A divorce can feel like it drags on and on forever. Some actually do, taking several years to finalize. Here at Morgenstern & Associates, we help individuals in North Carolina get the best possible outcomes for their divorce. Therefore, they can start a new chapter in their life. If you need a team of divorce lawyers Greensboro, NC residents can trust, we may be able to help you too.
How Do I Start the Divorce Process in North Carolina?
In North Carolina, you have to go through a specific process to finalize a divorce. This takes at least one year and one day, but can take longer. With a good divorce lawyer on your side, you can make the divorce process as painless and fast as possible. Here are the general steps to getting a divorce in North Carolina after you talk to your partner about taking this step:
- Separation – during this period, you and your spouse will need to live in separate households and you may wish to sign a separation agreement
- File for divorce – after one year and one day of separation, you can file the paperwork for getting a divorce in North Carolina
- Legally notify your spouse – they don’t have to live in North Carolina, sign any paperwork, but they do need proper notification either via certified mail or a sheriff serving them in person
- File a complaint or answer your spouse’s complaint – this step is optional, and you can skip it if neither party is asking for alimony (spousal support) or property division
- Enter mediation – this is mandatory for alimony or property settlement and available for all divorces, even if you don’t file a lawsuit
- Schedule your divorce hearing – for simple divorces, this process is fast and typically requires you to swear under oath that you are eligible for divorce. In this case, you will likely leave with your divorce papers. It’s important to note that most divorces are now done by summary judgment – a process where a motion is filed for summary judgment and the judge reviews the file and grants the divorce based on the court filings. Neither party has to go to court.
Finalizing your divorce can be quick and easy or long and painful depending on your specific situation. When you work with our team, we help you through the process. Even if your divorce is complicated, we walk with you every step of the way and help you get the best possible outcome.
Alimony and Property Division After Your Divorce
Finalizing your divorce quickly many not be the best option. Keep in mind that once you finalize your divorce, you can no longer ask for alimony or equitable property division.
Are you eligible for alimony? It depends. Alimony, which is also known as spousal support, helps the spouse who was not the primary breadwinner if your marriage income was not equally divided. For example, maybe one spouse primarily stayed home and took care of the house and kids, while the other went to graduate school and advanced in their career. Since the first spouse put their career on hold to benefit the marriage in other ways, they are at a disadvantage after a divorce.
During your marriage, you probably acquired property together. However, you may have also acquired property in just one spouse’s name for whatever reason. When filing for property division during your divorce, you’ll work with your spouse to divide this property or a court will decide. If you acquired the asset during the marriage by either party and used marital money, the asset is deemed “marital property” and is divisible at equitable distribution.
Property Not Divided
However, if you don’t divide property before you finalize your divorce, the property will remain the possession of the spouse whose name it is in. So, if your car is in your spouse’s name, the car will belong to them after your divorce, even if you were the person who drove it during the marriage. If you own property in both your names, you will continue to own it jointly after your divorce.
Child Support and Custody After Your Divorce
While you need to decide property division and alimony before the divorce process is over, child support and custody decisions are not limited to your divorce proceedings. Children have a right to support from both parents throughout their entire childhood, until they reach 18 years old (sometimes longer if they are still in high school).
Often, it makes sense to make decisions about child custody and support during your separation. We recommend making a separation agreement that includes who will have legal and physical custody of your children while you are living in separation homes. Child support usually makes sense during this time as well. However, keep in mind that if your situation or your former partner’s situation changes, you can file to have the support payments and custody arrangement amended, even if you already finalized your divorce.
FAQs About Working with Divorce Lawyers Greensboro NC
Divorce is complicated. While we can’t answer specific questions about your divorce online, here are a few general questions our clients frequently ask about working with divorce lawyers Greensboro NC residents need to know.
How can I find the best divorce lawyer?
We strive to be the best divorce lawyers Greensboro NC residents can hire, and we have the accolades to prove it. However, no legal team is right for every person. We recommend an initial consultation. This allows us to review your case and answer basic questions about your divorce and the overall process. It also allows you to decide if we are a good fit for you. You will be sharing personal details with your divorce lawyer, so it’s important to feel comfortable with them.
Can a divorce lawyer help me get a divorce faster?
Unfortunately, no. In North Carolina, you need to separate from your spouse for at least one year and one day before you can file the divorce paperwork. We can’t speed up this process, and any lawyer who says they can is not being honest with you. However, we can file the paperwork properly and help you get through mediation and negotiations as fast and smoothly as possible after the separation period.
How much will my divorce cost?
Cost depends on a number of factors regarding the complexity of your case. Some amicable divorces require little more than filing the paperwork. Others require forensic accounting, private investigation, negotiation over several properties, alimony, child custody, and more. We are always upfront about the costs and respect your time during consultations, to get your information as quickly as possible. Chat with us now or click here to learn more about working with the Morgenstern & Associates team.