Accomplished New Bern Lawyers Manage Your Divorce Case
Sound advice and decisive action yields optimal results
Divorce is rarely easy, but the complexities of North Carolina divorce law can add to your difficulties, unless you retain a capable and trustworthy attorney. For more than a decade, the Carolina Law Group has provided assertive and assured representation for parties to divorce in the New Bern area. Whether you anticipate an easily mediated settlement or a highly contentious court fight, our firm has the knowledge, determination and resources to pursue the best possible result.
Grounds for divorce in North Carolina
North Carolina recognizes two types of divorce: absolute divorce, which dissolves the marriage completely, and divorce from bed and board, which serves as a legal separation, resolving various issues but not freeing the spouses to remarry. If you have reached the point of no return and are ready for an absolute divorce, North Carolina law can be quite frustrating, because there are only two grounds available:
- Incurable insanity — If your spouse has been diagnosed with a permanent mental illness, and you have lived apart for three years as a result, you can get an absolute divorce. However, you are required to present testimony on your spouse’s illness from two doctors, one of whom must be a qualified psychiatrist.
- Separation for one year — If you have lived apart from your spouse for one year, and at least one of you has been a North Carolina resident for at least six months, you can get an absolute divorce.
The separation ground serves as a no-fault option but does require you to wait a substantial amount of time before filing. You must maintain separate residences, and if you spend even a single night under the same roof, you must start your separation period over at the beginning.
Many people in unhappy marriages are eager to get more immediate legal protection, so they opt to obtain a divorce from bed and board, also known as a mensa et thoro, as a first step. The grounds for this type of North Carolina divorce are:
- Being maliciously “turned out” of the residence
- Cruel or barbarous treatment
- Indignities that make life intolerable
- Habitual drunkenness or drug addiction
With a divorce from bed and board, you can settle your divorce issues now, and get an absolute divorce later.
Capable assistance for the full range of your divorce issues
When you get a divorce, you must settle four primary issues before the court can dissolve your marriage:
- Alimony — A husband or wife who is substantially dependent on the other spouse for maintenance can receive an order of support. The court must look at 16 statutory factors when deciding whether payments are appropriate and how much those payments should be. There is no need for a dependent spouse to prove marital misconduct to receive alimony, but if an innocent supporting spouse can prove the dependent spouse committed adultery, the dependent spouse loses the technical right to alimony. No matter which side of this issue you are on, you need a determined and capable attorney making the best argument possible to protect your financial future.
- Child custody — When all other factors are equal, mothers and fathers have equal rights to custody of their children. However, courts in North Carolina base their custody rulings on the best interests of the children. As your family law advocate, we pursue your goals for custody methodically, presenting evidence of your fitness, your concern for your children, your ability to provide a healthy environment, and other key factors.
- Child support — North Carolina law requires that both parents support their children to the best of their ability. The court must consider many factors, including the income of both parents, the number of children, and the child custody arrangements when deciding on a support order. We fight to compel financial transparency so your support order is based on accurate figures.
- Division of property — North Carolina is an equitable distribution state, so you get to keep your separate property but must divide your marital assets and debts with your spouse in a manner that is fair, but not necessarily equal. Controversies often arise over the provenance of items and whether they should be designated as separate or marital. Disputes may also occur in the valuation of particular assets, such as retirement accounts, stock options, real estate and family businesses. For most couples, the family home is the greatest asset, so there is often conflict over ownership, occupancy, and mortgage payments. Throughout the equitable distribution process, we are tireless advocates for your property rights.
If you have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, the document can carry considerable weight in your divorce proceedings, unless the agreement can be shown to be invalid in whole or in pertinent part.
Contact our New Bern attorneys for aggressive divorce representation
The experienced attorneys at the Carolina Law Group in New Bern take determined steps to ensure favorable results in your divorce litigation. Call us at 252-636-3737 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with an accomplished divorce lawyer.