Divorce Lawyer in Smithfield, NC

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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.

Contact Breeden Law Office at (919) 300-7290 to schedule a consultation with a Smithfield divorce attorney today.

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

Divorce in Johnston County, NC

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.

How to File for Divorce in Johnston County

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.

What Happens to Our Assets?

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.

How is Spousal Support Determined?

Alimony is a sensitive issue in any divorce case. Generally, spousal support is intended to achieve different objectives depending on the situation:

  • Alimony may allow one spouse to live the same relative lifestyle as if the marriage continued
  • Spousal support may offer an opportunity for a party to gain employable skills and training, and eventually, become self-sufficient
  • Spousal support can help establish a balance between the income and needs of each spouse, especially where one gave up employment opportunities to support the other earlier in the marriage

If you have questions regarding spousal support or alimony in your divorce case, contact a Smithfield divorce attorney for help today.

What Types of Alimony Are Available in a North Carolina Divorce Case?

Though the details vary, there are two forms of spousal support:

  • Post-Separation Support – This is meant to provide financial resources for a lower-earning spouse, starting from the one-year period of separation to the end of the divorce process.
  • Post-Divorce Spousal Support – This type of alimony is paid to a spouse after the divorce is final, but it’s usually limited in time.

Can I Modify Alimony?

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.

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.

Smithfield/Johnston County, 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 Smithfield that may be useful for those going through a divorce.

Laws Regarding Minor Children in Divorce

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.

Options for Child Custody

There are two classifications related to custody matters:

  • Legal Custody – A parent with legal custody has the authority to make decisions on important issues relating to raising the child, including medical care, education, participation in religion, and extracurricular activities. The amount of time a child spends with each parent is not a factor.
  • Physical Custody – This type of custody refers to where the child lives and the time each parent spends with the child. Physical custody doesn’t grant decision-making authority to a parent.

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:

  • The bond between each parent and the child
  • Mental and physical health of each parent
  • The child’s wishes, if age appropriate
  • The stability of each parent’s residential environment
  • School and community ties
  • Each parent’s ability to provide care for the child, including consideration of work schedules
  • The parents’ ability to cooperate with each other on raising the child

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.

Child Support

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:

  • Food, shelter, and basic necessities
  • Clothing and personal care items
  • Costs of living
  • School and educational costs
  • Child care
  • Transportation
  • Expenses for activities

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.

Other Unique Divorce Situations

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:

  • The requirements for divorce, including those related to residency
  • Annulments, a proceeding that’s different than divorce and may offer benefits to expedite the process
  • Legal separation agreements
  • Uncontested divorce, where you agree on the key issues involved with ending your marriage
  • Military divorce, especially the unique rules that apply to alimony, child support, and retirement benefits
  • Interstate divorce, including jurisdictional requirements and service of process
  • Same-sex marriage issues

Divorce Mediation

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.

Advance Planning for Divorce Issues

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:

  • Prenuptial agreements
  • Postnuptial agreements
  • Shareholder agreements

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.

How a Smithfield Divorce Lawyer Can Help

The laws are complex, but the local process in the county where you live can be a lot more challenging than 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.

Contact Breeden Law Office

If you have questions regarding divorce and how a Smithfield divorce attorney can be an asset in your case, contact Breeden Law Office at (919) 300-7290, or contact us online.

Call Breeden Law Office today:

Call (919) 300-7290

Divorce In North Carolina: What You Need To Know

A book by Jonathan Breeden