Sometimes married couples who plan on getting divorced think it’s a good idea to settle-up with a spouse and then retain a lawyer to draw up the necessary paperwork.
Clearly, it’s preferable to be reasonable and proceed in good faith in dealing with your spouse, particularly in instances where the marriage has fallen apart but the respective parties still care for one another.
Marriage offers an economy of scale that extends beyond just tax rates, deductions, and claiming eligible dependents.
Legal Separation and dividing a household often involve substantially increased living expenses.
Establishing and maintaining two separate households on the same income, especially when children are involved, can result in expenses that are in fact more than doubled.
It’s therefore understandable some might think they’re saving money by “working things out” in advance without the participation of legal counsel.
We understand short-term cash flow may be an issue.
At the same time, you worked hard for your house, retirement, 401K, and other personal and marital assets.
You should protect them.
Getting divorced is a major life event.
While an attorney is not required to prepare a Separation Agreement or to even file for divorce in North Carolina, once certain documents are executed and/or filed, some mistakes cannot be fixed – Bill Powers
If you don’t know what QDRO stands for (qualified domestic relations order) or what happens if you fail to timely allege a claim for Equitable Distribution, we urge you to consult with an experienced divorce lawyer in Charlotte.
I did some research on Google
The Internet can be a helpful source of information, at least during the formative stages of a divorce.
If nothing else, on-line research can get you up-to-speed on some of the important terms and general precepts of getting divorced in North Carolina.
Unfortunately, there is a tremendous amount of either misleading or incorrect “free advice” out there.
It is our considered opinion that self-help forums and purportedly “simple online divorce forms” involving post-separation support, child custody agreements, alimony, and Equitable Distribution are problematic at best.
Indeed, executing (signing) some agreements without the advice of a lawyer can have long term, negative, and irrevocable consequences.
It’s imperative to have a thorough understanding of your assets and the true value of the “marital estate.”
That often necessitates a review of bank records, real property valuation(s), mortgages, taxes, and the NC Child Support Guidelines before negotiating or agreeing to terms of separation.
Marriage by its very nature involves a comingling of assets.
Separating and distributing assets, hopefully without harming or reducing their value or incurring substantial financial penalties, can be a challenging if not vexing process.
We believe good decisions are predicated on having accurate, complete information.
That applies to both financial records and protecting your individual legal rights.
Some people tell their spouse, “I want a divorce,” not fully understanding the full range of consequences and how truly complicated determining child visitation, support, and distribution of assets can be.
“The financial aspects of ending a marriage are a common source of conflict and can be as troublesome as settling any hotly contested dispute in court – Bill Powers, Mecklenburg Divorce Lawyer
Before doing anything, perhaps even before telling your spouse you want a divorce, we think it’s important to fully understand your legal rights relative to your particular marriage.
You and your marriage are unique
Contrary to what some might think, one size does not fit all.
That is especially true regarding divorce in North Carolina.
Marital circumstances are rarely exactly the same from one marital relationship to another.
If that weren’t the case, it wouldn’t matter who you married.
What is important to you, how you raise your family, your faith, spending habits, and where you live might not mean a hill of beans to anyone else besides you.
That might even be true for your spouse.
There are reasons people get divorced.
As such, the advice of friends and family, as well-meaning as it may be, is all too often inapplicable to your individual matter, your financial condition, your personal concerns, needs, and circumstances.
It also may be flat out wrong and directly contrary to the divorce laws in North Carolina.
Even close friends and family often do not fully share the intricacies, difficulties, and nuances of their marriages.
Suffice it to say, some things better go unsaid.
Experience shows, those “embarrassing” and “unsaid” issues can be the reason for the divorce in the first place and possibly a point of contention in the future.
Friends and family also may feel it more important to support you and your feelings, rather than be brutally honest regarding certain issues and human frailties.
They also may not have all the facts or a full understanding of what the law is, rather than what they think it is or should be.
One of the benefits of the attorney-client privilege allows for complete disclosure of all the facts and circumstances of a divorce.
“You should tell your divorce lawyer the whole truth, even if it might be a bit embarrassing. Our job is to provide sound legal advice, not to judge you” – Bill Powers
Legal Reference Materials: Separation, Support, Custody, and Divorce
- What does Absolute Divorce mean?
- What does Joint Custody mean?
- What am I entitled to in a Divorce?
- How long does it take to get Divorced in North Carolina?
- Child Custody and Visitation During the Coronavirus
- NC Divorce Laws
Today we will explore the North Carolina approach to collaborative divorce. Established in 2003 via amendment to the North Carolina General Statutes, this legal process leverages alternative dispute resolution to help spouses complete the divorce process as quickly and efficiently as possible.
How Does North Carolina Define Collaborative Divorce?
In Chapter 50, Article 4 of the North Carolina General Statutes, we can find the state-specific definition for collaborative divorce, which is referred to legally as collaborative law.
Under Article 4, collaborative law is a legal procedure that allows a husband and wife to resolve divorce and other marital disputes without involving the courts. Instead of going through lengthy court proceedings, the spouses work together to find a mutually acceptable solution to their problems.
Throughout this process, the spouses will have to account for the standard issues in any divorce. They will have to agree upon the proper division of their property, distributing ownership as they see fit. If the spouses have children together, they will work together to determine the custody arrangements. In certain cases, they will also agree upon the presence and amount of child support, alimony and other support payments.
What are the Requirements for Collaborative Divorce?
As outlined in Article 4, the husband and wife must agree in writing as to the parameters of their collaborative divorce. To be effective, the husband, wife and their lawyers must all sign the writing. The written agreement must outline all relevant understandings concerning the collaborative divorce, such as property division, child custody and support payments.
There is an additional detail to account for with collaborative divorce agreements. If the spouses are unable to reach an agreement through the collaborative divorce process, the attorneys must withdraw from the case. Those same attorneys are not allowed to represent the spouses in future divorce proceedings.
Are Collaborative Divorce Proceedings Confidential?
Article 4 provides that collaborative divorce proceedings are confidential and privileged. This means that all statements, communications and work product related to the collaborative divorce would be inadmissible in future divorce proceedings. This applies to statements, communications and work product from the spouses, attorneys and third-party experts.
Do You Have Questions for a Skilled Family Law Attorney?
Whether you are dealing with collaborative divorce or other aspects of family law, it is vital to tread carefully. Fortunately, an experienced family law attorney can analyze your situation and help you work toward a positive outcome. Located in Charlotte, North Carolina, Powers Landreth PLLC is prepared to assist you with your family law case. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us today for professional assistance.
When most people think of divorce, a complicated, stressful, and costly image comes to mind. While many divorces do end up going down that type of road, especially when the divorce is contested and goes to court, there is an easier option available for couples whose relationship is still strong enough to discuss options face to face in a controlled, neutral environment. This option is called collaborative divorce, and it may be the right choice for you.
What is Collaborative Divorce?
To settle legal disputes, there are generally three accepted methods. The most recognizable option for many people is going to court (litigation) where a judge will make the decision for you after hearing the arguments of both sides. However, an article in Forbes estimates that 95 percent of divorces are settled outside of court. So how are people going about this? Arbitration, which is somewhat similar to litigation, is another option, which involves both parties entering an agreement to let an arbitrator settle the dispute for them. Both parties present their arguments to the arbitrator and the arbitrator will either make a concrete decision or the decision will be allowed to be appealed. Collaborative divorce is similar to arbitration in that it takes place outside of the courtroom, but neither party is forced into making a decision right then and there, and no third party will make the decision for them either. During a collaborative divorce, both parties come to a single room, or separate rooms, and present their sides to the collaborative divorce attorney. The collaborative divorce attorney takes no sides and has nothing to gain or lose by pressuring either party into a decision.
Why Should I Consider Collaborative Divorce?
There are many good reasons for going with a collaborative divorce over litigation. However, it should be kept in mind that in order for collaborative divorce to work, the communicative relationship between both parties must still be somewhat intact and the wishes that both parties have entering the process should already meet somewhere in the middle.
- Cost: The average collaborative divorce cost $19,723 which is less expensive than a traditional litigated divorce, which comes in at an average of $77,746.
- You control the outcome: The collaborative divorce attorney will help both parties come to an understanding and reach a middle ground in terms of asset and property division, child custody, alimony, and other issues. If a decision is made, legal contracts can be signed there or at a later date to enforce the decisions made equally by both parties. You are in control and can agree to or deny any offers presented by the other side.
Contact an Attorney Today
Whether you decide to go with litigation, arbitration, or collaborative divorce, you will need an experienced attorney at your side throughout. Call the Charlotte law office of Powers Landreth PLLC today.