The law firm of Tash & Kurtz, PLLC devotes its entire practice to family law matters in North Carolina. Our principal attorneys are Board Certified Specialists in Family Law and are committed to helping our clients in matters concerning divorce, alimony, postseparation support, child custody, child support, equitable distribution, and separation agreements
The divorce process is often a confusing and painful experience for both parents and children. A competent lawyer is essential in helping clients reach fair and reasonable settlements without wasting time and money on unnecessary legal fees and litigation expenses.
At Tash & Kurtz, PLLC, we know the pain and stress involved in divorce can be emotionally and physically draining. However, the actual process of getting a divorce in North Carolina is uncomplicated. In addition to living separate and apart from one another for a period of one year, either you or your spouse must have lived in the state for six months prior to filing for divorce with the clerk of court in the county in which you live; after waiting the specified period of time (usually 40 days after service of the complaint), you and your attorney can obtain a divorce from the courts; once the judge signs the judgment, the divorce is final, and the marriage has officially ended.
In North Carolina, two grounds for divorce are recognized:
- Assertion, under oath, that you and your spouse have lived separate and apart from one another for a minimum of one year (not just in separate bedrooms of the same house).
- Incurable insanity of a spouse (this is rarely used).
North Carolina, like most states, is a “no fault” divorce state. Neither party has to prove marital fault, for example: habitual drunkenness or addiction, adultery, domestic violence, cruel and abusive behavior, or economic fault. After the one-year separation and the processing of paperwork, you can get your divorce.
Separation is required in North Carolina before filing for divorce. There are many reasons why couples choose to separate. Some do so in order to save their marriages, believing that such a “cooling off” period may ward off divorce. Others choose to separate physically, but stay legally married to protect significant religious, financial, social, or legal interests.
It is the goal of our North Carolina based law firm to serve our clients’ needs through personal contact, interactive listening, and honest and open feedback. We work to create resolutions that can allow for healing, whether through litigation or through more affordable alternatives to litigation.
In North Carolina, unlike many other states, there really is no such thing as a “legal separation.” However, as noted above, in order to be divorced in this state, couples must be physically separated for one year. It is wise to consult with an attorney when drafting a separation agreement, because once both parties sign the agreement, it is considered a binding contract in the eyes of the law, and could be used to formalize the division of property and to obtain orders for custody, visitation, child support and spousal support during the divorce process. The consequences for you and your family are quite serious. A competent attorney will help you determine whether a separation agreement is right for you.
Before you divorce, take these steps:
- Hire an experienced divorce lawyer.
- Create a divorce financial plan - a written report that reflects your status, your future goals (including lifestyle goals, tuition goals and retirement goals) and a path to get from where you are now to where you want to be.
- Gather financial documents such as tax forms, benefits statements, bank statements, investment statements, retirement plan statements, wills, trusts, premarital agreements, postnuptial agreements, insurance policies, credit card statements, income tax returns, real estate purchase documents, sale documents, and any other document pertaining to your individual assets/debts.
- Avoid arguments with your spouse and plan pre-divorce meetings in a neutral location.
- Protect children and family from the divorce process. Do not discuss matters with them at this stage in your divorce.
After the divorce is final, you should:
- Keep meticulous records of your financial separation.
- Continue to plan for your future, and prepare a financial plan for the next year.
- If necessary, seek out counseling for any residual feelings of anger/bitterness.
- Keep your emotional divorce separate from your financial divorce – do not confuse child custody and visitation issues with money issues.
- Keep copies of any support checks you have paid or received.
- Transfer ownership of assets.
- Close all joint credit cards and bank accounts.
- Arrange to pay off any joint bills left over from the marriage – forward all bills in your ex-spouse’s name to him/her for financial handling.
If you have legal concerns regarding the dissolution of your marriage, or if you are planning to obtain a divorce, please contact Tash & Kurtz, PLLC today.
For more information on Divorce, please see our Divorce Frequently Asked Questions.