At the McNeil Law Firm, we pride ourselves in not hiding the ball from clients, but rather providing straight forward information and advice regarding North Carolina divorce matters. Listed below are brief excerpts of answers to questions that clients ask us most often.
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- I am thinking about leaving my spouse. Is there anything I should consider before I move out of the house?
There are many very important factors to consider before you move out of the house. First, keep in mind that many of the decisions you make now could have long-lasting implications.
In the State of North Carolina, obtaining a divorce is essentially a three-step process.
Yes, there are some requirements. One is that you must live “separate and apart” – i.e., living in separate residences during this time period, NOT in the same house. As long as you remain in the same house, you will not be considered separated.
- When am I legally separated?
Separation in North Carolina occurs on the date that a husband and wife move into separate residences with the intent of one of them to live separate and apart from the other.
- If my spouse and I see each other during the period of separation, and anything intimate occurs, does that automatically reset the date of separation?
During the period of separation, an isolated incident of intimacy, including sexual intercourse, does not necessarily mean that the spouses have reconciled, requiring that a new one-year waiting period is required for a divorce.
A separation agreement is a legally binding contract that outlines the intentions of both parties on a variety of issues.
- Do I need a written Separation Agreement to be legally separated?
In North Carolina you are separated when you first begin to live separate and apart from your spouse.
Yes, however all too frequently people who draft their own agreement end up making costly mistakes that they regret.
Generally no – the courts usually take your word for it, unless one spouse decides to contest the assertion that you have been separated for that period of time or that there was no intention to remain separate and apart.
North Carolina divorce laws provide two grounds for divorce.
In North Carolina, you can obtain a divorce whether or not your spouse wants to be divorced.
After the period of separation and the filing and service of the divorce complaint, it usually takes about 45-60 days for the divorce to become final.
In North Carolina the required period of separation is the same regardless of whether there are children involved.
- Generally speaking, how does the infidelity of a spouse affect the divorce process in North Carolina?
The issue of infidelity has almost no impact on the divorce itself; the actual entry of the divorce judgment. Infidelity can and often does have a significant effect on the court’s decisions in the areas of alimony and custody.
As with many answers to legal questions surrounding divorce, that depends! In this case, it depends on many factors including a) what you mean by “is it safe?” and b) if there are children involved. An experienced family law attorney can discuss this with you in greater detail and advise you as to the “safety” of dating now.
The answer to this question depends on the extent to which you and your spouse are able to resolve the issues on your own, with or without the assistance of lawyers. Oftentimes, even after extensive negotiations between the parties, important issues remain unresolved (contested).
- What is an annulment, and when is it an option?
An annulment means that the court makes a determination that the parties were never legally married to begin with. In North Carolina, grounds for annulment are extremely limited. The laws surrounding annulments are complicated, and there are always specific circumstances to be considered.
- What is an “absolute divorce”?
“Absolute divorce” is the term used for the declaration by a court that the marriage has been dissolved.
- I am worried that a divorce is going to be very expensive. Is there anything I can do to keep the costs down?
Yes there are quite a few things you can do to reduce the costs associated with divorce. Contrary to what you might have been led to believe, most experienced and respected family law attorneys sincerely want to help you resolve your issues as easily and cheaply as possible.
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The information contained on this site is provided as a public service for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a comprehensive statement of the law. The reader is advised to check for changes to current law and to consult with a qualified attorney on any legal issue before taking action of any kind. The information presented on this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice or to create or imply the formation of a lawyer-client relationship between the reader and this firm.