Raleigh Divorce Lawyers

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Divorce presents questions, concerns, and a lot of uncertainty. When faced with emotional factors and a maze of laws, it’s crucial to work with an experienced Raleigh divorce attorney who will take the burden off your shoulders.

For more than 20 years, Raleigh family attorney Jonathan Breeden has helped people in Raleigh and across Wake County who’ve decided to end their marriage and move on with their lives. You don’t have to go through the turmoil of filing for divorce in Raleigh yourself. Jonathan will guide you through the proceedings, so your only focus should be on a fresh start.

Call Breeden Law Office at (919) 480-8005 or use our online contact form to reach out.

A divorce attorney is invaluable to your case. Find out how they can help you.

Divorce in Raleigh, NC

Though the specific details of every divorce are different, many parties confront the same issues: the division of property, allocation of debt, alimony, child custody, and more. Applying North Carolina divorce law to your case can seem daunting. But attorney Breeden can guide you through every step.

Typical issues that arise in a Raleigh divorce include:

It’s essential to work with a North Carolina divorce attorney to navigate these issues. You must complete specific forms and meet deadlines. If you fail to conduct your divorce appropriately, your case may be dismissed or delayed, risking time and money.

Grounds for Divorce in Wake County, NC

North Carolina is a no-fault divorce state. That means you don’t have to prove that your spouse is responsible for the breakdown of your marriage. However, if there were wrongdoings, these acts can impact the outcome of your divorce.

Alienation of Affection

If your spouse had an affair, you might claim alienation of affection. You might also have a cause of action against a third party who caused the demise of your marriage. This type of claim is separate from the divorce process. However, it can impact your divorce proceedings.

If the affair is considered marital misconduct for purposes of your divorce case, your spouse may not be entitled to post-separation financial support or alimony.

Protecting Your Interests in a Divorce

Navigating the Wake County District Court requires in-depth knowledge. But Attorney Breeden will ensure your interests are protected.

Reaching an Agreement vs. Divorce Court

You have two options for deciding on issues in your divorce. You and your spouse can try to agree on how things are divided. Or, you may leave it to the court to split everything.

It’s often best to agree to make decisions regarding the critical issues in your life. That’s where an attorney comes in. Your Raleigh divorce lawyer can negotiate with your spouse and their lawyer to ensure you get what you deserve.

Marital vs. Non-Marital Property

The line between what is yours and what belongs to both of you may seem simple, but it is not. Gifts, inheritances, and other property may include characteristics of both marital and non-marital property. The designation of assets can be one of the most contested issues in a divorce case.

Property Division

In a divorce, all marital assets are to be divided equitably between the parties. However, that doesn’t always mean a 50-50 split. Many factors can impact how property is distributed.

Dividing Debt

Financial obligations must be allocated in a divorce case as well. This issue can lead to hurdles. Many couples share responsibility for mortgages, auto loans, credit cards, and other debts.

Alimony or Spousal Support

Spouses often fight intensely over alimony, also called “spousal support.” There is no absolute right to alimony, but a court may award support when necessary to balance spouses with unequal incomes and situations.

There are two forms of spousal support:

  • Post-Separation Support – This is intended to provide financial support to a lower-earning spouse during the period of separation but before the actual divorce.
  • Alimony – This is paid to a spouse after the divorce is finalized. It may be ordered for a specified amount of time or until certain conditions are met.

Minor Children in Raleigh Divorce Cases

If you have children with your spouse, it’s essential to address their needs in your divorce arrangement. You must consider the child’s best interests when working out key issues. If parents cannot agree, the Judge may apply the child’s best interests’ standards and make decisions regarding:

Divorce involves more than the initial separation. Custody, child support, and other issues must also be decided during the divorce process, and timing could vary depending on your case.

Step by Step: The Wake County Divorce Process

A divorce case is filed in and moves through the Wake County District Court. The court is located at 316 Fayetteville St. Mall, Raleigh, NC 27601. They can be called at 919-792-4875.

Here are the steps to obtaining a divorce as described in the court’s North Carolina Divorce Packet. All forms described below are available in the divorce packed, which is provided through the judicial system.

Step 1: Complete the Forms & Prepare to File

You will need to prepare a Complaint for Absolute Divorce. This consists of facts about your marriage and separation. It asks the court to allow your divorce based on the information provided.

You will also need a Domestic Civil Action Cover Sheet, Civil Summons, and Servicemembers Civil Relief Act Affidavit. If you cannot afford court fees, you may also complete the Petition to Proceed as an Indigent.

Other forms you may need as you go through a divorce include:

  • Notice of Hearing
  • Judgment of Absolute Divorce
  • Waiver and Answer
  • Affidavit of Service of Process
  • Certificate of Absolute Divorce

Step 2: File the Case for Divorce

You will need to make three copies of your divorce documents – four copies of the Summons – to the Wake County Clerk of Courts. The filing fee for a divorce case is $225. If you include a claim for Resumption of Maiden Name, there may be an additional $10 fee.

The court will accept your documents and assign a file number. They will keep one copy of your documents and return one to you. The third copy should be served on the defendant, your spouse.

Step 3: Serve the Defendant

You will need to have the Summons and Complaint for Absolute Divorce delivered to the defendant. You cannot give it to them yourself. You must use one of the following methods:

  • Service by Sheriff
  • Service by certified mail, return receipt requested
  • Acceptance of Service
  • Publication

Step 4: Get a Hearing Date

The defendant has 30 days to file an Answer to your Divorce Complaint. They may raise a counterclaim or bring up issues you did not address. You must work with a Raleigh lawyer for divorce to handle any unexpected claims that arise.

After the defendant files their answer or does not answer, your divorce case can be scheduled for a hearing.

Step 5: Going To Court

On the day of your court hearing, you must go to the Wake County Courthouse or follow the COVID protocols while that have participants log into a WebEx meeting room to talk to the Judge. You can wait in the courtroom while other cases are being discussed.

The Judge will announce the cases on the calendar. When the Judge calls your name, you should stand up and tell them you are present. Both parties will be instructed to sit in front of the Judge. If the defendant does not appear, the Judge will proceed without them.

A clerk will swear you in. That means you will be asked to state that the testimony you are about to give is the truth. Then, you will be asked to sit in the witness box. The Judge will then review the file. If all forms are correct and filed appropriately, the Judge will proceed with the hearing. If not, the Judge may dismiss the divorce lawsuit.

The Judge may ask you questions about your marriage and separation. They may also simply tell you to “state your case.” You can tell the Judge that you would like a divorce and read the statements you made in your Divorce Complaint.

A separation lawyer from a Raleigh divorce law firm will guide you through what should be said during your hearing. Without a lawyer present, the situation may not go as planned. The Judge may question some of the statements made in your Complaint. If you don’t have the correct answers, you may not get a positive outcome.

The more information you can provide your attorney with, the smoother your divorce proceedings will go. It’s essential to also prepare emotionally for the journey ahead.

Raleigh, NC Divorce Resources

Ending a marriage is hard. And whether you need to find a new home, change the name on the utilities or talk to someone, we want to offer our support and guidance. The following is a list of local resources and services in and around Raleigh that may be useful for those going through a divorce. 

Raleigh, NC Utilities

A Raleigh Divorce Attorney Can Help You

Although the court lays out the steps of a divorce in Raleigh, the process is complex. One wrong move or a missed deadline, and you won’t get what you need to start fresh after divorce.

Attorney Jonathan Breeden has developed an understanding of legal issues involved in divorce cases, and he knows the judges you will be in front of. He has been representing clients for over two decades in Raleigh and throughout Wake County.

Call Breeden Law Office to get him on your side today: (919) 480-8005. You can also reach out via our online contact form.

Contact Breeden Law Office

To schedule an initial evaluation of your case with a Raleigh divorce attorney, contact Breeden Law Office at (919) 480-8005.

Call Breeden Law Office today:

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Divorce In North Carolina: What You Need To Know

A book by Jonathan Breeden