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Top Reasons Not to Ignore Legal Pleadings

In Separation & Divorce by Elizabeth Stephenson

As children, most of us learn that ignoring problems do not make them go away. Unfortunately, as adults we don’t always take this lesson to heart. Sometimes, ignoring problems as adults really comes back to bite us. This bears particular truth when it comes to lawsuits, as there can be serious and long-term consequences if you fail to properly respond. Ignoring Civil Lawsuits If you are served with a lawsuit from a collection agency, foreclosure, or another civil matter, you need to read the materials and speak with an attorney. The consequences of failing to act can be a ridiculous monetary judgment against you, a lien on your property, seizure of property, or garnishment of your wages. These are judgments that are incredibly hard to shake and may not even …

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Never Agree to Spousal Support Without an Attorney

In Separation & Divorce by Sarah Hink

Separation and divorce can be expensive. One or both of you have to move out of your home, you have to pay rent and utilities at a second place while also paying the mortgage of your home, and you have to furnish your new place and have furniture for your children when they visit. In addition, you are facing the looming reality of paying spousal support, child support, and dividing marital property. You therefore seek to save money wherever you can. Sadly, some people choose to save money by representing themselves when it comes to issues like spousal support. This is a mistake, as some spouses end up agreeing to ill-advised spousal support agreements. For example, if your spouse has an attorney, you need one too. Your spouse’s attorney only …

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Do I Need a Lawyer for Property Division?

In Separation & Divorce by Elizabeth Stephenson

Dividing property when you separate from a spouse can be an awkward, intricate, and adversarial process. While emotions are still simmering from the separation, you must determine what property you both own, who the property actually belongs to, what it is worth, and who should walk away with it. In short, the timing is terrible and there is simultaneously little margin for error on decisions that could make or break your financial future. With that in mind, it should go without saying that you should at least think about hiring an attorney. How Does Property Division Work in North Carolina? North Carolina employs an “equitable distribution” method of dividing marital property. This generally means that all property obtained or earned during a marriage is spilt equally between separating spouses. However, …

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What Information Do I Need to Seek Equitable Distribution?

In Separation & Divorce, Wealth by Sarah Hink

North Carolina is an “equitable distribution” state. This means that when a couple separates and divorces, spouses are entitled to seek an order from the court that adds up the fair market value of all of the couple’s marital property and divides that property in an equitable manner. Property division is a critical part of the divorce process, and it is therefore important to have a complete accounting of your financial interests. Even if your spouse is the person who handles the “money side” of your marriage, there are numerous records that you should seek out prior to your separation. As family law attorneys with years of experience, we have seen everything. We cannot understate how important it is to have a full picture of your family’s finances, as this …

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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 …

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Property, Alimony, and Fighting for Your Rights

In Separation & Divorce by Sarah Hink

The experience of separation and divorce is an incredibly uncomfortable and sad experience. Even if your separation is “amicable”, it represents the end of a significant relationship and brings about a sense of uncertainty as to what your present and future will look like. Many people simply want to move on and are willing to sign whatever they need to for closure. We understand this feeling, and acknowledge that it is perfectly normal to feel this way. However, as family law attorneys with over a decade of experience, we feel inclined to inform you that you have legal rights and it is worth your while to fight for them. Post-separation Agreements A couple must be separated for at least a year before they can divorce. This means that as much …

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Divorce and Avoidable Mistakes

In Separation & Divorce by Elizabeth Stephenson

          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, …

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There is No Such Thing as a Stupid Question

In Child Custody, Child Support, Separation & Divorce by Elizabeth Stephenson

In our experience, we meet many clients who are initially anxious or nervous about meeting with us for the first time. This is because of false impressions perpetuated by decades of cheesy television commercials, Law and Order defense attorneys, and movies that portray lawyers as smarmy, over-the-top, super-aggressive people. An unfortunate consequence of this misimpression is that nervous clients are afraid to ask important questions that are weighing them, or they are afraid to speak up when they do not understand something. Let me assure you that you have nothing to fear from us. If you retain us as your attorneys, we are here to serve you and want to do the best job we possibly can for you. At New Direction Family Law, we believe that open attorney-client communication …

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Meeting With Your Attorney? Here’s How You Can Prepare

In Uncategorized by Sarah Hink

Are you meeting with your new attorney for the first time? Are you feeling nervous or unprepared? Don’t worry. At New Direction Family Law, we have represented clients for 20 years, and your feelings are completely natural and normal. But think about why you called an attorney: because you need help from a professional. Your attorney works for you, and wants to be successful in representing you. In order for this attorney client relationship to be successful, there are several steps you can do in advance of your initial meeting. If you are have been served with a separation, divorce, child custody, or child support petition, bring a copy of every piece of paper you have received. Your attorney will need this information in order to obtain records from the clerk …

Do I Need a Prenuptial Agreement?

In Wealth by Elizabeth Stephenson

Prenuptial agreements. You hear about them every time a Kardashian or some wealthy celebrity gets married, then divorced. Did Kim Kardashian have a “prenupt”, or is her ex going to walk away with half of her money? Contrary to the ideas that we’ve formed from television and the news, prenuptial agreements are not just for the super-wealthy. In fact, a prenuptial agreement may be a sound option for you. Prenuptial agreements in North Carolina are contracts between couples entered into prior to marriage. These contracts attempt to resolve financial issues in the event that the marriage dissolves. The agreements must meet the requirements of specific statutes to be legally valid. The purposes of a prenuptial agreement are to: Create a legally binding contract that specifies assets as “separate property” that …