Statesville Divorce Lawyer

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If your marriage has broken down, the decisions you make now and in the months to come will impact your life in profound ways. Divorce is a major step, especially if you have children or substantial assets, and it is essential to get sound legal guidance from a Statesville divorce lawyer focused on protection of your interests.

Relying only on friends and family members for advice is a serious risk many people later regret. In most cases, it is often the better option to turn to an experienced, compassionate family lawyer. Divorce can be a costly process, but you may lose more if you do not have skilled legal support looking out for your interests.

Get Experienced Guidance Through An Uncontested Or Contested Divorce

The North Carolina laws governing divorce and other family matters are complex. At Griffin Law, PLLC, you will speak and work directly with an experienced divorce attorney prepared to guide you through every decision and step in the process. Attorney Jonathan D. Griffin will answer all your questions and do everything possible to help you get through this stressful time and move forward in life.

You may be able to resolve your divorce largely outside of court, or you may need to litigate the specifics of your separation. In either case, our attorney can help you find ideal solutions for your divorce, property division, child custody, and other aspects. We can advocate for your needs and bring you the compassionate support you need during this difficult time. We provide caring, practical divorce and family law representation to women and men throughout Statesville, Mooresville and Iredell County.

Understanding Aspects of a Divorce

Divorces are stressful no matter how they are handled, but some divorce methods can make it easier on you and your family. In most cases, it is in everyone’s interest to negotiate reasonable solutions and complete the divorce as efficiently as possible. However, you may also need a proven, dynamic lawyer with courtroom experience on your side to pursue your important goals involving:

  • Child custody and child support, as well as visitation/parenting time if you will be the noncustodial parent. Either parent can request child support and child custody, and the court makes all decisions related to children based on the child’s best interests.
  • Marital property distribution, which must be equitable under North Carolina law — and that does not always mean a 50-50 split. Although a 50-50 split is usual, there are reasons the court may split the property unequally. The court will divide marital assets based on several factors present in the couple’s marriage and each spouse’s life.

    These factors include the income and resources of each spouse, each spouse’s debts, the length of their marriage, and the tax implications of how property is divided. If spouses negotiate their property division in a separation and property agreement, they do not have to follow equitable distribution rules, but an experienced attorney can help ensure it is fair.
  • Alimony requests (sometimes called spousal support or maintenance), if applicable in your case. Alimony is not a part of every divorce, but it may be found appropriate by the judge, depending on the case. A dependent spouse is entitled to alimony from their supporting spouse, and the judge will review factors such as the income, earning capacity, and education of each spouse. Prior to an alimony award, the Court will consider post-separation support (a form of temporary alimony) if there is an immediate need.

Requirements to File for Divorce

In order to be eligible to file for an absolute divorce, spouses must first be separated, or legally separated, for one year. Couples can create a separate agreement prior to filing for a divorce, but this is not required to be considered separated. In order to be separated under the court’s requirements, the following must be true:

  1. Spouses have lived separately in different homes, and
  2. At least one spouse intended the separation to be final.

Spouses must also meet the residency requirements in North Carolina to file here. This means that at least one spouse is currently a resident of the state and has been for the last six months.

North Carolina does not have an option for filing a fault-based divorce.

Other Forms of Separation in Statesville

Although the only grounds for divorce are no-fault grounds, there are other options for separation or divorce. These include:

  • Divorce from Bed and Board (DBB): This is not a true divorce by modern standards, but a court-ordered separation. One spouse can file for a DBB order on serious fault-based grounds, such as abandonment, domestic violence, adultery, or drug abuse. You can also request that the court handle spousal support and property division in this order. You must still wait the waiting period of one year and one day before you can file for absolute divorce.
  • Divorce for Incurable Insanity: A spouse can request a divorce if they have lived separately from their spouse for at least three years on the basis of an incurable mental illness.
  • In very limited circumstances, spouses may be eligible for an annulment. A divorce attorney can help you review your unique case to determine if any of these forms of separation are applicable and if they can help you separate from your spouse prior to filing for divorce.

FAQs:

Q: How Much Does a Divorce Cost in North Carolina?

A: The cost of a divorce may range significantly, and it relies on many factors, including the type of divorce, the attorney you hire, and whether you have children.

You’ll also need to pay the filing fee for a complaint of divorce, although this fee could be waived if you cannot pay it. A divorce that involves other issues such as child custody and equitable distribution is likely to be more expensive than a simple severing of the matrimonial bonds. A mediation or collaborative divorce attorney also typically has lower rates than a litigation divorce attorney.

Q: How Long Do You Have to Be Separated Before Divorce in North Carolina?

A: In order to meet the requirements to file for a divorce in North Carolina, spouses must be separated for a minimum of one year. Each spouse must be living in a separate home, and at least one individual must intend for the separation to be permanent. At least one spouse must also meet the residency requirements of the state, which means you currently live in North Carolina and have for at least six months prior.

Q: Does It Matter Who Files for Divorce First in North Carolina?

A: Filing first in a divorce in North Carolina may provide some benefits depending on the situation, but it will not impact the outcome of the case or how the court makes decisions. In North Carolina, there is no option to file an at-fault divorce, so there is no basis for filing first in order to file on specific grounds.

Q: How Do I Get a Divorce in North Carolina Without Waiting a Year?

A: In North Carolina, you can only get a no-fault divorce, which requires one year of separation. There is no fault-based divorce. You can also file a divorce based on incurable insanity, which requires you and your spouse to have lived apart for at least three years. This separation must have been due to your spouse’s mental condition, and the spouse was either:

  1. Institutionalized for three years, or
  2. Found legally insane by a judge three years ago.

There are other requirements, but you do not need to have intended the separation to be permanent.

Schedule A Focused, Helpful Divorce Consultation Today

In North Carolina, a couple must complete one year of separation before a divorce can be finalized. A lot can happen in that year. An attorney can help you navigate the process by negotiating an agreement or filing protective orders.

If you are facing, considering or ready to proceed with divorce, we encourage you to contact us at Griffin Law, PLLC, today for the legal counsel you need to protect your rights and your future. To schedule an initial consultation, call our office in Statesville at 704-873-5500, or contact us online to get started.

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