How do you get a divorce in North Carolina?
Is North Carolina a community property state?
Do you have to go to court to get a divorce?
How can you get spousal support?
How and when will child support be received?
How will you create a new life financially post-divorce?
First, know that even though divorce is the severing of a legal bond, no two cases are exactly the same. What worked for a friend or family member may not be the appropriate approach for you. Therefore, the first step is to put together a team that can assist you through these tumultuous times and that will help you to transition into the next phase of your life. One of the best ways to do this is to work with a lawyer that has been certified as a specialist in family law.
Emotional ties to the marital home are often strong. Parents may worry that moving children into a new home will be detrimental, especially during the emotional strain of a divorce.
However, determining if you will remain in the marital home must be a financial decision and not an emotion decision. Can you afford the rent or mortgage? Calculate the associated costs, including insurance, maintenance and upkeep, utility bills and the like. Those day-to-day costs will not change. Will you be able to afford the house when alimony and/or child support ends? What will your financial situation look like in one year? Five years?
If retaining the marital home does not make financial or practical sense, and if you will not be able to afford the ongoing cost without financial strain, it may make sense to thoughtfully examine other options. It is imperative that prior to moving out of the residence, seek legal advice.
You may have heard about collaborative divorce. It is becoming a desirable choice for many couples who wish to divorce – but is it right for you?
What is Collaborative Law?
Collaborative law is an excellent alternative to having your case resolved in Court. This process resolves family law issues through settlement negotiations, but it has the advantage of removing the threat of litigation. How does collaborative law avoid costly and painful litigation? It is important to understand that, under the collaborative law process, all parties and their attorneys voluntarily exchange information and are committed to full, honest, and open disclosure of all relevant facts. Experts (accountants, counselors, or other professionals who may be deemed necessary) are jointly retained to ensure neutrality and to cut down on expenses. Therefore, if you and your spouse are able to communicate openly as you move toward divorce, collaborative law may be a good choice for you.
What is the Collaborative Process?
The primary method of progressing toward a settlement through the Collaborative Law process is the use of four way meetings attended by both parties and their attorneys. Usually each case begins with a four way meeting, at which the participants sign a Collaborative Law Agreement and identify documents that need to be exchanged. Once this Collaborative Law Agreement is signed any Court proceeding is immediately halted and everyone agrees to handle the matter out of Court.This encourages the parties to settle their case without the emotionally painful and public nature of a trial. Then, additional joint conferences are held as needed. Through the Collaborative Law Process, the parties are often able to settle their case without ever setting foot in Court. Additionally, the parties are able to be active participants in the resolution of their case. This will have untold intangible benefits for years to come.
What are the Advantages of Collaborative Law?
Collaborative divorce not only has economic advantages, but it also can spare your family the tremendous emotional distress that often accompanies litigation. It has added benefits in custody cases because it limits the strain on the parents’ relationship and allows you to more effectively co-parent with less antagonism right from the beginning.
Collaborative law requires open communication between you, your current spouse and the lawyers you retain. The long-term benefits to you and your family are one of many reasons why so many people are choosing collaborative law divorces. Here are 8 reasons to choose a collaborative law divorce.
1. Collaborative Law Divorce is Client Controlled
You are your spouse control the process and the outcome. Your destiny is in your hands rather than in those of a stranger – a judge.
2. Collaborative Law Divorce is Client Centered
You and your spouse are a vital part of the settlement team. You and your lawyer will work with your spouse and his or her lawyer to settle your case in an efficient and respectful manner that meets both parties’ needs.
3. Collaborative Law Divorce is Cooperative
Both parties are counseled and supported by their own attorneys as they work cooperatively with the other side to resolve issues.
4. Collaborative Law Divorce is Streamlined
The process requires voluntary disclosure, eliminating formal methods of obtaining information and procedural delays.
5. Collaborative Law Divorce is Creative
You and your spouse are able to tailor the terms of your settlement to meet the needs of your family. Remember, divorce is as unique and individual as you are. What works for another family may not work for yours. Collaborative law gives you the opportunity to make sure your divorce is tailored to your own family needs.
6. Collaborative Law Means You Don’t Have to Go to Court
Everyone can focus on reaching a settlement without the recurring threat of going to court, the burden of the court’s timetable, or the lack of privacy that comes with surrendering the details of the clients’ private lives to the public record.
7. Collaborative Law is Family-Centered
Collaborative law emphasizes co-parenting and time-sharing arrangements that best meet the needs of parents and children. It means you don’t have to rely on arbitrary schedule created and imposed by a judge who doesn’t know you or your family.
8. Collaborative Law Provides Good Guidance
In collaborative law you have the comfort of having independent legal advice from an experienced lawyer, but you also have the benefit of using neutral experts that are shared by the parties.
This is an excellent question, and one we hear often. Collaborative lawyers are committed to exploring various ways to achieve a fair and balanced settlement. If you can’t reach an agreement no matter how hard you try, you can choose to use a neutral mediator or arbitrator to facilitate settlement.
What Happens if We Still Can’t Reach a Divorce Settlement?
At the beginning of the Collaborative Law Process, both the attorneys and the clients commit to reaching an out-of-court settlement, whether through informal negotiations, mediation, or arbitration. If the process is unsuccessful, then the collaborative lawyers must withdraw from the case and assist their clients in retaining trial attorneys. This requirement ensures that both spouses and their attorneys are equally motivated to work as hard as necessary to avoid a breakdown in communication or in the settlement process.
Sadly, sometimes the spouse holding the insurance either ceases payment during the divorce process or changes the type of coverage held. A good rule of thumb is to make sure you get receipts for payments, and check that the coverage hasn’t changed and is still in place by speaking with your carrier. You may wish to verify insurance coverage on a monthly basis until your divorce is finalized; if insurance is canceled because the premiums have not been paid, often it is difficult to get it reinstated.
What insurance policies will you need to replace or change after your divorce? Are you eligible for COBRA? You may wish to separate out some policies. Remember that insurance is usually more than just health or auto – include any life, disability, and long term care insurance in your planning. How much will it cost to continue the policies on your own? These costs may influence what you need during a divorce settlement.
If you have dependent children, and are reliant on child support and alimony, you may want to ensure that your spouse maintains both life insurance and disability insurance.
Should I Remove My Ex-Spouse From My Insurance Policy?
If you are carrying health insurance on your spouse, you should not rush to cancel the policy. You may have a responsibility under COBRA to notify your spouse before canceling the policy. Also, in North Carolina, hospitals and doctors may attempt to hold you liable for medical bills incurred by your spouse. There are very limited ways to protect yourself when this happens. Do not get caught in this minefield. Speak with an attorney before canceling any insurance policy.
Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ and Myspace have increasingly become an easy mechanism for individuals to express their opinions on a wide range of topics. All too often, these topics include the individual’s personal life. While sharing your routine, day-to-day activities to the “world” often is harmless, clients run into trouble when they divulge or share information that relates both directly or indirectly to a pending or soon to be pending legal matter. Expect that whatever you write or post to your social media account, or have written or posted in the past on these sites, will be found by the opposing party or the opposing parties’ attorney.
Additionally, the use of electronic surveillance of these types of social media sites has become increasingly prevalent. The opposing party hopes to discover information that could embarrass, humiliate or harm you. They will look for pictures or comments by your or your “friends” that can then be taken out of context to harm your case. Further, deleting these posts, comments or pictures from your profile often does not completely remove the file from your hard drive or the account. Due to the risk associated with using these social media sites, take precautions before using your account in the future and strongly consider suspending or deleting your accounts until your legal case is concluded.
This may be one of the toughest conversations your family will ever have. Planning for the future when we are planning for happy events – marriages, children, grandchildren – is easy, even joyful. Planning the future that may hold sickness and uncertainty is not so easy, and often it becomes a chore that families put off.
Some individuals get as far as setting up a health care medical directive (especially if there is a chronic, long-term illness) but don’t take the time to complete the other legal documents necessary to avert a crisis that requires immediate attention. A family member may no longer be able to care for themselves, or may not longer be capable of managing their financial and legal affairs. Assets, from large to small, may be in dispute among family members. Tensions may run high. Sadly, you or your family may be in the position of frantically trying to find legal documents, or set up medical care and how to pay for it at a time when emotions are running high and time is of the essence.
Proactively planning for your future is one of the best gifts you can give your family. Remember – if you don’t do it, the State of North Carolina will.
You’ve taken the first step – you are ready to think about creating your elder plan. What does that mean exactly? A comprehensive elder plan can include trusts, powers of attorney, living wills or health-care powers of attorney. You may want to use more complex techniques to avoid probate, minimize estate taxes, or protect your assets from nursing home expenses. It should also clearly include your health-care preferences and medical directives. Your elder plan should contain a customized combination of the documents that are right for you. Your elder care attorney will work closely with you to determine what fits you and your needs.
Yes! Even if your new spouse is not on the deed, deed of trust, or promissory note. When you married, your spouse earned a marital interest in the property. Because the sale of the home adversely affects that interest, their consent is required.
The lender’s policy is calculated on the amount of your mortgage.