If you are contemplating an end to your marriage, you are likely experiencing a range of emotions and have a lot of questions. It’s important to talk to an experienced, knowledgeable, and compassionate North Carolina family law attorney to understand your rights and obligations when considering separation and divorce.
At Teddy, Meekins & Talbert, we understand the complexities that come with considering how divorce will affect you and your children. We have found issues involving children are some of the most difficult and heart-wrenching aspects of divorce. We know you want to do what is in your child’s best interest, and we are here to provide our clients with experienced legal counsel to help you through this transition.
Whether you are in Shelby, Rutherfordton, Lincolnton, Gastonia, or a nearby county, our attorneys are here for you. Call Teddy, Meekins & Talbert today at (704) 734-9512 or use our online contact form.
Divorce is never easy. But having an experienced, knowledgeable, and compassionate lawyer to guide you through the process can help you weigh your legal options and avoid missteps. There is more than one way to obtain a divorce in North Carolina, making it a “hybrid” state for divorce. A knowledgeable divorce lawyer can advise you on what steps to take, based on your circumstances.
No-fault divorce: In North Carolina, either party can apply for divorce without proving the other party’s conduct is to blame for the dissolution of the marriage. To obtain a no-fault divorce, you must be a resident of the state for at least six months. Secondly, you and your spouse must live apart for one year with the intent of not living together again. After one year of separation, you are eligible to file for a divorce.
Divorce from bed and board: Under North Carolina law, this type of divorce can be sought if one party abandons his or her family, maliciously turns the other out, abuses or endangers the life of the other, uses alcohol or drugs excessively, or commits adultery.
Incurable insanity: In these unfortunate circumstances, a person may seek a divorce if the couple have lived separate for three consecutive years due to one spouse’s mental illness.
Annulment: Unlike what most people think of when they hear this term, annulment is actually only allowed in North Carolina if: spouses are closer than first cousins or between double first cousins; either spouse is younger than 16; one of the spouses is already married; one of the spouses is impotent; or one of the spouses is mentally incapable of agreeing to the marriage.
When initially moving apart, you may wish to consider a separation agreement spelling out each side’s obligations. Among the things that a separation agreement may address are:
A separation agreement is a voluntary agreement signed by you and your spouse. You should have your lawyer review the agreement before signing it. You are not free to remarry when separated.
Steps for Getting a Divorce in North Carolina
In an ideal world, divorce would be a quick and painless process where both sides agree on what’s best for everyone. However, we know that is rarely the case. Divorces are often contested, and the process can be drawn out as both sides hash out the details of the agreement.
Legal Aid of North Carolina explains the divorce process in three simplified steps:
Tell the Court: This step includes filing your complaint with the clerk of court, as well as filing a civil summons.
Tell Your Spouse: You are not the one who actually tells your spouse anything, but in this step, your spouse is “served” with the divorce papers by a third party, such as the sheriff. Your spouse can either sign the papers as-is, making it an uncontested divorce, or file his or her own papers to contest your version of things as outlined in the complaint. In a contested divorce, you may have to go through mediation to resolve disputed issues.
Tell the World: This is the step where you and your attorney go to court and the judge hears the details of your case, including your testimony and — if needed — arguments from both sides. After reviewing all the evidence, including the separation agreement if you have one, the judge will make a decision and sign your Judgement for Absolute Divorce. Once you have obtained an absolute divorce, you are free to remarry. However, an absolute divorce can be granted without other agreements — such as for child support or division of assets — in place.
Even this simplified version of the steps to getting a divorce can seem complicated, especially when you’re overwhelmed with the emotions that come with such a huge life change and are just trying to adjust to your “new normal.” The compassionate attorneys at Teddy, Meekins & Talbert can take some of the pressure off you by handling the details of your case and preparing you for what to expect in each step of the process.
We know that divorce takes a toll on the mind, body, and the soul. Emotions run high, especially when children, pets, or your family’s home is involved.
Let our North Carolina divorce lawyers at Teddy, Meekins & Talbert guide you through the emotionally charged process of separation and divorce. We offer personalized attention, a broad perspective, and years of experience on family law issues.
We will meet with you and develop a plan that protects your interests and rights if you are ready to end your marriage, and our trial lawyers are ready to fight for you and your rights in court if necessary.
So whether you’re in Shelby, Gastonia, Lincolnton, Rutherfordton, or another nearby county, contact us today by calling (704) 734-9512 or using our online contact form.