Charlotte divorce lawyer Jennifer Dixon commits her practice to provide top-flight advocacy for North Carolina families under challenging situations.
Divorce, for the lack of a better term, is the king of all family law issues. It continues to purge families apart across North Carolina and for couples 55 years and older, it’s not going away.
No matter the situation that pushed your divorce into motion, it’s not a process you can go alone. Divorce is the breaking of a legal contract, so you’ll need a lawyer experienced in the matters of marital agreements.
Jennifer Dixon has mediated and settled countless divorces around the greater Charlotte area. Read more below on what the divorce process entails and how a divorce attorney can help you navigate it.
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How To Get a Divorce in North Carolina
The first step of divorce in North Carolina is separation. In order to be legally separated, the couple can no longer cohabitate. If the couple cannot agree to end cohabitation, a party may be able to file for “divorce from bed and board.”
Obtaining a divorce from bed and board requires “grounds” for divorce. In North Carolina these can be any of the following:
- Cruel or Endargering Treatment
- Drug Abuse
- Intolerable and Burdensome Living Conditions
Once any of these are proven, a spouse can be considered legally separated.
Just Because you are Legally Separated Doesn’t Mean You Can Remarry
A legally separated spouse can obtain an order for child support child custody, spousal support and distribution of marital property, but an official divorce is required to remarry in North Carolina.
Legal Separation and Filing for Legal Divorce Are Two Different Things
There is no requirement to obtain a legal separation before divorce in North Carolina. However, the law dictates couples be separated for 366 days to file an absolute divorce.
A Charlotte divorce lawyer can help you apply for a Divorce from Bed and Board if you meet one of the grounds listed above.
The Process of Absolute Divorce in Charlotte, North Carolina
Before filing for an absolute divorce, the state requires that you and your spouse must live apart and separately for at least a period of 12 consecutive months. What’s more, either one or both of you must have the intention to cease living together as husband and wife. One the first day after the 12 months of separation, either of you can file for an absolute divorce, which is discussed in full in the North Carolina General Statute in Section 50-6.
Being separated refers to the fact that you and your spouse must live in separate houses. It is not enough if you merely sleep in separate bedrooms in the same home. Further, if either of you resumes your marital relationship during this time period, and then separate once more, the 12-month time period may have to start over again depending on the facts surrounding your circumstances.
Should you and your spouse choose to indulge in isolated incidents of intercourse during the separation period, though, such acts are not likely to reset the 12-month time period. However, your actions might impact other claims, for instance, spousal support.
Living in the State of North Carolina
Either of you must have lived in the state for a minimum of six months prior to filing for the absolute divorce. This means that you intend to live in North Carolina indefinitely. If you leave the state temporarily, such as to attend college or go on a vacation, but you do intend to return, you still meet the requirements of residing in North Carolina.
It’s worth noting that this residence requirement is only applicable to the time period prior to filing for divorce. Once you have filed, neither of you have to continue residing in North Carolina for the state to have jurisdiction over the absolute divorce. You also do not have to be a United States citizen to obtain a divorce.
Filing for Absolute Divorce in Charlotte, N.C.
Once the first two requirements are met, either of you can file a complaint for divorce. The complaint is a document wherein you will detail the grounds for divorce. If you wish to have your maiden name back once the divorce is finalized, you must include a statement to that effect in the document.
Details to include in the document include:
- That you are a citizen and resident of a North Carolina county
- That you have been a resident of the state for a minimum of six months prior to filing the claim
- That you and your spouse have lived separately for a year with the intent that this separation becomes permanent
- Details of any children of the marriage, their ages, and names
The complaint must be verified before a notary.
Filing a Civil Summons
You will also need to file a civil summons which, along with the complaint, will be served on your spouse. The most common methods of serving a spouse in this state include:
- By certified mail with return receipt requested, via the United States Postal Service
- Via the Sheriff’s Office in the county in which your spouse is located
- By your spouse dating and signing an acceptance of service
Filing an Answer to the Complaint
Once your spouse has been served with the complaint and summons, he or she has 30 days to file an Answer to the Complaint. Your spouse is also permitted to move the court for an extension for the time to answer, which would then give him or her 60 days to file an answer from the date of service. Often, the defendant does not even respond to a complaint for an absolute divorce.
Motion for Summary Judgment
Once time is up per the statute and there have been no disagreements about the basic elements needed for the divorce, you can file a motion for summary judgment. A copy must be sent to your spouse either via hand delivery or the U.S. mail.
Scheduling a Hearing
Once the motion has been served on your spouse, you can then schedule a hearing for your absolute divorce. You can do this after ten days if your motion was sent by hand delivery. If you sent the motion via mail, you are obliged to wait thirteen days to schedule your hearing.
You are also entitled to schedule the absolute divorce for a live hearing which will take place in front of the court and gives you the chance to testify about the basic elements needed for the absolute divorce. However, you may also choose to have an attorney appear in court on your behalf.
The procedure for the absolute divorce hearing tends to vary from county to county. In some counties, the judgments are given to the judge who has been designated to handle divorces during that week, who will then sign the judgment and give it to the clerk to file. In other counties, you or your attorney will appear in court in order to submit the divorce judgment to the judge for signature at that time.
Where to File for Divorce in Charlotte, N.C.
Divorce filing occurs with the Clerk of Court in the county you reside. Depending on where you live, you would need to file in the Civil Division of any of the following locations:
- Charlotte – Mecklenburg County Clerk of Court
- Concord – Cabarrus County Clerk of Court
- Monroe – Union County Clerk of Court
It would be best for a divorce lawyer to file a divorce complaint on your behalf. Once this happens, a law enforcement representative will deliver the notice to the other spouse or the other spouse may be served by certified mail.
Don’t forget — legal separation must exist for 366 days before a divorce can begin.
Why Does Separation Have to Last For One Year?
The 366 days exist for couples to try and resolve matters in the marriage. A divorce can potentially be a costly and ugly process. So the state wants couples to be sure about the divorce before it undertakes.
Mediation: Divorce Where Both Parties Agree
Mediation is always the recommended path for couples who seek a divorce in North Carolina. If both parties can agree to terms of a separation or divorce, mediation keeps all your business out of a courtroom.
Both couples, present with their attorneys, will negotiate with a mediator. The mediator is an independent, third-party who specializes in bringing two sides together in disagreement.
Couples who enter mediation can benefit in the following ways:
- Reduces Visible Conflict from Children
- Both Parties Control the Process
- Financial and Emotional Costs are Reduced
- Protects Family Relationships
What is Discussed in Divorce Mediation?
Couples can hammer out the following issues in mediation:
- Parenting Plans
- Child Support
- Property Distribution
- Spousal Support
If couples can meet these terms on their own, it keeps a judge from deciding anyone’s fate. Once a couple goes to court, it will be up to their attorneys to sway a judge’s opinion in favor of a particular judgment.
The courtroom is where a divorce can get particularly nasty. Remington Dixon, PLLC, always recommends mediation before court in divorce proceedings.
How Divorce Court Works
If mediation isn’t an option for a couple, then the divorce filing heads to family court. Once you’re in family court, there are a couple of steps before all issues relating to a divorce is final.
Discovery: Fact-Finding in a Case
Discovery is where all the information in a case is disclosed to the court and the parties. Any of the following methods can be used to reveal all data from a marriage:
- Producing Official Documents
- Property Inspection
- Physical and Mental Examination
Attorneys from both parties, as well as the court, can use these methods to gather information.
Hearings and Trials
Both parties will appear before a judge and have their attorneys argue in favor of individual decisions. These issues can pertain:
- Child Support
- Child Custody
- Property Settlement
Attorneys will use evidence gathered in discovery to help their clients gain an advantage. Witnesses will go to the stand to testify in favor of one party of another. Sometimes children are also asked to speak to the judge during a hearing.
A couple can go through multiple hearings before a judge makes a final ruling on all matters relating to their marriage.
Family Court Appeal
If you are unhappy with the ruling you receive in civil court, you can appeal to a higher court. A top court can either affirm the decision of the lower court or overturn it in your favor.
Your divorce lawyer can advise you on the best decision to make in the appeals process.
Divorce: Who Gets What?
A North Carolina court will always look to equitably divide property between a couple. That does not always mean equal not in the nominal sense, but in what is fair for both sides.
North Carolina is an equitable distribution state, which means the court will always try to be fair to both sides. Property is categorized into three types:
- Separate Property: Property acquired before the marriage by each party
- Marital Property: Property purchased during the marriage
- Divisible Property: Any item of marital property that can change in nominal value between separation and distribution.
A court will look at these types, along with several factors, such as the length of the marriage, age/health of the spouses, incomes, and liquidity of the properties when determining an outcome.
Affordable Family Law Consultations in Charlotte, N.C.
Remington & Dixon, PLLC is here to help any family in North Carolina facing the difficulties of divorce. Whether you need an advocate in mediation or a courtroom, Jennifer Dixon is here for you.
Contact our office at 135 Perrin Place Suite 200 in Charlotte or call (704)-247-7110 to schedule your consultation today.
More Information on Divorce in North Carolina
Getting a divorce is a tough decision for any family to make. There are reasons that you have decided to get a divorce, and a Charlotte divorce attorney can ensure the handling of your case occurs with the care it deserves.
With 10 percent of the population currently divorced, it is not uncommon for you or someone you know to go through a divorce. Most women are divorced at the average age of 29, while most men are just over 30.
While you may have had many years of wedded bliss, divorce for most couples occurs in the seventh year of marriage. This can be a turbulent time for couples as they may have had children at this age which can bring more difficulties and disagreements to a marriage.
Financial concerns are another reason that couples get divorces as well as mental issues, abuse, educational differences or even differing viewpoints. Whatever your reason for getting a divorce, a Charlotte divorce lawyer can help.
Divorce Attorney Charlotte, NC
Hiring a Charlotte divorce attorney may be the best decision you make in your divorce. They will ensure that the facilitation of your divorce in a timely and professional manner. There are times when your Charlotte divorce lawyer will need to advocate for you and your rights. They will see that you get the results you are looking for in your divorce no matter the outcome of your case.
When you work with a Charlotte divorce attorney, you can rest assured that your case is handled. They will help you understand the laws in Charlotte for divorce and work to provide you with options as part of your case.
When you are looking for a divorce lawyer in Charlotte, you need someone that you can count on to get what is fair out of your marriage. This may mean fighting for custody of your children or securing alimony for as long as you need it. Whatever the reason that you have decided to get divorced, your Charlotte divorce lawyer can facilitate the process and ensure it moves forward as quickly as possible.
What Does a Charlotte Divorce Lawyer Do?
Hiring a Charlotte divorce lawyer may have you wondering what they can do for your divorce case. Your Charlotte divorce attorney provides a number of benefits to your case, while also saving you time on dealing with the matter on your own.
Knows the laws in Charlotte for divorce
Your Charlotte divorce lawyer will help you understand everything you need to know about your divorce proceedings. They can provide you with a good understanding of divorce grounds, property division, alimony, and child custody. They know the laws for divorce in Charlotte and can offer you their skills in this area. This will save you time and headaches as you try to decipher the laws for divorce on your own.
Understands the process of divorce procedures and proceedings
Your divorce lawyer in Charlotte should have a good understanding of how divorces are handled in Charlotte. This means that can guide you through the legal process with ease and help you through each step of your divorce. They can give you the information you need to proceed forward with your case as well as inform you of what to expect as an outcome. Your Charlotte divorce attorney is used to dealing with complex divorces and can help streamline the process for you.
Employs strong negotiation skills
A Charlotte divorce lawyer will help you determine your assets and debts to understand their value in your divorce. They can negotiate the division of property and help you get the items and belongings that you want. Without a divorce attorney in Charlotte to help you with your case, you are at the mercy of your spouse in a heated debate over what belongs to whom. Your Charlotte divorce lawyer has a diplomatic approach to solving these issues.
Develops evidence after an intensive investigation
Your divorce proceeds will be very similar to any other court trial, even if your divorce does not need the court system. Your Charlotte divorce attorney understands this complex legal process and will provide the supporting evidence that is needed to prove your points in your case. A divorce lawyer in Charlotte is trained to uncover evidence where there is none and can follow up any request with supporting documentation.
Provides legal guidance and the advice you need in your divorce case
Divorces can bring out the worst in anyone. These are heated times that can be difficult to get yourself under control to manage. There are challenging decisions to make, and you may have no idea what is the best choice at the time. Your Charlotte divorce lawyer can help. They will support you during your case and help you decide what your best options are in your case. The quicker your Charlotte divorce attorney can start your case, the more time they will have to gather evidence. It is best if you speak to your divorce lawyer in Charlotte as soon as possible, even before you decide on the grounds for your divorce. Your divorce attorney in Charlotte may have a better reason for your divorce that you considered. This can make the process as painless and quick as possible.
What is Ground for Divorce in Charlotte, NC?
When you decide that you want to have a divorce, you will need to justify the reason that you want to do it. This means that you have to have an explanation for why you want the marriage to end. You have two options when it comes to deciding that you want a divorce. You may choose to go with a no-fault divorce or a fault divorce. These can include the following:
You may decide that you and your spouse have differences that just cannot be worked out. Because the relationship cannot go on in a healthy manner because of this, divorce would be your only option to resolve the issues you are having with your spouse. This is considered a no-fault divorce, which both spouses agree to during the proceedings.
Adultery is a difficult topic for anyone going through a divorce. However, it is the most common reason that people get divorced. If your spouse is cheating on you, during your divorce proceedings, you will need to prove that they committed infidelity. Your divorce lawyer in Charlotte can present evidence in your case that supports these allegations.
When domestic violence occurs in a marriage, it is considered extreme cruelty. This can even be towards your children. To file for extreme cruelty as your reason for divorce, you will need to prove that your partner was abusive or mistreated you and your children. If your spouse was abusive, there is a strong chance that they will not receive custody of your children.
If your spouse deserts your home and marriage, you have a right to file for divorce. It has to be proven that their departure from the family was intentional and unjustifiable. Desertion is easier to prove during a divorce than most other reasonings.
If your partner is neglecting you, there are grounds for divorce. This would mean that they do not spend time with you or go to your family functions. They may neglect your needs in the bedroom or rarely come home. This type of neglect needs to have occurred for at least one year. This is often chosen as the grounds for divorce if adultery cannot be proven.
This grounds for divorce include the continuous intoxication of your spouse to the point that they can no longer control themselves or their affairs. This may cause your great emotional pain and anguish. This type of behavior must have occurred in your marriage for at least one year. This is often difficult to prove in court, but a divorce attorney in Charlotte can build a strong case that supports these claims.
There are instances when your spouse may have broken the law and now is in a situation where they are facing a possible felony. As a spouse, you do not have to wait for your husband or wife to return from prison. You have a right to file for divorce if there is a felony conviction and begin a new life on your own.
If your spouse is suffering from mental health issues and has been in a mental facility for three years or more, you can file for divorce on these grounds. The court will review the evidence that supports these claims and may allow you to have a divorce, but it may still decide that you need to support your spouse. Remember it is not enough to just say that your spouse is insane to file for divorce on these grounds.
Types of Divorce in Charlotte, NC
You have three different types of divorces that you can select from in Charlotte. These, however, do depend on the grounds you have chosen and if your spouse contests. Each type of divorce comes with its own set of challenges and can determine how long your divorce takes in your case.
A contested divorce occurs when only one spouse wants a divorce. You may want the divorce, and your spouse may want to stay married or vise versa. The grounds for divorce you can claim in a contested divorce include desertion, neglect, intemperance, and adultery.
In a contested divorce one spouse will try to prove that the divorce is unjustified and not necessary. These types of divorces last for a long duration and always end up in court. They require hard evidence to prove the grounds for divorce and can turn into a heated legal battle between spouses.
With a contested divorce, it is always best to have a Charlotte divorce attorney to challenge the arguments of your spouse. They can establish a strong case the proves your reasoning for divorce and help to argue your points in the divorce proceedings.
An uncontested divorce is usually easier than a contested divorce. In these cases, you and your spouse agree on many of the details of your divorce, making it easier to finalize. These types of divorces can happen by default or by stipulation. With a default divorce, if your spouse does not reply to your divorce papers in 20 days, you can ask the court to approve the divorce automatically or by default.
When a divorce occurs by stipulation, both spouses need to agree on all the issues surrounding your divorce. A Charlotte divorce attorney can file an uncontested divorce quickly with very little issues to disagree upon in your case. This usually provides a much better situation for your family in the end.
Divorce With Domestic Violence
Divorce with domestic violence is difficult for everyone involved. When domestic violence is involved in a marriage, your spouse can lose their rights and face criminal charges as a result. You will need significant evidence to prove domestic violence of a spouse so having a Charlotte divorce lawyer on your side can help.
Because it can be difficult to come forward with the evidence that is needed to prove domestic violence in divorce, these divorces often do not go through. You may fall back with your spouse and call off the divorce, leaving you in a cycle of abuse. Plus, sending divorce papers can often cause your spouse to become angry, violent, and vengeful.
You need a Charlotte divorce attorney that handles domestic violence divorces. They can protect your legal rights and will handle your case with care. They will make your case priority and help you to get the best outcome for your divorce, so you can move forward after ending your marriage.
Regardless of the type of divorce that you choose, there is a number of details that will have to be dealt with in your case. You need a Charlotte divorce lawyer that you feel comfortable with and trust. Your divorce will make a difference in your life now and into the future for you as well as your children.
Important Things to Consider with Divorce
Divorce is difficult for any family to manage. There is an array of decisions to make by both you, your spouse, and the court before the finalizing of your divorce. The laws in Charlotte, NC, dictate you and your spouse’s rights. Divorce can change your life drastically, which is why we recommend thinking about these considerations before you decide to file.
Spousal Support and Alimony
You may be entitled to spousal support or alimony if you are not financially secure, disabled, unemployed or unable to earn a living based on your circumstance. You may be able to claim maintenance in a divorce, requiring your spouse to support you after the finalizing of your divorce. This alimony can occur for a few months while you get back on your feet or for years, depending on the decision of the court.
Child custody is often the most important part of a divorce. Some parents decide to share custody while others fight for full custody with visitation. Either case is difficult and winds up in court. It is up to your Charlotte divorce lawyer to show that you can offer a better life for your child over your spouse.
If you lose custody for your children during your divorce, you may be required to pay child support. These payments depend on the need of your children as well as your financial situation. You will have to continue to pay these payments until your child turns 18 or 19 years old, depending on the requirements set by the court.
Both the property that you and your spouse have gathered over your marriage are spilt during your divorce. This includes assets and debts but does not include property acquired before the marriage or after separation. The laws are very specific and complex when it comes to determining property division. A Charlotte divorce attorney can help.
Schedule a Consultation Today!
Call A Charlotte Divorce Lawyer Today to Schedule a Consultation
When you are looking to get divorced, you need the help of a Charlotte divorce attorney that you can trust. Divorce is never easy, and there is a series of legal details that need handling. A Charlotte NC family law attorney at Remington & Dixon PLLC can provide the legal assistance you need. They know the law for divorce in Charlotte and can assist you in filing for custody, alimony and more.
Let the divorce attorneys at Remington & Dixon help you with this sensitive legal matter. You deserve to have representation during your divorce. You do deserve fair representation. The divorce lawyers at Remington & Dixon are here to help you.
Contact us today to set up a consultation. We can move your divorce forward and provide you with the results you are looking for in this family matter. We can answer the questions you have about your divorce and help you through the filing process. You do not have to fight your spouse alone. The Charlotte divorce attorneys at Remington & Dixon are here for you.