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Common Misconceptions About Divorce in North Carolina

In Separation & Divorce by Elizabeth Stephenson

The legal process of a divorce can seem like an intimidating concept for many people. It represents an unknown and unfamiliar concept that seems prohibitively expensive and complex. These misconceptions have an unfortunate consequence of keeping spouses in marriages that should have ended long ago. If you are seriously struggling with your marriage, are considering a separation, or are already separated, we urge you not to put your life on hold for the mere reason that the legal aspects of divorce seem scary or expensive. Instead, we hope to dispel some common misconceptions about divorce in North Carolina. Absolute divorce is not based on fault. One common misconception about divorce is that a spouse has to prove that the marriage is ending because of the other spouse’s acts or omissions. …

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Why Credibility Goes a Long Way in the Courtroom

In Separation & Divorce by Carly Baker

Honesty is a character trait that distinguishes us and gives us a personal sense of pride that we are inherently good people. It is a facet of many religions and theories of morality. It is a trait that many parents try to instill in their children. Honesty matters, as it shapes the way we are perceived and can really be of great benefit to our relationships, our friendships, and our careers. In the opposite sense, dishonesty can also define us in ways we don’t want. One example of this is in a courtroom. Judges and Juries Make Credibility Determinations   Throughout the American legal system, one of the core legal rights is the right to a trial by a fair and impartial judge or jury. Further, judges and juries are …

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Traits of an Enforceable Prenuptial Agreement

In Relationships, Separation & Divorce by Elizabeth Stephenson

While planning for marriage is an unbelievably exciting time in a person’s life, it is important to make good, sensible decisions in the process. An unfortunate number of marriages end in divorce, and sometimes, those who find themselves in that position wind up wishing they had better protected themselves. This is why couples choose to enter into prenuptial agreements. What Are Prenuptial Agreements? Prenuptial agreements are contracts between people who are about to enter into marriage, which can address financial matters between the couple in the event of a divorce. This may include the classification of property as separate property, how property will be divided, what happens to property upon the death of a spouse, or the amount and duration of spousal support. The existence of an agreement can save …

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The Basics of Collaborative Law

In Separation & Divorce by Sarah Hink

The decision to separate with the intention of divorce is not a decision that people take lightly. It is the end of a significant chapter in each partner’s life and of a shared history. Sometimes, people want to end their marriage with a legal battle—to get some “justice” for wrongs that ended the relationship. Unfortunately, this often ends up being expensive and creating new resentments. Further, a prolonged legal fight never ends with either side feeling a healthy sense of closure needed to move forward. Collaborative Law Defined With the animosity, expense, and court time of a divorce fight in mind, there is a mechanism in place that allows divorcing couples an opportunity to end things amicably and by agreement. This is referred to as “collaborative law”. Collaborative law is …

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The Divorce Process Doesn’t Have to be Scary

In Separation & Divorce by Carly Baker

There is a mental process that married people go through when they consider whether to get divorced. They consider the emotional and practical implications of what a divorce would mean for themselves and for their children. The decision whether to divorce is a big one, and it is completely natural to go back and forth before actually putting the wheels in motion. Unfortunately, part of that equation for people is the belief that the legal process of getting divorced is intimidating. As family lawyers with over a decade of experience, we can tell you that the divorce process doesn’t have to be scary. An Absolute Divorce is Straightforward Getting legally divorced is actually a straightforward proposition. North Carolina is an absolute divorce state, in which a spouse is entitled to …

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Forensic Accounting and Divorce Proceedings

In Separation & Divorce by Elizabeth Stephenson

Even in the most amicable of separations, dividing property when a marriage ends can be a complex and intense process. In North Carolina, family courts are tasked with making an equitable distribution of marital property between spouses when a marriage dissolves. This involves classifying property as marital or separate property, determining the market value of the marital property, then dividing the marital property in accordance with numerous factors relating to each spouse’s situation, their contributions to the marriage, and fairness. For couples with a large amount of marital property, including real estate, investments, retirement accounts, deferred compensation, stock options, and/or business interests, identifying and determining the value of such property is no small task. Further, the stakes are very high as the property represents both spouses’ hard work and their …

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Frequently Asked Questions: Alimony in North Carolina

In Separation & Divorce, Wealth by Carly Baker

For many couples who divorce, alimony is an important and potentially hard-fought issue. Designed to provide for the maintenance and support of a spouse following the dissolution of a marriage, alimony can be hard to understand because there are so many factors that a court can weigh when deciding the duration and amount of this spousal support. Below are the answers to some frequently asked questions we encounter regarding alimony. How Long Will I Receive Alimony? There are no one-size fits all answers to this question, as judges are afforded broad discretion when it comes to alimony awards. However, many courts will heavily weigh the duration of the marriage in determining whether to award temporary or indefinite alimony to a spouse. The way that many courts consider the duration of …

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Top Five Reasons to Consult with a Family Law Attorney

In Child Custody, Separation & Divorce by Elizabeth Stephenson

We are often asked if you are required to have an attorney when going through a divorce. The simple answer—no. However, there are several reasons that having a family law attorney is very beneficial. Consider these top five reasons to consult with a family law attorney if you are considering a separation or currently going through a divorce: You may fail to preserve your legal rights on your own. Legal proceedings regarding property, spousal support, child support, and custody are governed by rules of procedure, the rules of evidence, local court rules, and the North Carolina General Statutes. There are strict deadlines and pleading requirements when it comes to these issues. Failure to meet critical deadlines, or filing improper pleadings can irreparably damage your ability to obtain legal relief that …

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Seeking a Higher Education After You Divorce

In Separation & Divorce by Sarah Hink

Attaining a college degree, a professional license, a masters degree, or other certification is part of the American Dream for a lot of people. Not only is there a sense of pride and accomplishment in this achievement, but it can also be an essential step toward career advancement and higher salary. For some, dreams of a higher education were put on hold, or did not even start, due to marriage and family. In fact, staying home with children or supporting another spouse’s career advancement is a decision that many people face. Therefore, the spouse that puts aside their educational goals for the sake of family or marriage may find themselves at a disadvantage should their marriages end. Fortunately, there may be relief for spouses in this position. Alimony Supports Further …

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How Civil No Contact Orders Work

In Domestic Violence, Lifestyle, Separation & Divorce by Carly Baker

Violence, sexual assault, stalking, and harassment are a nightmare, and those who live under the threat of a person who has committed these acts need help to protect themselves. Beyond help from law enforcement, there are civil orders that can provide legal protection and restrain perpetrators from continuing their misconduct. These are Domestic Violence Protective Orders (DVPO) and Civil No Contact Orders. The two are different, and even if you don’t qualify for one, the other might apply to your circumstances. Civil No Contact Order A civil no contact order is a restraining order that can be obtained by a victim against a perpetrator of unlawful conduct. This unlawful conduct includes stalking, non-consensual sexual conduct, acts that would make a reasonable person fear for his or her safety, as well …