In order to divorce in North Carolina, you must be separated from your spouse for a full year. Separations are emotional and turbulent periods of time for everyone involved, and it doesn’t help if you are legally required to go through a year-long separation process before you can actually break up. We have seen people make their fair share of avoidable mistakes during this time period and would like to leave you with the following thoughts.
- Making a plan. Separating is a hard decision and the “right time” hardly ever presents itself. However, it is critical to make a plan and to follow through with your plan. A family law attorney can help guide you through your options regarding where you are going to live, property division, post-separation support, child custody, and child support.
- Taking your time before speaking with a family law attorney. While you wait for days, weeks, and months to speak with your attorney, your spouse has had an opportunity to retain a lawyer, hide or dispose of marital property, or run up debt on your joint accounts. A lawyer can help you immediately get a grasp on protecting your financial interests.
- Acting on your anger or acting impulsively. Volatility, vandalism, property destruction, and violence do not help anything. To the contrary, acting in this manner can open you up to arrest, criminal charges, and an emergency protective order against you. In turn, the court will consider your actions when deciding issues of property division and alimony and you also stand to lose child custody rights or parenting time.
- Do not sign a post-separation agreement without an attorney, especially if your spouse has an attorney. Your spouse’s attorney cannot represent the both of you when it comes to a post-separation agreement. Further, that attorney has no duty to serve your interest. Separation agreements can lock you into incredibly unfair child custody orders, or can substantially deprive you of the financial security that your are legally entitled to.
- Failing to file claims for property division or alimony. If you obtain a divorce decree before you have filed a claim for equitable division or marital property or for alimony payments, you waive the ability to seek out either in the future. This can be financially devastating for you as you have given up your equitable share of marital property as well as the ability to receive spousal maintenance payments.
New Direction Family Law
If you are separated and seeking a divorce, contact New Direction Family Law. We understand that this is one of the hardest times of your life and want to help you through to your best resolution. Our attorneys have ten years of combined legal experience, understand the law, and are driven to serve our clients’ legal interests. We serve clients in Wake, Johnston Durham and surrounding counties. Call our legal team at (919) 719-3470 to schedule an appointment or visit our website.