1. When is the best time to get divorced?
2. How do I tell my spouse I want a divorce?
3. Do I need a lawyer for a divorce?
4. How is everything split up in a divorce?
5. Who decides child custody?
6. Who decides visitation?
7. How much is child support?
8. Should I talk to a lawyer before I ask for a divorce?
9. Is North Carolina a no-fault divorce state?
When is the best time to get divorced?
There is no best or perfect time to get divorced. You might want to wait until you have been separated for a while and you are sure that divorce is the right decision for you. You might also want to get divorced as soon as possible if there are issues like domestic violence or child abuse. Before doing anything, especially when it comes to signing any paperwork or agreeing to terms, we think it’s a good idea to talk to a lawyer to figure out what is best for your situation.
“The process of separation and divorce is different because people are unique. We recommend you carefully consider what is important to you and not worry about what others may have done – Bill Powers, Charlotte Divorce Lawyer
Should I tell my spouse, “I want a divorce?”
You don’t have to tell your spouse right away that you want a divorce. In fact, it makes sense to consider your options before saying anything. Keep your options open. It’s a good idea to seek legal counsel before telling your spouse, “I want a divorce.” That’s particularly true if you’re in a difficult relationship or are concerned your spouse may try to hide assets, take the children, attempt to gain some perceived tactical advantage, or do something mean-spirited to hurt you. Our family law attorneys in Charlotte can go over your legal rights and responsibilities. We enjoy helping clients make plans. Divorce is complicated. We encourage you to avoid surprises and possibly costly mistakes.
“With good information come good decisions. Don’t rely on what friends or family may say about the NC Divorce Laws. While well-meaning, it could be incredibly inaccurate. We’d love to sit down with you, help you plan a course of action, and explore your legal options – Bill Powers, Charlotte Divorce Attorney
Do I need a lawyer for a divorce?
In North Carolina, you are not required to have a lawyer to get divorced. However, because the process of legal separation and filing for divorce in North Carolina can be complicated, it is a good idea to consult with an attorney before making any decisions. Divorce often involves substantial financial assets such as homes, savings accounts, vehicles, second homes, businesses, and retirement accounts. Divorce also can involve debt and disputes over what is and what is not part of the Marital Estate. A lawyer can explain the law and how it applies to your particular situation. Remember, each case is different. There are a lot of moving parts to consider. We’d love to help clients navigate the often complex, if not somewhat overwhelming, process of getting a divorce.
How is everything split up in a divorce?
In North Carolina, the Equitable Distribution law applies to the division of property in a divorce. Equitable does not always mean equal. The Court (the Family Court Judge) decides what is fair under the circumstances. Divorce cases tend to be quite unique. Each divorce and what is best for your family is different. The Court will consider several factors when making an Equitable Distribution award including things like:
- How long the couple was married
- The ages, physical conditions, mental health, and financial conditions of each spouse
- The earnings and earning capacities of each spouse
- The relative education of each spouse and how long it might take to obtain training or education to make it possible to find employment to support themselves.
- The relative assets and liabilities of each spouse and the relative debt service requirements of each spouse, including legal obligations
- The property brought to the marriage by either spouse
Who decides child custody?
When possible, child custody may be agreed upon by the parents. If you and your spouse cannot agree, the Court (the Judge) will decide. The Court looks at many factors when making a custody decision, but the child’s safety and well-being are always the primary concern. Divorce lawyers may refer to that as the “best interests” of the child or the “Polar Star.”
Who decides visitation?
If the parents can agree on visitation, they may put their agreement in writing. If the parents cannot agree on visitation, a District Court “Family Court Judge” in Charlotte will settle the dispute. The Judge may order “supervised visitation” if there is a concern that the child might not be safe with one parent and/or if there is documentation of Domestic Violence. The Court, in the child’s best interests, may also decline to allow visitation. Nothing is more important than the best interests and well-being of children.
How much is child support?
Child support is based on the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines. The Court is given the authority to order child support in an amount that it finds to be fair, reasonable, and in the best interests of the child. Disputes involving Child Custody, Visitation, and Child Support are decided by a District Court Judge. That Judge may also be referred to as a Family Court Judge by domestic attorneys in North Carolina. The NC Child Support Guidelines are based on the combined income of both parents and how many “overnights” each parent spends with the child.
Should I talk to a lawyer before I ask for a divorce?
You are not required to have a lawyer to get a divorce in North Carolina. However, because the process of getting a divorce can be extremely complex, especially when there are legal and factual disputes involving Child Custody, Support, Visitation, Alimony, and Equitable Distribution, it is a good idea to at least consult with an attorney before making any big decisions or signing anything. Divorce often involves substantial assets such as homes, savings accounts, vehicles, second homes, business assets, and retirement accounts. An experienced divorce lawyer in Charlotte can go over your legal rights and options, serving as a guide to achieving what is best for you and your family.
Is North Carolina a no-fault divorce state?
North Carolina is a no-fault divorce state. This means that you do not have to prove marital fault or misconduct or that your spouse did anything wrong. Marital misconduct may be considered in setting or denying Alimony. Both parties do not need to agree to get divorced. Once the statutory requirements of the NC Divorce Laws are met, which include a minimum period of one year of legal separation, a divorce may be granted by the Court. Prior to an absolute divorce, issues involving Equitable Distribution and Alimony should be alleged in a Complaint for Divorce (lawsuit).