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