Getting a divorce in North Carolina can be a long and complicated process. First, parties must be legally separated for one year prior to filing for divorce. Once eligible to file for divorce, the process of finalizing everything (alimony, property division, child custody) can take substantially longer.
Before embarking on this emotionally draining and life altering path, there are a number of important things to know:
1. Make sure you are emotionally ready for what is about to happen. Couples divorce for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, deciding to walk from your marriage is the best decision you can make for yourself. But this is a decision which will have monumental consequences. When children are involved, the process of deciding custody and learning to co-parent can often be incredibly difficult. Before taking the first steps to divorce, make sure you are certain you want your marriage to end.
2. Speak to an attorney before you do anything. Divorce laws are complicated. It is important to fully understand the process you are about to undertake and know what steps are needed in order to best protect yourself. Speaking to a knowledgeable attorney can help you understand what information will become important later on in the process. An attorney can also assist you in deciding whether to leave the martial home and how to best plan for finances during the divorce process. It is important to know before you do.
3. Relieving guilt through honesty is not always the best policy. Sometimes a spouse has had an affair during the marriage. Often these individuals feel the need to admit their transgressions to their spouse in order to relieve a feeling of guilt. Unfortunately, admitting to illicit sexual behavior can have a significant impact on your future finances—specifically with respect to alimony. Additionally, North Carolina allows for various lawsuits against the third party with whom the spouse had an affair. These include Alienation of Affection and Criminal Conversation. Tell your attorney, not your spouse, about any affairs.
Contact Cristina Quantock if you are considering a divorce and want to make sure you are prepared.