The actual process of divorce in North Carolina refers to the dissolution of the marriage license with the State of North Carolina. This process is typically separate and apart from resolution of the issues of child custody, child support, property distribution and spousal support.
The process of divorce can begin one year plus one day after actual physical separation of the parties. At that time, the divorce Complaint can be filed and served on the other spouse. The process of acquiring a Divorce Judgment takes about 45 days thereafter. Once the divorce judgment is signed by the Court, the parties are officially divorced, whether or not the other family law issues are resolved at that time or still pending.
Be aware: There are issues which parties must raise or resolve prior to the Divorce Judgment being signed by the Court. Generally, this involves questions of equitable distribution (property division) or spousal support (post-separation support and alimony). Please contact Hampson Family Law for a consult on these issues to ensure that you do not lose any legal rights upon filing of a Divorce Complaint.
Child custody is often the most difficult part of a family separation and divorce. Making decisions and choices which are in the best interest of the children can be stressful and overwhelming when parents are at odds. At Hampson Family Law we are focused on assisting our clients with these decisions and helping them navigate the path toward ensuring their children are a first priority.
Many parents choose to mediate their child custody issues in an effort to save their family the time, expense and emotional turmoil that often accompanies litigation. Mediation is a process by which the parents work with a neutral mediator to try and resolve their disputes. You can read more about this process here .
Should the parties desire, or should it be necessary, to litigate the issue of child custody, the court will first require the parties to attend a Court-Ordered Custody Mediation session which is free. If the parties cannot reach an agreement, then a court hearing can be set and a Judge will decide the custody schedule for the children.
Hampson Family Law has extensive experience with child custody matters. Kristin Hampson regularly represents her clients in mediation of these issues, as well as advocating for them in contested litigation of child custody cases on a regular basis. Please contact Hampson Family Law for a consultation regarding any child custody issues you might have.
All parents in North Carolina are required to support their minor children. A custodial parent is entitled to receive child support until such time as a child is 18 and graduates high school; however, certain exceptions apply including children with special needs.
In North Carolina, child support is determined by utilizing the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines, which can be reviewed here .
Parents receive consideration for payment of health insurance premiums, work-related childcare, and extraordinary expenses. Additionally, parents whose combined income is greater than $25,000 are considered outside the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines and thus the worksheets are not used in their case. In high income cases, the Court will calculate the child support obligation based on the children’s actual expenses, the parties’ incomes and actual expenses, and the reasonable needs of the children.
Hampson Family Law has the experience and knowledge to represent you with regard to your child support case. Whether in negotiation, mediation, or litigation, Kristin Hampson will advocate and represent you in all aspects of your child support case. Please contact Hampson Family Law for a consultation regarding any child support issues you might have.
Property Distribution (AKA, Equitable Distribution)
When parties separate and move toward divorce, it is necessary that they divide any marital and divisible property and debt. This can include their marital home, bank accounts, retirement accounts, home furnishings, mortgages, loans, or credit card debts.
The presumption in North Carolina is that the marital estate is divided equally between the parties; however, in specific situations, the Court can allow for an unequal distribution of marital property to one party.
Often it is necessary to consult with professionals regarding a client’s specific situation, including valuation of a business, valuation of real property, or tax consequences which may result from the distribution of the marital assets. Hampson Family Law regularly works together with such professionals to best advise clients regarding all aspects of their equitable distribution case.
Hampson Family Law has significant experience in negotiation, settlement and litigation of property distribution cases. Kristin Hampson advises and advocates for clients in resolution of their complex equitable distribution cases. Please contact Hampson Family Law for a consultation regarding how we can help resolve your equitable distribution case.
Alimony & Post-Separation Support
Alimony is financial support awarded to one spouse who needs income after separation and/or divorce. Post-separation support is a temporary amount of financial support that is often awarded until such time as a full alimony award can be determined.
In North Carolina, the dependent spouse in a marriage is entitled to receive alimony from a supporting spouse unless certain fault is found to have occurred by the dependent spouse. Dependency in North Carolina is generally determined by the earnings of the parties during the marriage. Additionally, North Carolina Statutes address if a spouse may be subject to making or receiving alimony payments; however, there is no calculation for how much alimony may be awarded or for how long it may be ordered to be paid. Therefore, each spouse would present evidence regarding their income, expenses, and any fault they allege to have been committed by the other spouse during the marriage. From this evidence, the Court has the discretion to order alimony in an amount and for a duration it deems appropriate.
Many spouses will negotiate or mediate the issue of alimony so as to avoid litigation and presentation of evidence in an alimony trial. This is often a more cost effective and efficient manner of resolving alimony issues between parties.
Hampson Family Law represents both dependent and supporting spouses in alimony actions. Please contact Hampson Family Law for a consultation regarding how we can help resolve your equitable distribution case.
Domestic violence is a very serious issue not only for victims, but also for the accused. These matters need to be taken seriously by all persons involved and Hampson Family Law can represent you to achieve the necessary result. Whether defending against a Domestic Violence Complaint, or filing an action to protect yourself against your aggressor, Hampson Family Law is here to listen, advise you and advocate for you and your family.
Prenuptial Agreements are contracts signed by persons before they get married. They can set out the to-be spouses understanding of what assets will be marital and what assets will remain their separate property during the marriage. Prenuptial Agreements can also waive the to-be spouses rights to alimony in the event there is a future separation or divorce.
Of course, no one wants to enter into marriage and think of possible separation; however, it is often necessary to protect your business, retirement or family estate during the marriage. In this instance, parties can both protect themselves with a Prenuptial Agreement which will set out the expectations and protections of their estate from the equitable distribution laws in North Carolina. Upon marriage, most income or other assets earned during the marriage are part of the marital estate which can be subject to division by the Court upon separation or divorce. This is not always the intention and often parties agree that they want to exclude some or all of the income earned and/or property acquired after the date of marriage so that it remains the separate property of the party who earned or acquired it.
In this case, a Prenuptial Agreement can be very helpful. Hampson Family Law regularly represents a party in drafting, negotiating and finalizing Prenuptial Agreements to ensure that both past and future assets, income and debts are protected. Please contact Hampson Family Law for a consultation.