Divorce is difficult, and you may not realize how complicated the process can be until it’s happening to you.
Over the course of your marriage, you and your spouse have likely acquired several assets, meaning you’ll have to discuss asset division. Alimony may also be an issue in the proceedings. Further issues arise when children are involved, as the law prioritizes custody, visitation, and support. With help from a Smithfield divorce attorney, you will not have to take on these challenges on your own.
Smithfield family attorney Jonathan Breeden is an established divorce lawyer with years of experience advocating for clients across Johnston County who are making the choice to end their marriage. He is happy to assist if you want to work out an agreement with your spouse on asset division, spousal support, and issues related to minor children. However, he is skilled and persistent in fighting for your rights in court.
If you’re like many parties going through a divorce, you probably have questions about the process. While divorce lawyers can provide advice that’s specifically tailored to your situation, some answers to the most frequently asked questions about divorce in Johnston County may be helpful.
Divorce proceedings mainly happen in Johnston County District Court. The First step is to review the North Carolina Divorce Packet and file a divorce complaint with the Clerk of Court.
Your divorce complaint will include details about your marriage, separation, and makes a request for a divorce based on the information provided.
Once the paperwork is submitted, the documents will be served to your spouse, who will have 30 days to respond. If no serious issues are raised, a hearing will be scheduled where you will testify under oath about the facts and your eligibility for a divorce.
A Johnston County district judge will hear arguments and review evidence regarding financial matters, custody agreements, or other issues related to your divorce. While this can seem straightforward, things can become complicated quickly. Therefore, it is best to work with an experienced Smithfield divorce lawyer who knows the local court procedures.
Property division is a contentious issue in many divorces. State law requires an equitable division of assets acquired during the marriage, but equitable doesn’t always mean equal.
If you and your spouse agree on how to divvy up marital assets, the court is likely to approve the arrangement. In the event of a dispute, you must prove your position on why your proposed asset division is equitable. These types of court hearings can be complicated, so it’s important to have a divorce attorney on your side.
Alimony is a sensitive issue in any divorce case. Generally, spousal support is intended to achieve different objectives depending on the situation:
If you have questions regarding spousal support or alimony in your divorce case, contact a Smithfield divorce attorney for help today.
Though the details vary, there are two forms of spousal support:
Either party can request a modification of alimony if there is a change in circumstances that impact the person paying or receiving spousal maintenance. One such change is if the payor loses his or her job. Spousal support is terminated by North Carolina law if the recipient spouse remarries or becomes involved in a co-habitational relationship.
Regardless of whether you are the paying or recipient spouse, North Carolina laws for calculating spousal maintenance are complex. It’s critical to retain the help of a Smithfield divorce attorney to ensure the protection of your legal rights.
When a divorce involves minor children, parties must address additional issues beyond their own needs. State law is clear that a child’s best interests are paramount when considering custody and visitation.
However, the details involved with various types of custody and visitation can be challenging when parents’ emotions are running high. If disputes remain, a court will decide on the matter by considering the best interests of the child in the context of the different types of custody.
There are two classifications related to custody matters:
Since state law supports both parents’ involvement with raising a child, joint custody is the preferred arrangement in most cases. In rare situations, including circumstances involving domestic violence, a judge may grant sole custody to one parent.
Throughout the process of deciding issues related to minor children in divorce, a judge will apply this standard. Factors include:
Divorce lawyers provide the legal support you need when faced with disputes over child custody and visitation. A Smithfield divorce attorney can assist with agreements and negotiations, and will fight for your parental rights in court hearings.
In general, child support is paid to the residential parent to cover costs related to raising the child. It’s intended to provide children with the same lifestyle they would have enjoyed had their parents not divorced. Beyond this guideline, there are formulas to determine the amount of child support based upon the paying parent’s income from all sources.
Child support will apply to such expenses as:
While you no doubt want to provide your child with the best possible lifestyle, it’s also important to understand that there are both rights and obligations involved with child support.
A divorce attorney will make sure the arrangement is fair and complies with the law. You can also rely on divorce lawyers if you need to enforce a child support order entered pursuant to a divorce case.
Divorces are never one size fits all. If you’re facing unique circumstances, a knowledgeable divorce lawyer in your area can provide you with accurate information and explain:
You can avoid costly, prolonged litigation over divorce issues through the mediation process, where you and your spouse meet with a neutral mediation professional to discuss your disputes. Mediators are trained to facilitate meaningful conversations, so you’re more likely to reach a compromise.
You may be able to use certain legal tools to alleviate the stress and costs associated with divorce proceedings. A marriage attorney can tell you about different ways to protect yourself and your interests, including:
The laws are complex, but the local process in the county where you live can be a lot more challenging that you expect when emotions are involved. Your relationship with your spouse and drive to protect your children can cloud your judgment, putting your legal interests at risk.
If you attempt to represent yourself, you may give up your rights to an equitable asset division or alimony. Even worse, you jeopardize your relationships with children when you don’t act regarding child custody, visitation, and support.
The most important decision you will ever make while going through a divorce in Johnston County is hiring an experienced divorce lawyer. An attorney dedicated to your case can review your circumstances, anticipate your legal needs, identify financial assets and opportunities, work out a favorable custody plan, and arrange for support when necessary. In addition, you’ll have someone to ensure the process goes smoothly and you leave your marriage in the best possible way.
Jonathan Breeden has spent many years representing clients in divorce cases, during which time he has amassed significant skills, comprehensive legal knowledge, and extensive experience. He will take on the legal battles, easing the stress and anxiety you’re experiencing as you go through the process of ending your marriage.