Contact us for a consultation. Even if you are not ready to be separated, it is always a good idea to get legal advice first.
There is no such thing as a legal separation. In order to get a divorce in North Carolina, the law requires that the parties be physically living apart for one year and a day before you can file an action for an absolute divorce. Once you and your spouse are living at different physical addresses, you are separated. You don’t need a document to say you are separated and you don’t need to file anything. It is important to note, you and your spouse cannot just move into separate bedrooms. You must live at completely different physical addresses.
A military divorce is very nuanced compared to a civilian divorce. It is extremely important to have an attorney that is very knowledgeable and regularly handles dividing up military retirement benefits and understands these nuances, like Forrest Family Law does. Not only should your attorney know North Carolina state law, but they should also know the federal law that governs military pensions and benefits.
We know that if you are in the military, you have access to free legal services, but we STRONGLY recommend you meet with a civilian attorney. Base Legal is not licensed to give you legal advice. They typically will give you a form that catalogues your situation into a one-size-fits-all solution. If you do see an attorney on base, most military lawyers are not familiar with the state of North Carolina’s divorce laws. We recommend you resist the temptation to get “free” advice, it often will cost you more down the road. Click here for more information about a Military Divorce.
It depends. If all you need is an Absolute Divorce, where no property needs to be divided and child support and custody is not a factor, Forrest Family Law charges a flat fee plus court costs. Court costs are approximately $225. Please call us and we can provide additional details regarding Absolute Divorce costs or your specific situation.
No. Never leave your residence prior to seeking competent legal advice unless your life is in danger or there are safety concerns for yourself or your children. It can be considered abandonment if you leave your residence.
It is either divided consensually between the parties by agreement or it is divided using the equitable distribution statutes. These statutes provide for an equal distribution, but there are factors a North Carolina court will take into consideration to award unequal distribution. Please click below to see the statute and the factors a court may consider.
It is important to mention that you cannot file a claim for equitable distribution in the NC Courts until you are physically separated or divorced. So, if you are still living together, you cannot file to divide your property.
Yes. It is possible to sue the third party for alienation of affection in the state of North Carolina. Every case is very specific, so it is important to contact an attorney, like Forrest Family Law, quickly in this situation.
There are no guidelines for judges to determine custody. It is a case-by-case basis and many factors go into a judge’s decision about what is in a child’s best interest. What is in the child’s best interest is THE determining factor. Each case is very specific, so they are all handled uniquely.
Where Forrest Family Law practices, the 3-B Judicial District is NOT a Family Court Jurisdiction. That means that judges do not get assigned to your specific case. Throughout your custody case, you could see any number of judges decide certain issues or the entire case. So each different judge that hears your case can impact it.
Be aware that North Carolina has what is called the Tender Years Doctrine. This statue disallows judges to give preference to the mother just because the children are young. In fact, judges are not allowed to give preference to either the mother or the father because of the age of the children – it should all be based on what is in the best interest for the child.
North Carolina Child Support Guidelines help determine child support obligations based on a number of factors such as the father’s income, the mother’s income, the cost of child care expenses and the cost of healthcare for the child. Courts will also consider other parental financial resources such as bonuses, inheritances, rental property income, investments, pensions, disability, social security, military/veteran benefits, unemployment benefits, and even financial support given to you by family and/or friends.
Click here for the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines & Calculators
There are two types of spousal support: Post Separation Support (PSS) and Alimony. PSS is part of Alimony. The court is able to award PSS in the early part of the separation process to make sure that the dependent spouse can meet their needs and the children’s needs if the couple has children. PSS is awarded based on financial need and the other party’s ability to pay. It ends when an Alimony decision is made or the order says it stops.
Alimony is the final determination in a divorce case. It must be proven that one spouse is dependent and the other spouse is supporting. The supporting spouse would be the one that makes the majority of the income in the household. It also must be proven that the dependent spouse is actually and substantially dependent on the supporting spouse, not on another party. For example, if the dependent spouse is actually dependent on their parents for money, that may mean they are the supporting party, not the spouse.
There are no guidelines for Alimony, it is completely in the judge’s discretion as to how much and how long any person gets Alimony. In North Carolina, Alimony is not punitive unless marital misconduct (like adultery) by the supporting spouse can be proven. It is up to the judge’s discretion on how much Alimony the supporting spouse will receive and how long, but Alimony would be awarded in this circumstance.
No. Child support and custody are two separate claims in eyes of the North Carolina Courts, so they are treated separately. If your spouse or ex-spouse isn’t letting you see your children, you must keep paying child support, especially if you are paying by court order. In fact, it could negatively impact you if you stop paying child support. Contact your attorney to help navigate your child support agreement.
In terms of custody, again, contact your attorney or Forrest Family Law to help navigate your custody order. If there is no custody order in place, both parents maintain equal parenting rights. One does not have superior rights over the other. This means that either parent has equal rights to medical records and school records for instance, as well as other rights. Contact us for help with your custody case or agreement.