Family Law – What Now?

Going through a divorce can be a difficult and painful process. Having an experienced attorney to counsel you and guide you through the process can make a difference.

Legal Separation
In North Carolina, separation occurs the date that the husband and wife move into separate residences, with the intent to continue living apart. Legal separation is often a precursor toward divorce, as divorce can be obtained after on year and one day of separation in North Carolina.

Just as with divorce, husbands and wives seek to protect their interests and the best interests of their children.  Hence, many couples consult with and hire attorneys to draft a Separation Agreement and Property Settlement or to obtain a Court Order that details rights and obligations regarding child support, child custody, division of property, and debt.

While a written agreement is not required to establish legal separation in North Carolina, forming a client-attorney relationship can provide you with legal advice that may prevent costly mistakes.  Mr. Griffin can advise you whether to pursue a Court Order, Separation Agreement and Property Settlement, or Separation Contract.
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In North Carolina either individual is entitled to file for an Absolute Divorce after they have been separated for one year after the date of separation.  This usually means 366 days counting the date of separation.

There are many reasons to get a divorce.  One is because until you have obtained a divorce you are still legally married.  In North Carolina, until there has been a judicial separation or you have entered into a Separation Agreement and Property Settlement Agreement, you may be liable under the “Doctrine of Necessities” for medical bills and other things for your spouse. Divorce may cut off the rights of Equitable Distribution and Spousal Support or Alimony if these claims are not properly raised before the Divorce is granted.  The issue of when a party actually separated and under what circumstances may be very important and involve important issues.

The need to consult with an attorney to discuss the facts of your situation and learn what rights and choices you have is very important.  Call today toll free 1 (800)- 533-2758 or email us to set up an appointment at a time convenient for you to discuss your case.
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Child Custody
North Carolina courts determine child custody according to the best interest of the child.  And parental decision-making authority and visitation rights are specified in child custody agreements or orders.

Child custody agreements consider what’s best for the child while addressing practical, financial, and emotional issues.  These agreements establish solve vs. joint custody, visitation, and other details.  Mr. Griffin works with families to negotiate and document child custody agreements, which includes visitation rights.  While most child custody cases are settled by a voluntary agreement between the parents, with an attorney writing the agreement, some parents cannot come to an agreement on child custody and require that the custody dispute be decided in court.

In North Carolina courts award custody to the person who will, in the opinion of the judge, best promote the interest and welfare of the child.
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Child Support
The cost of child support varies depending on the child custody situation and agreement.  Mr. Griffin can go over the guidelines for child support with you and help you to calculate approximate child support payments.
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Property Settlement
Division of property, also called equitable distribution of property, is one aspect of the break-up of a marriage. When dividing marital property during a divorce, North Carolina law employs equitable distribution of marital property. Equitable distribution doesn’t always split property equally (i.e., not fifty-fifty). With equitable distribution, the court considers distributional factors, the classification of property (marital, separate, or mixed), and other factors. Both assets and debts are considered during property distribution.

There are two approaches to property division: by Separation Agreement and Property Settlement (SAPS) or by a court action for Equitable Distribution. Mr. Griffin can help you decide the best approach.
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