Anyone going through a divorce knows the stress and fear one has to go through. Divorce is undoubtedly one of life’s most harrowing experiences. It will change the lifestyle and habits you have built over the years with your partner; in short, your whole life will undergo a massive transformation.
From an emotional point of view, divorce is one of the most challenging periods in life. Divorcing spouses and their children experience resentment, shock, and insecurity during this difficult time.
From a legal perspective, divorces can vary. Sometimes spouses reach an agreement easily, resolving disputed issues out of court. On the other hand, disrupted relationships and irreconcilable differences prevent spouses from reaching an agreement peacefully. The only solution is court litigation. However, engaging in an adversarial court process requires hiring an experienced and well-versed divorce attorney who will help the client navigate each step of the legal procedure.
Therefore, if you are thinking about divorce, it is best to get a divorce attorney who understands the details of your divorce process and gives you the best advice. You may fail to notice some key points that can ultimately create problems for you.
Mr. N. Lawrence Hudspeth is a specialized divorce lawyer in Jacksonville, NC, who will be able to think strategically about the output you want from your divorce so that there are no hindrances for you to attain the best possible outcome.
Due to the complex structure of court litigation, legal representation by an experienced divorce attorney is a fundamental requirement. Proving divorce and child custody allegations means facing exhausting litigation stages such as disclosures, discovery, opening statements, witness examination, and closing arguments. Getting a successful divorce outcome is impossible without the advice and representation of a well-versed divorce lawyer.
Dealing with child support, child custody, alimony, marital property division, and other divorce-related issues becomes a stress-free experience with the help of Mr. Hudspeth. Knowing laws and sophisticated court reasoning in matters such as child support and child custody, Mr. Hudspeth will provide you with custom-tailored advice and the best legal representation resulting in obtaining child custody and positive outcomes.
Before filing for a divorce, the protesting spouse must fulfill a residency requirement, meaning one of the spouses must be a resident of North Carolina for at least six months. North Carolina laws recognize two angles of divorce. They are a no-fault absolute divorce (NC Gen Stat § 50-5.1 and NC Gen Stat § 50-5.6) and divorce from bed and board (NC Gen Stat § 50-5.7). Under absolute divorce, there are two grounds: separation for one year and incurable insanity.
Under this ground, spouses must live separate and away from their partner in another physical residence for one whole year-one day, and at least one spouse must have the intention not to recommence the marriage and remain separate and away. The other spouse does not have to agree to divorce, and there is no need to file any unique documents for ‘legal separation’ to start this one-year and one-day period, but the other spouse must receive legal notice of the divorce.
The court does not require proving separation. A statement under oath is sufficient to trigger an absolute divorce. On the other hand, failing to meet the requirement of living in separate residences for at least one year will result in rejecting a divorce filing.
Since North Carolina is a no-fault divorce state, spouses cannot divorce before one year of separation, so proving the fault for divorce is irrelevant.
Under the incurable insanity ground, a husband and wife must have lived separately, meaning in different physical residences due to one of the partners suffering from insanity for three consecutive years. A further requirement is that the spouse suffering from incurable insanity is under mandatory restriction in a specialized institution, or there is court-verified insanity for at least three years. The burden of proving incurable insanity is on the healthy spouse. The protesting spouse needs to obtain affirmation from two proper physicians – one from the institution where the spouse suffers from insanity inhabits in confinement and another (a general practicing physician) from the community where they last lived together.
Divorce based on incurable insanity does not require demonstrating that the spouse seeking divorce intends to remain separated permanently for at least one year.
A divorce from bed and board in North Carolina is not a divorce. It is a legal separation based on marital misconduct that does not dissolve the marriage. The marital bond still exists, so neither spouse has the right to marry again. For example, the protesting spouse seeks a divorce from bed and board to remove the spouse from the residence they have been residing in or for child custody or child support under North Carolina law.
Under this ground, the spouses cannot consent to a divorce. Instead, the protesting spouse must file an action for a divorce from bed and board. To be eligible to file an action, the protesting spouse must provide evidence that they have been affected by the spouse who is said to be insane that falls within one of the six statutory fault grounds. The grounds ( under North Carolina General Statute § 50.7) for a divorce from bed and board are:
Separation based on divorce from bed and board court orders allow spouses to resolve issues with an agreement. Another way is to file for property division or post-separation support orders, asking the court to resolve those issues. After an order for separation due to a divorce from a bed and board order, spouses still have to wait for at least one year to file for an absolute divorce. There is no other way to end the marriage.
During separation, one of the spouses can file for post-separation support, as a temporary spousal support one spouse pays to another (who needs it) after issuing a bed and board order, but before the divorce.
Apart from mentioned, there is the so-called simple divorce, which is not a legal category in North Carolina divorce law but an informal term. It refers to simple absolute divorce cases, meaning the spouse filing for divorce does not request spousal support or division of property. The parties only seek a divorce – they want marriage dissolution and nothing else.
If you do not request property division before the process is over, you permanently lose the right to seek the division of marital property in court. On the other hand, you can request child custody and child support at any time after the divorce.
To start a divorce procedure in North Carolina, you must file a complaint containing the facts of your case and request a divorce. Parties seeking property division or spousal support must state all relevant facts and requests.
Next, you must file a summons, a Domestic Civil Action Cover Sheet, and an affidavit stating whether your spouse is in the military service.
Finally, you must pay a court filing fee. A spouse unable to pay a court fee can file a Petition to Proceed as an Indigent using state-provided forms.
To initiate a divorce process, filing a complaint is not enough. A spouse filing for divorce must serve a copy of their summons and a complaint to their partner by paying an additional fee and letting the sheriff delivers the documents. Also, you can use postal services such as USPS or FedEx. When the address of your spouse is unknown, service through newspaper publication is possible.
If you or your spouse file for a simple divorce, a divorce hearing is simple, involving only a testimony under oath. In case either spouse requests alimony, child custody, child support, or marital property division, a divorce hearing becomes more complex. Do not engage in a divorce process involving such complex matters without an experienced divorce attorney. Only a well-versed divorce lawyer can successfully deal with all the nuances of a litigated divorce.
If you request anything beyond a simple marriage dissolution, ensure to get the best possible legal representation in court.
If you seek to file a divorce or discuss other divorce-related issues, do not hesitate to contact Mr. N. Lawrence Hudspeth.
A family law specialist, he has been practicing in Jacksonville, North Carolina more than 35 years.
He has a proven record of dealing with child support, child custody, and the distribution of property for clients during a divorce.
Hence, if you are looking for an attorney to help you through this stressful time, contact us and let us support you through the process.