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Experience Matters: Trust Our Legal Team

Family Law encompasses many different situations encountered by individuals who decide to end their relationship with a significant other or spouse, including dealing with the division of assets and debts (equitable distribution), receiving or providing financial support (spousal support, post-separation support and alimony), extricating oneself from an unsafe partner (domestic violence), and officially ending the legal marriage (divorce).

Our Lead Attorney Is A Board-Certified Family Law Specialist

Having a board-certified Family Law specialist on your legal team is a significant advantage for several reasons. It ensures you receive top-tier legal representation. This certification, granted after rigorous evaluations and continuous education, means your case benefits from an attorney with exceptional legal acumen and up-to-date knowledge. Their extensive experience and ethical approach lead to proficient handling of complex family law issues, increasing the chances of a favorable outcome.

Understanding North Carolina’s Two Paths To Divorce

In North Carolina, there are two types of divorces: Absolute Divorce and Divorce from Bed and Board. Both types of divorce can be obtained only by court judgment. Married parties cannot simply agree or sign an agreement or a contract to be divorced. Absolute Divorce does not require a showing of any fault committed by either of the parties to the marriage. Absolute Divorce is based on the parties living separate and apart for at least one year and one day with at least one person having the intent for the separation to be permanent. Divorce from Bed and Board is a legal claim for relief from the court based upon the existence of marital misconduct, including abandonment, adultery, domestic violence, substance abuse, etc. Divorce from Bed and Board is an infrequent claim but is appropriate in extreme situations when one party refuses to agree to a physical separation.

Navigating Legal Protection Against Domestic Violence in North Carolina

 In North Carolina, to obtain a domestic violence protective order, North Carolina General Statute §50B requires that there must be one of the following relationships between the person seeking the order and the person against whom the order is sought: current or former spouses, current or former cohabitating opposite-sex couples, parents and children, persons with a child in common, current or former household members, or current or former opposite-sex couples in a dating relationship. Although physical violence is the most commonly known reason to seek protection, there does not have to be physical violence to obtain a domestic violence protective order. Harassment is also grounds for obtaining a domestic violence protective order. A domestic violence protective order requires that the alleged perpetrator stop contacting the person who requested the order. The order can also involve custody provisions for minor children and the granting of the possession of a residence, vehicle, or pet. While a domestic violence protective order is a civil matter and not a criminal offense, the violation of such an order is a criminal matter.

At Donna Ambler Davis, PC, we are especially sensitive to the intricate details of cases involving allegations of domestic violence. Our attorneys provide experienced litigation support to advocate for the best outcome in every circumstance.

Know Your Rights In Equitable Distribution

Equitable Distribution in North Carolina is defined by North Carolina General Statute §50-20. North Carolina law provides that upon application of a party, the court shall determine what is the separate property of each of the parties, what is the marital property and the divisible property of the parties and provide for an equitable distribution of the marital and divisible property. This statute goes on to provide that there shall be an equal division of the marital and divisible property unless the court determines that an equal division is not appropriate. In that situation, the court may determine an unequal distribution of the marital and divisible property between the parties based upon numerous statutory factors.

How assets and debts are divided between separated or divorcing parties has serious short-term and long-term life consequences. At Donna Ambler Davis, PC, we believe that knowledge is power. Knowing your legal rights and responsibilities will put you in the best position to move forward with security and stability.

A Comprehensive Guide To Alimony / Spousal Support

Alimony in North Carolina is defined by North Carolina General Statute §50-16.1A(1) as an Order for payment for the support of a spouse or former spouse, periodically or in a lump sum, for specified or an indefinite term, ordered in an action for divorce, whether absolute or from bed and board, or in an action for alimony without a divorce. A person who is a dependent spouse (meaning unable to meet his or her reasonable financial needs) is entitled to an award of post-separation support and/or alimony from a supporting spouse (meaning the person who has provided the primary financial support during the marriage and most recently at the time of the separation). The determination as to whether a person is a dependent spouse or whether a person is a supporting spouse may or may not be readily apparent and is sometimes the first issue to be addressed in negotiations or litigation.

The amount and/or duration of post-separation support and alimony, however, often is the most contentious part of separation and divorce negotiations or litigation, precisely because it greatly impacts the short-term and long-term financial capability and stability of each of the parties. Resolving this issue requires a keen knowledge of recent court decisions and trends on the issue of alimony and spousal support awards. At Donna Ambler Davis, PC, our attorneys have decades of experience negotiating to settlement and litigating to success alimony and spousal support cases, both for the party seeking and for the party defending a claim for support. Our legal team keeps abreast of trends regionally and nationally, to best help our clients achieve their best outcome for present and future financial stability and prosperity.

Understanding The Divorce Process: What You Need To Know

It can be overwhelming to try and understand the different laws and how they will apply to your unique case. As experienced family law attorneys, we want to empower you with our legal knowledge and help guide you in making the right decisions for your family. Below are common questions clients ask.

Do both parties have to agree to a divorce in North Carolina?

No, both parties do not need to agree to a divorce in North Carolina. One spouse can obtain a divorce if they can show that they have lived separately from the other spouse for at least one year and that at least one of the spouses has intended the separation to be permanent.

Does it matter who files for divorce first in North Carolina?

Generally, who files first in North Carolina does not significantly impact the outcome of the divorce. However, filing first can offer some advantages, such as setting the case’s initial tone and choosing the jurisdiction if you and your spouse live in different areas.

Can a spouse refuse divorce in North Carolina?

A spouse cannot ultimately prevent a divorce if the other spouse meets the state requirements, including the one-year separation with the intent for it to be permanent. While a spouse can delay the process by contesting or not cooperating, they cannot refuse it indefinitely if the legal criteria are met.

How much will my divorce cost?

The cost of a divorce in North Carolina can vary widely based on several factors, such as whether it is contested or uncontested, the complexity of the asset division, and whether child custody is an issue. Costs can range from a few hundred dollars for a simple uncontested divorce to tens of thousands for a contested divorce involving complex issues. It is advisable to discuss fees with your attorney early in the process to plan accordingly.

Is North Carolina a 50/50 state in divorce?

In divorce cases, North Carolina is considered an “equitable distribution” state rather than a strict 50/50 state. This means that the court divides marital property in a way that is fair and equitable, which may not always result in an exact 50/50 split. The court considers various factors, such as the earnings and economic circumstances of each spouse, the length of the marriage, and contributions to marital assets, among others, to decide on a fair division.

Helping You Rebuild A Brighter Future

At Donna Ambler Davis, PC, whether you’re facing challenges with divorce, equitable distribution, domestic violence, or alimony and spousal support, we are here to guide you through each step. Our commitment is to help you rebuild a brighter future. Don’t hesitate to reach out – call us at 919-933-0950or fill out our online form to schedule a consultation. Let us help you move forward with confidence.