Understanding the Process of Divorce
Obtaining a divorce in Charlotte may be completely foreign to you. Almost nothing may make sense anymore.
Even thinking about getting divorced can be a scary thing. Life and how your family operates on a daily basis may seem to be spiraling out of control.
There is a LOT of information out there both on the internet and as offered by well-meaning friends and family.
Divorce in North Carolina truly is unique to each person and their individual relationships.
“I just can’t take it anymore’ may be something that comes to mind more than you’d like. If you’re in that position, we may be able to help.”
– Bill Powers, Charlotte Divorce Lawyer
That sense or feeling of unease is completely normal, if not expected, and more common than you might realize.
Even in the best of circumstances, divorce is hard.
Separating, working through issues like child custody, support, and distribution of assets is, more often than not, a bit complicated.
That’s true even in marriages with minimal assets.
And in marriages with substantial income, real property, and retirement accounts, calculating post-separation support (PSS), child support, and equitable distribution often involves a careful review of assets by accountants, financial planners, and wealth specialists.The First Steps of Separation
We believe a lot of the anxiety associated with separation and divorce comes from not knowing what to expect.
There are some obvious questions that come to mind:
- Will I lose everything in a divorce?
- Will I be able to see my kids?
- Who decides who gets the kids and visitation?
- Will I be deposed?
- Will I have to file a lawsuit?
- Will there be a trial?
- How long will it take?
- What happens if I change my mind?
- What are the first steps to separation and divorce?
- How much does it cost to get divorced?
One of the singular most important aspects of our job as divorce lawyers is to provide information about the system and process itself.
It’s not unusual for people to come to the initial consultation with substantial preconceived notions.
Comfort in Conformity: Standards, Rules, and Procedures in Divorce Court
“We find, understanding the basics and some of the phraseology Charlotte divorce lawyers use, helps to alleviate the stress involved with legal separation.”
– Bill Powers, Family Law Attorney
Recognizing there is, in fact, a process of divorce is an important first step.
The NC marriage laws , relative to divorces in North Carolina, set forth a general, prescribed pattern to move forward in ending a marriage.
It’s important to note, just like no two relationships are exactly alike, divorce, and the specifics of ending a marriage, are unique.
They are also unique to the state.
Divorce in North Carolina is different from divorce in South Carolina or any other state for that matter.
For example, North Carolina does not recognize “common law marriage,” other states may.
North Carolina requires, by statute, a rather lengthy period of legal separation.
Other states require only a minor waiting period prior to filing for divorce.
North Carolina is a “no-fault divorce” state, where the fault or legal reasoning for ending a marriage need not be alleged or proven.
Some states still require setting forth legal grounds or “fault” as part of the filing.
Even between jurisdictions, how things are handled in Charlotte may be different from other parts of North Carolina, as we have local rules unique to Mecklenburg County.
In Charlotte, divorce lawyers work closely with representatives of the TCA (trial court administrator) and the “family court” system.
Local rules can differ substantially from a divorce in Monroe, in Union County, which has its own unique local rules, or for a family who lives on Lake Norman in Iredell County.
Even between the married parties, goals can be completely divergent, as what is important to one spouse may be irrelevant to the “Ex.”
Fortunately, there are some basic precepts associated with the divorce laws in North Carolina that may give you some level assuredness and comfort.What does “divorce” mean? What is a Divorce in North Carolina?
In simple terms, a divorce is the formal, legal end of a marriage. The marriage is said to be “dissolved.”
Prior to that “dissolution of marriage,” certain legal claims must be property advanced.
Failure to make proper, timely claims for relief can result in their waiver if not addressed according to the NC divorce laws and/or local family court protocols.
For example, the Pine State requires spouses to have lived “separate and apart” (legal separation) for no less than 1 year.
“Waivable” legal rights may include things like:
- Equitable Distribution
Failure to properly assert those rights may result in a waiver of the right to alimony or court-ordered “ED” (equitable distribution).
There may be other legal claims that are extremely important to address, such as child custody, visitation, and child support.
Those claims and legal rights are not necessarily contingent on living separate and apart.
Indeed, as to child custody and visitation, that may be the first issue to address even before legal separation.
While many people may Google, “Divorce Lawyers Near Me,” lawyers in the field of practice tend to refer to themselves as “family law attorneys.”
In part, that’s because a “family” is not necessarily defined by a marriage licensed by the State of North Carolina.
With increasing frequency, attorneys work with clients who live together, own real property with common title, and have children born “out of wedlock.”
That makes the process of “dissolution” of the relationship equally complex.
Our family court judges continue to focus on the best interests of children, their well-being, and their support.