Answers To Your Divorce FAQ
- How is North Carolina divorce different? In North Carolina, couples who want to get a divorce must first live apart for a year. This is the required separation time. After a year and a day, couples can legally file for divorce.
- Are their “grounds” for divorce in North Carolina? Yes. There are two. One is that you and your spouse have lived apart for a year. This does not mean only that you did not have sexual relations or that you slept in different rooms in the same house. Legally, you must have lived in separate residences. The second grounds for divorce is insanity. This is very rarely used.
- What happens if I cannot afford to live in a separate place from my spouse for a year? A divorce lawyer can advise you on your options in this case and help you plan for divorce. You may find a solution that works.
- Can I write up my own separation agreement? It is not advisable. Many forms on the Internet do not apply to North Carolina law and do not take into consideration your specific situation and needs. It also may not be legally binding or enforceable if the wrong terminology is used.
- Is adultery grounds for divorce? See the second answer about “grounds” for divorce for more information but no, it is not. Adultery can have an impact on spousal support and in some cases custody arrangements. A judge may determine that you or your spouse need to spend quality time with the kids and that having a new partner soon after a separation may detract from this. A judge typically makes a decision about custody based on what he or she believes to be in the best interest of your children.
- What determines child support in North Carolina? In North Carolina, how much you pay will be determined by a formula set by the Conference of Chief District Court Judges. This formula applies to couples with an annual income of $300,000 or less.
- What factors are taken into account in child support payment plans? Incomes of each parent, the number of nights your child or children spend with you, and the child or children’s child care and insurance expenses are all considered in child support.
- Who pays child support? Typically the non-custodial parent pays.
- Is it possible to change my child support payments? Yes. In fact, it is not uncommon to seek a modification to a child support or alimony payments. Life throws us many challenges, and a demotion, job loss, or medical issue can create such a change that a modification is necessary.
- Do I need an attorney to get a modification? In most cases for post-divorce modification, yes. An attorney will review your contract or court order and advise you as to whether or not a modification is possible. An attorney can also guide you through the modification process, costs, and give you an educated estimate as to how long it will take.
- Can property division agreements be modified? Property division is less likely and more difficult to modify when it is in a contract. Property division contracts are not modified because there has been a change in one person’s situation. These contracts are only modified in cases of proven fraud (lack of disclosure, misrepresentation, hidden assets), undue influence, or unconscionability (something was so one-sided it shocks the conscience). The original process must have been in some way flawed. An attorney can help evaluate whether the court will or can look into this.
- What are “hidden assets”? Hidden assets are things of value or money that were hidden and not disclosed in the process of negotiating a marital settlement. Large amounts of cash that remained hidden in safes, secret bank accounts, or in a safe deposit box may qualify to raise an issue of non-disclosure or fraud.
- If my ex has $3,000 stashed away, should I go after it? You must carefully discuss the facts of each situation with an experienced family law attorney before pursuing a few thousand dollars due to the cost of litigation and court fees.
- What does North Carolina require of parents who don’t agree on custody? North Carolina requires parents who do not agree on custody and who file custody cases through court to complete child custody mediation. Custody mediation provides an avenue for parents to try and settle their disagreements before they get into court and are tempted to trash each other. Successful child custody mediation will also serve minimize the cost of custody litigation, especially if a settlement is reached before a trial.
- Do I have to go to court to get separated? No. Separation is more often handled by contract.
- How complicated is divorce in North Carolina? Actually, the divorce process is very straightforward. If you and your spouse have lived apart for a year and a day, you can seek a divorce. If as a couple you agree on how to divide your things and how you will spend time with the kids and who will pay support, you’re about 90% done with the process.
- Is it expensive to get divorced in North Carolina? Typically, no. Not if you and your spouse agree on all or most things.
Get Answers To Your Specific Questions
I am Greensboro family law attorney Kevin R. Brackett. I have helped people resolve their divorce, separation, custody and support issues for over 25 years. If you need questions answered by a reliable attorney, call and set up a one- our consultation. I charge a reasonable rate and will quote you the price on the phone before you come. Call The Law Office of Kevin R. Brackett at 336-273-8595 or send me an email to schedule a meeting.