violence it can be physically, emotionally, socially, and financially damaging.
Financial abuse can cause many problems for your future because you will not have money to support yourself or your family.
Sexual abuse is a serious crime in North Carolina; allegations of a sex crime, sexual violence, and sexual abuse will be actively investigated by law enforcement.
What is Stalking?
Stalking is the crime of following someone around to monitor their behaviors or activities.
It can be done by repeatedly calling, texting, messaging on social media sites, showing up at your work or home, vandalizing your property and other similar actions.
The purpose of stalking is typically not for physical harm but instead to make someone feel intimidated or afraid.
If you believe you or a family member is a victim of stalking or sexual assault, contact law enforcement and file a police report.
Advise them where the abuse occurred and where the alleged abuser may be located.
Signs of stalking may include things like:
- Repeatedly calls or sends text messages.
- Sends gifts, letters, and other items to your home, school, or work without a specific request from you for them.
- Monitors your time spent on the computer, cell phone, social media sites, and other areas where you have an online presence.
- Shows up at places you are without a legitimate reason for being there. This could be your home, work during the business day, or the children’s school.
- Makes threats of harm against you, your family, pets, or property or family home
- Attempts to have an innocent person harmed if they are in a romantic or social relationship with you.
- The alleged abuser attempts to have you harmed if they are in romantic or social relationships with you.
- Conducts research on you and your home, school, work, and other areas where you spend time. This can include information from public records as well as the internet.
- Pretends to be someone else to form a relationship with you.
What are some signs that I may be a victim of Domestic Violence?
You could be the victim of domestic violence:
- If you are intimidated by your partner by him/her following you, making threats of harm.
- If your partner has a history of impulsive, violent behavior or domestic abuse towards you or a family member.
- If your partner shows jealousy of you spending time with friends and family members.
- If your partner keeps track of everywhere you go and tries to make situations where he/she can be alone with you.
- If your partner intimidates you by using physical size.
- If your partner is in violation of a civil protection order, temporary order, or any condition of release or bond or protection order set by a District or Superior Court judge.
- If your partner makes decisions for you that affect both of you or the family. For example, withholding money to buy groceries because he/she is angry with you about something unrelated.
What happens if I don’t press charges?
If the abuse is happening now and you choose not to press charges, it’s still a good idea to talk with a local domestic violence advocate or shelter representative who can help you stay safe.
They may be able to assist in putting together a safety plan for you and your children.
An attorney can explain the benefits of a long-term protection order to you and the process of seeking a temporary order at the Union County Courthouse.
Will the Judge be mad at me?
No. Judges are aware that many victims stay in abusive relationships and go back to their abusers, even after significant instances of dating violence or violence in the family home. Domestic Violence Protection Orders in Monroe are given close, careful consideration legal professionals.
Do I need an attorney?
It is not required, but it can be helpful to hire an attorney if you are seeking a temporary order or one year protective order against your abuser.
Family law attorneys can explain temporary support, temporary orders, custody issues, and visitation with your current or former spouse or co-parent.
While a trusted friend or family member may be a great resource for emotional support, only a licensed attorney can give legal advice and represent you in court in North Carolina.
Are Harassing Phone Calls a Type of Domestic Violence?
Yes, harassing phone calls can be a part of domestic violence and can lead to stalking charges.
If someone is calling at work or home, leaving messages on your answering machine, or if they’re calling you during odd hours of the night/morning it may be considered harassment.
You may be entitled to a temporary order or other protective order under Chapter 50, Chapter 50B, or Chapter 50C depending on the nature and circumstances of your individual case.
I feel like I’m in danger, what do I do?
If you are afraid for your life or feel like you are in immediate danger, call 9-1-1.
When the police arrive, tell them what’s going on and show them any evidence you have of the abuse. Also, let them know if there is a weapon in your home (or current address) that belongs to your abuser.
If there is a protection order or temporary order in place, advise law enforcement. If you have a copy of the protection order, give them a copy to review.
What are some common myths about Domestic Violence?
Myth: There’s no help available for someone who is being abused.
Reality: There are different kinds of help and support available for victims and their children.
Some people do not realize it but there are lawyers, police officers, judges, and court personnel who understand the dynamics of domestic violence and how to deal with them.
And that’s not to mention the many good support organizations throughout North Carolina.
You are not alone, help is available. That’s one reason our telephone number is: 704-342-HELP
Myth: Men who are being abused by their wives/girlfriends or who want a protection order are weak.
Reality: No one should be abused no matter their sex or background. There are thousands of men in this country who have experienced abuse in their relationships and many of them are intimidated into staying quiet.
No one should be abused no matter their sex or background. No one should be subject to a sexual assault, dating violence, or live perpetually in fear.
Myth: Domestic Violence only happens in lower-income homes/rural areas.
Reality: Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence regardless of education, race, religion, age, sexual orientation, etc., and may benefit from the proper issuance of a protection order.
Myth: Domestic violence only happens outside of the home.
Reality: A large number of domestic violence cases take place in homes while children are present. This is how they learn to act, love, and solve their problems.
Do I need a lawyer for a Domestic Violence case?
A lawyer is not required; but, if you are trying to get temporary orders or a one year protective order against your abuser, it may be helpful to hire an attorney.
Family law attorneys can explain temporary support, custody issues, and visitation with your current or former spouse or co-parent.
When is the best time to hire a divorce lawyer?
If either you or a household member is subject to abuse, we think the best time to hire a family law attorney is as early as possible in the divorce process.
That’s true even if you and your spouse can agree the terms of your divorce.
However, if one or both parties cannot agree on some issues or there are contested issues of the divorce, then hiring an attorney may be helpful to you.
We also think it’s a good idea for the parties to resolve parenting plan and child support issues, without litigation, whenever possible; but, when the parties cannot agree on these items it makes sense to contact a family law attorney in Charlotte or Monroe, North Carolina.
If you need help with your legal issue please reach out to us today at 704-342-HELP.
Please note: This information is not intended as legal advice and should not be relied on as such.
For more information on our family law services, visit our website: Charlotte-Divorce-Lawyer.com
How do divorce lawyers help?
If you and your spouse agree on all terms of the divorce, then a family law attorney can assist you preparing a Separation Agreement that might include resolving issues involving:
- Post Separation Support
- Equitable Distribution
- Child Custody
- Child Support
Divorce lawyers explain how court works, what to expect when going through a divorce, and how much it costs to hire an attorney. Divorce lawyers can also help file Domestic Violence Protection Orders in Monroe and guide you through the process.
If you need help with your legal issue please reach out to us today at 704-342-HELP
Prior to discussing the intricacies of your individual case, our firm will perform a “conflict check” to confirm availability of representation.Learn More