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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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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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What is an Expert Witness and Will I Need One?

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

Property division, child custody, alimony, and child support proceedings all have the potential to go to trial. In fact, courts dockets are overloaded with cases set for trial. If your case is set for trial, and mediation has been unsuccessful, it is critical that you communicate regularly with your attorney to understand what is in store for you. What are Expert Witnesses? One of the phrases that you will likely hear is that your case will need “expert witnesses.” Expert witnesses are professional witnesses who are experts in the subject matter they are testifying about. Experts are often paid and offered by one party, and sometimes, parties will offer conflicting experts. Nevertheless, experts are expected to be independent and offer their expert opinion. They are not supposed to actively advocate …

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What is “Venue” and Why Does it Matter?

In Separation & Divorce by Elizabeth Stephenson

When you are involved in a lawsuit, such as a divorce or custody dispute, you will hear all sorts of legal terminology from the attorneys and the court involved in your case. Two terms you may hear early in a case are “jurisdiction” and “venue”. Don’t worry if you are unfamiliar with these terms, you are not alone. However, they actually really important legal concepts that are worth your while to understand and distinguish. Jurisdiction is Latin for “to speak the law”. A court must have jurisdiction over the subject and people in a case to enter valid orders. This is significant because any order entered by a court that lacks jurisdiction is void. So if the parties to a lawsuit spend all of the time and money on a …

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Can I Demand a Jury? Should I?

In Child Custody, Child Support, Domestic Violence, Separation & Divorce by Sarah Hink

For people who have never been involved in a lawsuit, it is easy to imagine what a trial is like: twelve skeptical jurors staring at you as an attorney picks apart your testimony. This is probably the result of watching the O.J. Simpson trial, or years of Law and Order marathons. The reality is that jury trials in North Carolina are relatively rare occurrences. In fact, there are limits as to what kind of cases are subject to jury demands. Matters that Allow for Jury Demands Jury trials are not available when seeking a domestic violence protective order (DVPO), child custody, child support, or division of marital property. Generally, a jury trial is only permitted in North Carolina cases where it is provided for by the Constitution or by statute. …

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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 …