Divorce Services in Charlotte
Assisting Couples Through Dissolution in Charlotte, Waxhaw, Huntersville, NC & Surrounding Areas
North Carolina has specific laws that govern the process of divorce. While the decision to end your marriage is part of that process, it is only the first step. You must follow certain legal processes and meet state law requirements before the court can legally terminate your marriage. To prevent any unnecessary delays, expenses, or complications with your divorce, consult with an experienced attorney.
At Blood Law, PLLC, we handle a wide range of divorce cases – no matter how complex. It is important to understand your legal rights and options to obtain a favorable divorce outcome.
How To File for Divorce in Charlotte NC
Before a couple can file for divorce in North Carolina, they must be physically separated from one another for at least 1 year. The stipulation of living separate and apart is generally satisfied when both spouses are residing in different households and have no intention of resuming marital relations. During this time, some parties elect to create a separation agreement to define how custody, spousal support, and other marital property will be divided prior to filing for divorce.
The second step in the divorce process is the filing within your county's Clerk of Court. This can be done through our services or on your own and will require a filing fee of approximately $225. This will trigger the next step which is "serving" your spouse with the papers. Service can be done by your local sheriff, through certified mail, a professional process server, or anyone over the age of 18 who does not have a personal gain in your divorce case. If you decide to hire someone to serve your papers, it may cost you an additional $30. Search for your county's local court here.
If your spouse does not respond to your complaint in 30 days, your divorce can still be processed and finalized by default. If your spouse does respond, then you must decide if the divorce is contested or uncontested. The duration, costs, and issues in play will largely depend on the type of divorce. This is where having an attorney is so critical to your success. We put you on the right path that achieves your personal goals and protects your children (if applicable).
Sometimes, a judge may order you and your spouse to attend mediation prior to making your divorce final. For some couples, mediation can save you the headache that comes with drawn-out divorce processes. Battles in court can become costly, lengthy, and public. Our highly experienced Charlotte divorce mediators can help you and your spouse come to an agreement that benefits both sides.
For assets and debts acquired during the marriage, North Carolina is an equitable distribution state. This means that the judge will be under the assumption that all property will be divided equally between parties; however, there are certain statutory factors that if present will affect distribution. It is also important to note that once a divorce order has been entered, spouses are not eligible to claim rights to equitable distribution, post-separation support, or alimony. Therefore, it is key to contact an attorney to help in this process.
Once the judge hears both sides of testimony, he or she will make recommendations that are in your best interests. Upon the orders established, your divorce decree will be final and you are free to remarry if that is your wish.
Types of Divorce
North Carolina divorce law is different than many other states. Some states only allow no-fault divorce, while others allow you to choose between a no-fault divorce and a fault-based divorce. North Carolina gives you two options: an absolute divorce and a divorce from bed and board. It is crucial to understand which type of divorce you should pursue.
This is the most common type of divorce in North Carolina. An absolute divorce legally ends your marriage and any related obligations. When the judge issues a Decree of Divorce, you are permitted to marry someone else and your marital benefits will end. You must have been a resident of North Carolina for at least 6 months before filing for absolute divorce. The grounds for an Absolute Divorce are:
- Separation for one year
- Incurable insanity (at least two medical experts, including one psychiatrist, must testify that you are insane)
It should be noted that filing based on incurable insanity requires that you be separated for at least 3 years. Evidence and diagnosis by medical experts is required to prove the insanity claim. This is a big reason why this ground for divorce isn't seen very often.
For separated couples, there is no official document you must sign that declares when you and your spouse separated. You must simply remember the date with the intention that you wanted the separation to be permanent.
Divorce From Bed and Board
Even though this is called a “divorce,” it does not legally end your marriage like absolute divorce. If you pursue this type of case, you cannot legally marry another person, as this type of divorce is more of a forced legal separation. There is no required separation period for a divorce from bed and board, although you do have to prove one of the following fault-based grounds:
- Abandonment - when one spouse severs all forms communication with having no intention of returning
- Adultery - any sexual relationships outside the marriage
- Cruel or barbarous treatment - acts that put your life in danger or could have caused serious bodily harm
- Drug or alcohol abuse - this ground can have serious implications on child custody and/or visitation
- Indignities - this can be a catch-all for other intolerable conducts
In some cases, it might be the right move to file for divorce from bed and board, though most cases pursue an absolute divorce based on no-fault grounds and one-year separation.
Does divorce from bed and board affect your spousal rights? Absolutely. If the divorce is granted by a judge, then the accused spouse may no longer cohabitate with their partner in any way, and may not receive their property if they happen to pass away. In some cases, they may even lose their right to the inheritance of the marital home. If both spouses reconcile, they will be able to recover those rights.
Common Divorce Case Issues
The following issues are common during a divorce case:
North Carolina law states that spouses must divide their marital property in an equitable manner. This means that, given the circumstances, the property division must be fair, although it does not have to be split 50/50.
Also known as alimony or maintenance, spousal support refers to payments made by one spouse to another to provide necessary financial support following a divorce. If one spouse did not work or there is a significant discrepancy in income, alimony might be an issue in your case. The judge will examine whether one spouse needs support and whether the other spouse is able to pay for the support.
If you and your spouse have a child, you will need to settle how you will share child custody and whether one spouse will need to pay child support. It is best for you and your spouse to agree on a child custody arrangement, but if you cannot, the court will issue a custody order based on what it believes to be in the best interests of the child.
What Is an Uncontested Divorce?
When a married couple officially decides to go separate ways, several decisions must be made. How will you:
- Divide up property from before the marriage?
- Divide up property acquired during the marriage?
- Divide liabilities that you’ve acquired as a couple?
- Handle custody or a child, and sometimes a pet?
- Manage spousal or child support payments?
In a contested divorce these kinds of complicated matters get worked out in the court system so that both parties are treated as fairly as possible. Like any trial, this costs money. An uncontested divorce can reduce these costs.
Uncontested divorces may be worked out in a board room or even your living room. You and your spouse sit down with an attorney to discuss how to fairly divide up assets and liabilities, as well as how to protect the children. Once an agreement has been reached, both parties go before the court to get the agreement and the divorce finalized. This is a much less costly and contentious experience for both of you and the children.
Why You Need a Qualified Divorce Team
There are many reasons why couples choose to get divorced. Some divorces may be more emotional than others. Children also impact the decision-making process. While divorce is difficult to go through, it does not mark the end of your life or discourage you from a bright future. Our attorneys can help you work to overcome any issue you might have to face through this transition.
We take an individualized approach to each divorce case. Whether you want to resolve your divorce amicably or are looking for a legal team that can litigate your case aggressively in court, we are here to help.
With offices in Charlotte, Waxhaw & Huntersville, we make it easier for families across North Carolina to find quality counsel.
Children Come First
With the complexities of family law, we put the well-being and safety of your children at the forefront of your case.
When you work with Blood Law, PLLC, you work with our entire team. Everyone is here to support you through each step.
We create personalized plans for each client while setting realistic expectations on the possible outcomes of the case.
From our first phone call to final signing, our team goes above and beyond to make sure you're getting the attention you deserve.
“Anna guided me through the entire process and answered all of my questions and concerns quickly.”- Debra K.
“Anna is very knowledgeable of the law as well as the local courts and judges.”- Penny N.
“I’m extremely grateful for Anna's help in my time of need.”- Olivia L.