Experienced Charlotte NC Family Law Lawyers
In family law matters, the stakes are often high; a decision handed down by a judge could forever change your life, the life of your child, and your future. For this reason, amongst others, hiring a family law lawyer when faced with certain legal matters is within your best interest.
Because each family law matter is entirely unique, you want a professional family law attorney on your side who is committed to working for you, and for doing the work that your case requires. Whether you are in the middle of a divorce, property division disagreement, child custody determination, child support determination, alimony and post-separation support decision, pre-marital and separation agreement formation, adoption, wills and estate planning, or if you are the victim of domestic violence, it is important that your legal advocate is someone who is both experienced in your specific case type, and passionate about your case being resolved in your favor.
At Remington & Dixon, PLLC, our Charlotte, North Carolina family law lawyers have the qualities you need to handle any of these types of cases.
Divorce Lawyers That Protect Your Rights
Divorce can be a complicated and emotional legal matter for many. First and foremost, if you wish to file for a divorce, you must be sure that your marriage meets the grounds for divorce dictated by state law. Your divorce lawyer will advise that there are two grounds for divorce in North Carolina per North Carolina General Statutes Chapter 50: Divorce and Alimony:
- Incurable insanity; and
- Separation of one year.
Usually, it is the second grounds for divorce—separation of a duration of at least one year—under which most couples file. Additionally, you must be a resident of the state of North Carolina for no less than six months in order to file for divorce.
If the grounds for divorce have been satisfied in your case, you and your divorce lawyer must file a divorce complaint and summons with the court, and then serve this summons to your spouse.
The divorce itself is not the most complex part of divorce proceeding; however, you and your spouse will need to come to a determination about how property will be divided, with whom your children will live, whether or not an alimony payment is appropriate, and more. An experienced divorce lawyer knows most couples cannot settle these matters amicably on their own, hearings are often necessary. During this hearing, a judge will hear both parties’ sides and then issue a legally binding court order.
Equitable Distribution and Property Division
When a couple is living separately from one another, one party in the relationship may file a claim for equitable distribution. In a divorce, a court will divide property equitably.
In North Carolina, the state considers that property that was “acquired by either spouse or both spouses during the course of the marriage and before the date of separation of the parties,” as marital property, per NCGS section 50-20. All marital property is subject to equitable distribution.
It is important to note that equitable distribution is not always equal distribution. In order to make an equitable property determination, the court shall consider the following factors:
- Income, property, and liabilities of both parties;
- Any financial support obligations from a previous marriage;
- The need of the custodial parent to use certain property (such as the family home);
- Pension, retirement, and other funds of both parties;
- Contribution of either spouse to the education of the other;
- Contribution of either spouse to an increase of value in separate property;
- All marital property owned by the couple;
- Tax consequences to both parties;
- Distribution of property through intestate succession laws;
- Business and interest assets; and
- Any other factors that the court deems to be relevant to equitable distribution.
Not only can we aid you in understanding what equitable distribution means and what an equitable distribution of property may look like, but we can also help you to uncover hidden assets in a divorce, to protect important family heirlooms, and to ensure that your property division order is as fair as possible.
Child Custody Lawyer & Child Support
For parents, one of the most emotional aspects of family law can be that of child custody and child support. In North Carolina, a court is obligated to make a child custody determination that considers the best interests of the child. The law, section 50-13.2 of North Carolina General Statutes, reads that the court “shall consider all relevant factors including acts of domestic violence,” the child’s safety, and the safety of either party. A seasoned child custody lawyer will explain that neither a mother nor a father is naturally favored by North Carolina’s child custody laws; rather, child custody will be awarded to the parent who best promotes the child’s welfare.
Typically, the non-custodial parent is the parent who is responsible for making child support payments, as both parents are legally responsible for making financial contributions on the child’s behalf. A court will make a child support determination based on the needs of the child, the earning and income of both parties, the child’s standard of living, and any other relevant factors.
Not only can our child custody lawyers guide you through the child custody and child support process and advocate on your behalf, but we can also help you to enforce a child support order in the event that your child’s other parent has not paid a child support payment that you are entitled to under the law. If you have fears about not getting custody of your child, have questions about child support orders, or need to modify a child custody or child support order, our team of child custody lawyers are here.
Seek Post-Separation Support With Your Alimony Lawyer
In the event that a couple divorces or separates, one party in the marriage may be entitled to spousal support payments, also known as alimony. The court may award alimony to the financially dependent spouse, to be paid by the financially independent spouse, in the event that the court finds an alimony payment to be equitable after considering all relevant factors (NCGS Section 50-16.3).
Our alimony lawyers recognize that in North Carolina, “all relevant factors” that a court may consider when making an alimony determination are many.
- Marital misconduct of either spouse;
- Earning of each spouse and earning capacities;
- Emotional, physical, and mental conditions of both spouses;
- Duration of the marriage;
- Contribution of each spouse to the other;
- Custody of children/child support obligations;
- Standard of living of each spouse;
- Education of each spouse;
- Assets and liabilities of each spouse;
- Property of each spouse brought to the marriage;
- Contributions as a homemaker;
- Needs of each spouse; and
- Tax consequences of an alimony order.
In the event that any illicit sexual behavior occurred during the marriage or prior to the date of separation, this may affect a dependent spouse and their alimony lawyer’s ability to receive an alimony award.
Pre-Marital & Separation Agreements
Many couples opt to form a pre-marital agreement about what will happen in the event that the couple separates or divorce. This agreement is commonly referred to as a prenuptial agreement. A prenuptial agreement addresses important issues in a marriage and divorce, such as how property will be divided and what an alimony amount will be. It is important to note that the rights regarding a child (child custody and child support) cannot be addressed by a prenuptial agreement.
There are many reasons why an adoption order may need to be sought from the court. In some cases, a couple may want to adopt a child that is not biologically related to either parent, a relative may want to adopt a child whose parents are deceased or have waived their parental rights, an individual in a same-sex marriage may want to adopt his or her partner’s child, or a stepparent may want to adopt his or her spouse’s biological child. For all of the above reasons for pursuing an adoption, the guidance of a legal professional is a necessity.
An adoption decree establishes a parent-child relationship between the party seeking adoption (the petitioner) and the individual who is being adopted. When an adoption is completed then the petitioner has all of the parental rights as would the biological parent of a child. Furthermore, an adoption also completely terminates the rights of one or both of the child’s previous adoptive parents or biological parents – depending on the type of adoption sought.
Filing a petition for adoption is a lengthy court procedure that can take multiple months to resolve. An adoption can further be complicated by a number of other factors, such as a child’s citizenship, the parental rights of a living parent, a contested petition, the child’s wishes, guardianship of the child, and more.
At Remington & Dixon, PLLC, our attorneys understand how important your adoption is to you. We have advocated for countless families during the adoption process, and will work hard for you.
Wills & Estate Planning Documents
No one likes to think about what will happen to their property and assets upon their death. However, while it may be unpleasant to think about, the truth is that planning for your estate now can help to ensure that your assets are divided per your wishes upon your death. If you die without a will or other estate planning documents, your property will be divided per North Carolina’s intestate succession laws, found in North Carolina General Statutes Chapter 29.
These laws stipulate that:
- If you have a spouse but no children, your spouse will get everything;
- If you have children but no spouse; your children will get everything;
- If you have both a spouse and children, your spouse inherits the first $60,000 of your personal property and then the remaining balance is divided between your spouse and children;
- If you have both a spouse and surviving parents but no children, your spouse inherits the first $100,000 of your personal property plus half of the remaining balance; and
- If you have neither surviving spouse nor children, your parents inherit everything.
Our attorneys can help you to create a plan for your assets that follows your wishes, and will guide you through the process of creating a will and testament, a living will, a living trust, understanding power of attorney, and more.
Domestic Violence Protective Orders
When you or someone in your home is in danger of violence from another person within your home, it is important that you seek safety as soon as possible. As soon as you are in a safe location, call our law firm for help in filing a domestic violence protective order. This civil order is a type of legal protection that prohibits the abusive party from harassing you or interfering with your business, traveling to your place of residence or work, and more. A domestic violence protective order can also give you temporary custody of your children, and may require your spouse to temporarily pay spousal or child support as well.
There are two types of domestic violence protective orders in North Carolina: an ex parte order, which is a temporary protective order, and a final domestic violence protective order, which is also known as a restraining order. Our attorneys can help you to understand what actions may warrant a domestic violence protective order, how to file a petition for a domestic violence protective order, and advise you in regards to other legal actions that you may consider taking (i.e. filing for divorce, etc.).
Contact Our Charlotte, North Carolina Family Law Lawyers Today
Dealing with family law matters on your own can be complicated, time consuming, emotional, and confusing. With many aspects of the law to consider, and with many things that can go wrong, having a legal professional on your side is the best way to ensure that your family law issue is resolved in your favor.
The family law lawyers at Remington & Dixon, PLLC, will answer all of your toughest legal questions. If you are not sure how your family law matter should proceed, we can advise you on everything that you need to know. From helping you to file the right documents with the court to advocating on your behalf during a family law hearing, we promise to be by your side.
If you are ready to discuss your family law matter in more depth, please do not hesitate to call us. Our skilled Charlotte family law lawyers are reachable today at 704-247-7110, or you may contact us online.