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We have found that preparing our clients for mediations, hearings, etc., provides them with a great advantage, as they have a better idea of what to expect when they walk into that setting. Managing clients’ expectations is about providing the client with a realistic picture of what will most likely happen with their property, finances, and custodial time. We are not a firm that paints a picture of perfection, as this is simply not the reality in most family law cases. No one walks out feeling that they “won” when it comes to ending the marital bonds, but by creating a realistic level of expectations, clients can walk out feeling satisfied and confident that their lawyer lead them in the right direction, and did what was in their best interests and the best interests of the family as a whole.
North Carolina is a no-fault basis jurisdiction with respect to obtaining an absolute divorce. An absolute divorce is the process of legally dissolving the marital bond between two spouses. In order to obtain a Judgment of Absolute Divorce from the Court, either spouse must show:
Many parents experience substantial life changes following a court order for child custody and/or child support. Custody arrangements between parents can become unrealistic and impractical as your children grow up and parenting arrangements change. A court may modify child custody if there is substantial change in circumstances for one or both parents, which affects the best interests of the children. An existing order for child support may be modified based on a significant change of circumstances experienced by either parent or the needs of the child. If you are interested in modifying your child custody or child support, our family law attorneys will work with you to reach a result that reflects a child custody and child support arrangement that works for your family and is in the best interests of your children.
QUALIFIED DOMESTIC RELATION ORDERS (QDRO)
What Is A QDRO? QDRO stands for “Qualified Domestic Relations Order.” It is a court order that is necessary whenever two parties are dividing a Qualified Retirement Account or Pension Plan pursuant to a divorce. A QDRO directs the plan administrator of such account to make a distributive payment to a spouse. The spouse receiving the distribution, referred to as the “alternate payee,” may deposit the funds into their own retirement account free from any penalties or taxes incident to the transfer Why Is A QDRO Necessary? Without using a QDRO to distribute funds from a Qualified Retirement Plan, the IRS may treat your distribution as a taxable event while also potentially being subject to an early withdrawal penalty. Having a QDRO will allow you to access the funds distributed to you without incurring such tax penalties. Do I Need An Attorney To Draft A QDRO? In many divorce cases, retirement plans are the parties’ most significant asset. It is important to have a competent attorney that understands how your retirement plan works in order to properly represent and advise you throughout the divorce process. Having an attorney draft your QDRO is always best practice as state and federal laws regulate QDRO’s.
Before filing for divorce, North Carolina requires that spouses be separated for a period of one year. Legally, the term “separated” means the parties must live separate and apart from one another with at least one party having the intent to remain separated. During the period of separation, there are often many issues that must be addressed, such as the parties’ finances, the division of property, responsibility for debts, and whether either party will be paying spousal support. We understand that your case is unique and each separation agreement must be tailored to best fit your individual needs. If you are considering separation, our attorneys will evaluate your case, advise you of your rights and responsibilities, and determine whether a separation agreement will best suit your personal needs.
POST SEPARATION SUPPORT & ALIMONY
In North Carolina, there are two types of spousal support, post-separation support and alimony. Post-separation support is often considered “temporary alimony” as it acts as a temporary means of financial support by a supporting spouse to a dependent spouse. Post-separation support usually lasts until an award of alimony is either granted or denied by a judge, or if the parties reach an agreement outside of court with respect to alimony. Alimony, while similar to post-separation support, is a permanent or specified arrangement that requires a supporting spouse to pay a dependent spouse either a lump sum or periodic payments. The court will use an enumerated list of factors, as set forth in North Carolina General Statutes § 50-16.3A, in considering whether to award. Unlike child support, there is no fixed guideline or calculation for the court to use when establishing post-separation support and alimony. Whether determining post-separation support or alimony, the court must assess the financial standing of the parties and determine the monthly income, expenses and reasonable needs of each spouse, while also taking into consideration list of factors, as set forth in North Carolina General Statutes. Having an experienced attorney to evaluate the facts of your case is invaluable. Our family law attorneys will work with you to determine whether you are entitled to or may be required to pay post-separation support or alimony.
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