How Can I Prepare for a Divorce?

In Separation & Divorce by Elizabeth Stephenson

The decision to divorce is a massive one. The end of a relationship and an uncertain future can create simultaneous emotions of regret, sadness, anger, and anxiety. Nevertheless, it is important to be mindful that the decisions you make now will have a tremendous impact on your future and to take a methodical, informed approach toward your divorce.

First, it is critical to understand that North Carolina is an absolute divorce state. This means that a couple must live separate and apart for at least a year before they can obtain a divorce. Each state has its own divorce laws that mandate a specific amount of time for a couple to be separated before filing for divorce, and many people who have obtained a divorce in North Carolina will tell you that a year can be a long time to wait. Preparation is necessary when it comes to pursuing an absolute divorce and addressing all of the issues that come with divorce.

  • Speak with a family law attorney. Divorce in North Carolina and the accompanying issues of property division, alimony, child custody, and child support are challenging and complex. Laws regarding these issues are always evolving due to new legislation and case law. It is therefore important to find an attorney with a comprehensive understanding of these laws and procedures, who can provide you comprehensive advice and advocate for your legal rights. Further, an attorney can help you negotiate a separation agreement, which can address property, post-separation support, custody, and child support during the separation period.
  • Gain an understanding of your family’s finances. It is not uncommon for angry spouses to engage in financial impropriety, such as hiding, wasting, running up debt, or disposing of marital property to punish the other spouse. It is important to have a baseline understanding of your family’s property and debts so that your attorney can take appropriate steps to protect your property interests.
  • With an understanding of your family’s finances, property, and expenses, develop a plan of where you (and your children) are going to live (at your residence or in an apartment), how much you anticipate you and your children’s expenses will be. An attorney can help you gain an understanding of how property division, alimony, and child support are calculated under North Carolina laws.
  • If your spouse has had an affair, has been abusive to you or your children, or has a substance abuse problem, preserve all proof of this. Save emails, medical records, police reports, texts, social media posts, and any other information that demonstrates impropriety. This information can be helpful for seeking emergency orders, a divorce from bed and board, custody, and alimony payments.
  • If there is domestic violence in your relationship, make plans to separate safely. The period of separation is incredibly dangerous when it comes to domestic violence. When an opportunity arises, contact your local domestic violence agency for guidance and options. In addition, an attorney can help you obtain a domestic violence protective order or emergency orders that protect you, your children, and your property.

New Direction Family Law

North Carolina’s laws regarding separation and divorce can be confusing and intricate. If you intend to seek a divorce, you need an attorney who can help you effectively navigate your way through. Contact New Direction Family Law. Our attorneys have years of experience and will treat you with the compassion and respect that you deserve. We serve Wake, Johnston, Durham, and surrounding counties. Contact New Direction Family Law today at (919) 719-3470 to schedule an appointment or reach us online.