The process of separating is the hard part, getting legally divorced is the easy part.

Are you thinking about divorcing your husband or wife? Then now is the time to speak with a lawyer for advice. You may find that divorce is a difficult process, both emotionally and practically. A divorce lawyer acts as a powerful advocate for your rights during this stressful time. New Direction Family Law’s attorneys are here to help you with your divorce.

Divorce in North Carolina: The Basics

Requirements for ending a marriage vary from state to state. You need to find a local law firm familiar with state divorce laws to advise you on the process, such as our experienced team. Here in North Carolina, absolute divorces are “no-fault”, meaning you do not have to show any fault or wrongdoing by your spouse for the court to grant the divorce. If you or your spouse has lived in North Carolina for at least six months, then you can file for divorce here.

Our state’s laws also require that you and your spouse complete a separation period. To file for a divorce, you must show that you have been separated for a continuous period lasting at least one year and one day. You need to live separately and apart in different residences (not just in different rooms of the same house) during the separation period, but no “filing” for separation is required. If you reconcile at any point during separation, then the one-year and one day timeline for the separation period starts over. Reconciliation is not clearly defined, so be sure to speak with an experienced attorney to determine if your particular situation may be deemed by the court to be “reconciliation” and why that may impact other issues in your family law case, such as the division of assets and debt.

Once the separation period is over, you can file the required documents asking the court to grant your absolute divorce. It is very important that you speak with an attorney to discuss any issues of distribution of the marital estate, post-separation support/alimony, child custody, child support, and more before filing for divorce, as you run the risk of losing your right to your marital property or spousal support if your divorce is finalized before addressing these important issues. Our attorneys are here to ensure that your rights are protected throughout the divorce process.

When Divorce Gets Complicated

Not all divorces are uncontested and uncomplicated. Couples have many reasons for getting divorced, including domestic violence and financial abuse. If you have reason to think that your divorce may become a bitter dispute or if you feel that you are in danger, you must contact an attorney for advice.

There are many ways that our firm can assist clients with complicated, acrimonious divorces. We use tools such as protective orders to help keep you safe while working to end your marriage efficiently. We can also advise you regarding child custody and support issues or problems with getting alimony payments after divorce.

Property Division in a Divorce

The law in North Carolina requires “equitable distribution” of divorcing couples’ assets. In other words, if you and your spouse do not agree on your own method of dividing up the marital assets, then the court will divide them based on equitable principles. The judge will look at various factors such as your income, the marriage’s length, your contributions to improve the value of the marital property, a spouse with custody’s need to keep the marital residence, and so on.

You have many options besides leaving property division to a judge’s discretion. We work with our clients on alternative dispute resolution such as collaborative divorces, mediation, separation agreements, and other techniques for dividing marital property. Collaborative divorces involve mutual agreements to discuss asset distribution and other divorce-related issues, working together with your spouse and his or her lawyer to find a solution. Separation agreements get signed before or during your separation period, and may include your decisions on property division, spousal support, child custody and child support. Our lawyers will discuss your individual needs with you and work toward the best possible outcome.

Thinking About Divorce? New Direction Family Law Can Help

Take a step toward finalizing the new life you want and deserve – contact us today to schedule a comprehensive initial consultation with one of our attorneys. Our team of knowledgeable, effective, and compassionate professionals will help you understand your legal rights and work hard toward your best outcome. We proudly serve clients in Wake, Johnston, and Durham, and surrounding counties. Contact New Direction Family Law at (919) 646-6561 to schedule a consultation, or visit us at our website.