Raleigh Divorce Attorney
The emotional pain of divorce is widely recognized. However, what too few people understand until it has become a problem is the financial risk posed by separation and divorce. Your divorce settlement could determine your financial future, as well as the future of your relationships with your children and ex-spouse.
At Kurtz & Blum, our Raleigh divorce attorneys have more than 50 years of combined legal experience. Our lawyers handle the full spectrum of divorce and associated family law issues. We will look at the unique factors of your case from every angle to assess the right approach, and we will be straightforward with you about what lies ahead.
Our dedicated divorce attorneys will advocate strongly for you and your needs, whether through aggressive negotiations or by facilitating cooperative discussions between you and your spouse. We want to help you quickly move on with your life, but we want you to do so without an unfairly diminished quality of life.
If handled incorrectly, a divorce under North Carolina law can have a detrimental and long-lasting emotional and financial impact on your life. Don’t rely on an inexperienced family law attorney or try to manage a “do it yourself” divorce. Contact Kurtz & Blum today to talk to an experienced North Carolina divorce lawyer about the smart and creative advocacy you deserve.
How Can I Get a Divorce in North Carolina?
If you and your spouse have been physically separated for more than one year and at least one of you intended to separate, you are entitled to a divorce under North Carolina law.
Technically, you can file for a divorce with a do-it-yourself kit sold by the local county clerk’s office. However, the clerk’s office cannot provide legal advice, and if anything is wrong with your divorce petition, the judge can deny your divorce. Further, the terms of your divorce are up to the presiding judge. This man or woman who has never met you will decide matters like whom your children will live with, how often you can visit them, how much you will pay in child support, who gets the house, etc.
A divorce court judge is trained to do what’s best for each spouse and particularly for the children involved. In a simple, uncontested divorce by a couple with reasonable arrangements already worked out, a judge may quickly and easily grant a divorce, providing all of the paperwork is filed correctly.
However, many divorcing couples have multiple issues to reconcile as part of their divorce. And where financial issues or terms for being a part of our children’s lives are involved, it is easy for disagreements and emotions to arise. If you cannot come to agreement, a judge will decide the terms of your future.
As you begin to deal seriously with a separation and divorce, it is essential to have an experienced family law attorney in your corner who has your best interests in mind. A knowledgeable divorce attorney from Kurtz & Blum cannot only advise you about legal issues, but can help you focus on what’s truly best for you and your children instead of acting on emotions.
Our Divorce Attorneys Can Help With Uncontested & Contested Divorces
We can assist you with an amicable, uncontested divorce. We can work with you to ensure that you have complete and accurate paperwork and proper agreements in-hand when your divorce goes to a judge.
If you face a contested divorce, we can serve as fierce advocates for you. In addition to explaining each step and issue you will face as part of divorce proceedings, we can assist you with issues that include, but are not limited to:
- Completing the required Financial Affidavit and reviewing your spouse’s affidavit for completeness and accuracy
- Tracking down your spouse’s missing or hidden financial assets, accounts, etc.
- Filing discovery motions to obtain information and evidence from your spouse and/or others about issues under discussion
- Determining how your divorce will or should affect such assets as retirement accounts and life insurance, taxes, your will, trusts, advanced directives, etc.
- Advising you closely as assets are classified as separate or marital and are assessed for value and ultimately divided for equitable distribution
- Negotiating issues as aggressively as necessary to try to reach agreements before your divorce goes to litigation
- Accompanying and advising you if your divorce is ordered to mediation, and advocating for you in court if your divorce is tried before a judge
Our experienced Raleigh divorce lawyers will work to protect your rights and finances in all negotiations pertaining to your divorce. We will work diligently toward your goals of a future that is stable and does not result in a significantly diminished standard of living.
Schedule a consultation with our legal team today to discuss how to get started.
The Divorce Process in North Carolina
There are multiple steps to the dissolution of a marriage in North Carolina. First, a married couple who decide to split up and divorce must separate for a year. This requires a physical separation, which means not living together or “co-habitating.”
To make a physical separation official, one spouse must obtain a legal separation, known as a “divorce from bed and board.”
Legal Separation in North Carolina
Getting a legal separation in North Carolina requires stating grounds for the split. These may include abandonment, cruel or barbarous treatment, drug abuse, adultery, or that the other spouse otherwise engaged in a pattern of conduct that makes the “condition intolerable and life burdensome” for the spouse requesting legal separation.
Once legal separation is granted, the spouse may seek court orders for:
Spousal support and alimony
If your split is amicable, you and your spouse may enter into a separation agreement, which covers the topics above and/or other issues. Our attorneys can help you draft this agreement to ensure your interests are protected. Once it is signed and notarized, it is enforceable by the courts.
Though the court may modify a separation agreement if a judge decides it does not serve the best interests of children involved, in most cases a formal separation agreement can become part of the final divorce decree as a consent order.
Legal separation does not make either spouse eligible to remarry. That requires an absolute divorce.
If a separated couple reconcile, their 12 months of separation required for divorce would start over if/when they split again. Reconciliation that resets the separation calendar requires living together again, not just occasionally sleeping together.
Absolute Divorce in North Carolina
The final termination of a marriage in North Carolina is known as “absolute divorce” and requires a court order. It also requires a statement that, at the time of separation, at least one spouse intended for the separation to be permanent.
To obtain absolute divorce, one spouse must file a divorce complaint with the clerk of court in the county where he or she lives. Our divorce lawyers can prepare and file the complaint for you to ensure that it is complete and accurate.
Once the complaint is filed, the county sheriff serves the divorce complaint upon the other spouse. In most cases, this is done through certified mail.
At this point, conditions previously agreed to for child support, spousal support, child custody, and asset division can be enforced.
Whenever possible, it is better if a couple can come to agreement on these issues before filing for divorce. At Kurtz & Blum, our dedicated divorce attorneys can provide assistance that helps you ensure these decisions remain yours and your spouse’s, not a judge’s.
Amicable Divorce and Mediation
If your divorce is uncontested, you and your spouse may proceed to mediation. Mediation keeps your divorce out of court, which means it is not public record, and is usually faster and less expensive. In some cases, a judge will order mediation to save the court’s time (and costs).
A mediator is trained to work with couples in a less formal and less adversarial setting and to promote discussions that can lead to amicable decisions in a divorce. Your attorney can assist and advise you in mediation but may not advocate or argue on your behalf.
The final divorce order is handed down by a judge and ends discussion of certain matters, such as equitable distribution of property and alimony.
If a divorcing couple go before a judge with agreements in hand for alimony, property distribution, child custody, visitation, child support, etc., the judge will likely ratify them as written. However, in a contested divorce, the judge hears testimony from the spouses and/or witnesses, and recommendations from each attorney, and then sets the terms of the final divorce order as he or she sees fit.
When the judge signs the order, the divorce is final and the marriage is over. Each spouse is free to remarry.
Contact Our Raleigh Divorce Lawyers Today
If you are contemplating separation or divorce, contact the experienced Raleigh divorce law firm of Kurtz & Blum today to protect your rights, your finances, and your future relationship with your family. Call us at (919) 832-7700 or contact us online to schedule a consultation today.