Are you looking for the best marriage lawyer near me in North Carolina? Here at Morgenstern & Associates, we specialize in family law and can help you get the best possible outcome for your divorce case. When you are dealing with child custody, you want to have a great legal team on your side.
Marriage Law and Custody – What Happens during a Divorce
One of the main reasons unhappy couples often choose to stay together is because there are children in the household. However, in many cases, divorce is the best option for your child’s well being. In fact, according to several studies, around 80% of children have no lasting negative impact from divorce. However, many parents still worry about how a divorce might affect their children.
We can walk you through what to expect based on our experience in the field of family law, so you are as prepared as possible. Every situation is different, but here are the basic steps to expect:
- Separation – you or your spouse (or both of you) need to move out of your house. In North Carolina, you must go through a separation period of at least one year and one day, where you live/sleep in separate households. Many couples have a written agreement created by a separation lawyer, which includes child custody arrangements.
- Divorce – once you file for divorce, you’ll make decisions regarding child custody. While this agreement may be more long-term, child custody agreements can change over time. A top divorce lawyer can help ensure you get the best possible outcome with all aspects of your divorce.
- Updating Custody – While some things, such as spousal support and property division, are decided and finalized at the time of divorce, a child custody agreement is modifiable upon a substantial change of circumstances until that child is 18.
The laws in North Carolina ensure that custody decisions are always in the best interest of the child. That said, you need a good lawyer with family law experience in order to present your case before a judge.
Child Custody and Prenuptial Agreements
Our North Carolina attorneys have experience helping couples draw up a prenuptial agreement. This is a document you should consider signing in the weeks or months before your marriage. A good prenuptial agreement can actually help you bond with your partner and build a stronger marriage. They aren’t just for celebrities and super wealthy couples.
However, prenuptial agreements do have a few limitations. You cannot make decisions about custody and child support for your future children when you sign a prenup. Children have the right to support from their parents, which includes both financial support and the best living situation at the time of the separation and divorce.
Types of Custody
You might hear some people discuss “joint custody” or “sole custody,” but what you’re really discussing is the primary physical custody of a child. Primary physical custody refers to where a child sleeps and who has physical responsibility for the child during a separation or divorce.
If a child spends at least 123 nights per year at your house, you have physical custody. Since there are 365 days in a year, it is possible for both parents to have physical custody.
Why does this matter? Well, your custody arrangement can significantly affect child support payments. North Carolina uses a calculator to determine how much child support is appropriate. Typically, the parent who has primary physical custody receives the child support payments from the other parent. Even if your separation and divorce is amicable, figuring out child custody and support can be extremely emotional. That’s why you want the best marriage lawyer near me on your side. We can help you get the best possible outcome for physical custody and support.
There is a second type of custody as well: legal custody. While one parent may have primary physical custody, it is common for parents to share legal custody. Legal custody refers to which parent makes decisions for the child regarding healthcare, education, and religion.
It is possible for one parent to have primary physical custody, while parents share legal custody. For example, this might make the most sense if parents live far apart. It might not make sense for a child to travel back and forth to both homes, especially if this would disrupt their school life, but both parents can still make decisions for the child.
How to Find the Best Marriage Lawyer Near Me: Frequently Asked Questions
If you’re worried about child custody during your separation and divorce, speaking to an experienced divorce lawyer or separation lawyer can help ease your mind. Here are some frequently asked questions we hear about how to find the best one.
Can any lawyer help me?
While any lawyer may be able to answer some basic questions about separation and divorce, you want an experienced family law attorney if you’re going through a separation and divorce. This happens to be our specialty! We are board-certified family law specialists with over 40 years of combined experience. So, if you are looking for a marriage lawyer, make sure you choose attorneys who practice in the area of family law.
Do I a need a lawyer during my separation?
You can sign a separation agreement without a separation lawyer, but we don’t recommend it. These are binding legal documents. While a judge can change a child custody agreement, it is easier to sign a fair agreement in the first place.
What should I look for in a divorce attorney?
The best marriage lawyer near me will have experience and accolades. However, an attorney client relationship also needs to be a good fit personality-wise. We would love to meet with you for an initial consultation to see if we’re a good fit for your case. Click here to contact us and learn more about if we are the right family law team for you.