Experienced Asheville Divorce Attorney Safeguards Clients’ Rights
North Carolina divorce lawyers guide spouses through the dissolution process
Deciding to end a marriage can be emotionally devastating, but that stress can be alleviated when you entrust the legal aspects of your divorce to an experienced attorney. At The Moore Law Office, PLLC in Asheville, our lawyers have a half century of combined experience safeguarding the rights of divorcing spouses. We will guide you through each step of the divorce process, addressing issues such as child custody, property division and alimony, and tailor a strategy suited to your specific goals and values. Though no one looks forward to divorce, we are dedicated to helping husbands and wives start a new chapter in the best possible position.
Knowledgeable attorneys advise on a full range of matrimonial law issues
What most states refer to simply as “divorce” is called “absolute divorce” in North Carolina. This means that the marriage is permanently dissolved. Here is some basic information about divorce and its related issues:
- Alimony — State law lists 16 factors that courts can use when deciding whether alimony, also called spousal support, should be awarded, how much should be granted and how long it should last. We look at each one of those factors as well as other information to give you the best chance at a fair outcome.
- Child custody — There are two aspects of child custody. Legal custody is the right to make decisions about how a child will be raised, concerning such matters as education, healthcare, religion and social activities. Physical custody determines where the child will live. Both legal and physical custody can be sole or joint in their terms.
- Child support — Typically, the parent with primary physical custody pays child support. Payment rates are set according to a state formula. The calculation takes into account such factors as the parents’ incomes, the number of children of the marriage and how much time the children spend with each parent.
Our firm gives divorcing spouses the chance to assess their situation in a relaxed manner during an initial consultation.
Will North Carolina courts split marital assets 50/50?
In a North Carolina divorce, the court will divide marital assets according to the equitable distribution method. This means dividing them fairly but not necessarily equally. In general terms, marital assets are property acquired by one or both spouses during marriage, while separate property consists of assets they had before marriage. Although a 50/50 split of marital assets is considered presumptively equitable, there may be circumstances unique to the marriage that require a different allocation. The court will consider these factors among others:
- The income, property and liabilities of each spouse
- Any obligation for child or spousal support from a prior marriage
- The duration of the marriage
- The age and physical and mental health of both spouses
- A spouse’s contribution to helping with the other’s education or career development
- A spouse’s contribution to an increase in value of property during the marriage
- The need of the spouse with primary child custody to remain in the marital home
- The difficulty of valuing and dividing certain property, including either spouse’s ownership interest in a business
- The tax consequences if the marital property has to be sold in order to be divided
The court can also consider any other factor it finds to be relevant. Our firm helps to ensure that assets are properly classified as marital or separate property and accurately valued so that our client receives his or her fair share.
What are the grounds for absolute divorce in North Carolina?
There are only two grounds for absolute divorce:
- Living separate and apart intentionally for at least one year before filing for divorce
- Living separate and apart for at least three years after one spouse is determined to be incurably insane
North Carolina is a no-fault divorce state. This means you don’t have to prove that your spouse did something wrong. However, the court, in making decisions on alimony and/or property division, may consider evidence of marital misconduct that could have affected your marital finances.
How long will the divorce process take in North Carolina?
Once you file the divorce complaint, your spouse is served and has up to 60 days to respond. If you and your spouse are in agreement on all terms of the divorce, it can usually be finalized within 90 days of filing. If there are contested issues, you may need to go to trial, which takes far longer. An experienced divorce attorney can help resolve disputes and speed up the process.