Divorce in North Carolina

If you are considering separation or divorce, our Chapel Hill divorce attorneys are here to help you. The attorneys at Averett Family Law work with individuals in Pittsboro, Siler City, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Hillsborough and surrounding areas in Chatham and Orange Counties. The team at Averett Family Law includes a Certified NC Family Law Specialist. Call us today at (919) 903-9442 or email us for answers to your questions or to schedule an appointment.

DIVORCE IS A PROCESS

Ending a marriage normally begins with the decision to separate. The process includes making decisions involving:

These decisions can be easy or complex, depending on the parties involved and whether there are disputes that must be resolved.

The word “divorce” only applies to the actual dissolution of the marriage. Most of the details must be decided prior to the actual divorce decree being issued. In fact, if you are seeking alimony or property division, you have to file those claims before the divorce order is granted or you may lose your right to do so. The divorce attorneys at Averett Family Law are here to help you understand the divorce process and work with you to achieve a positive outcome.

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CAN I GET A DIVORCE IN NC?

Every state handles divorce differently. North Carolina law generally requires the parties be separated for at least one year before a divorce will be granted. In addition, at least one party must have been a legal resident in NC for at least six months. You do not need to prove fault and your spouse does not need to agree to the divorce.

There are sometimes questions about the date the separation began. This can arise if one party believes you have reconciled but the other does not. If you and your spouse have sex after the date of separation, this does not automatically delay the divorce. If there is disagreement about whether or not you have reconciled, you may wish to speak to a divorce lawyer.

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CHILD CUSTODY ISSUES

It is especially important to consider custody issues if you have children, understand your financial situation and whether spousal support will be paid (or received), and discuss division of property – both real property (any homes you own) and personal property (cars, furniture, artwork, jewelry, etc.). A family law attorney can help answer specific questions you might have.

The divorce attorneys at Averett Family Law are here to help you understand the divorce process and work with you to achieve a positive outcome.

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“I have worked with Melissa as opposing counsel on cases and know her generally as a member of our local family law bar. Melissa is an excellent attorney, and any client would be well-served by her representation. She is highly knowledgeable in all areas of family law, and she is a zealous and effective advocate for her clients.”

Brian Johnston, Family Attorney
Brian Johnston, Family Attorney

DO I NEED AN ATTORNEY TO GET DIVORCED IN NC?

You are not required to have a divorce attorney. If you and your spouse have resolved any potential disputes and you are confident you understand the implications, you may file for divorce in North Carolina without a lawyer. There are five basic steps, from filing a complaint and summons with the court to attending the final court hearing. For more detail, please see our article on Filing for Divorce without an Attorney.

WHEN SHOULD I HIRE A DIVORCE LAWYER?

You should consider hiring a divorce attorney before proceeding on your own if:

  • You have joint debts or joint property, even if it’s not titled in both names. Under NC law, if either of you bought items, increased the value of things you already owned or even earned retirement benefits during the marriage, your spouse may be able to claim half of the value. Likewise, debts incurred during the marriage, regardless of whose name it’s in, may be a marital debt for which both of you are responsible.
  • You own your home or property of significant value, like a vacation property or a boat.
  • You have debts that were incurred during the marriage, or your spouse does.
  • The car you drive is titled in your spouse’s name, or your name is on the car your spouse drives.
  • You have children together.
  • You want support from your spouse, such as child support or alimony.
  • You don’t have an address for your spouse.
  • You are not sure whether you have been separated for a year.
  • Your immigration status would be affected.
  • You are afraid about how your spouse will react or there has been violence in your marriage.

An attorney can tell you how getting a divorce may affect other rights you have as a married person, such inheritance, health insurance eligibility, and tax status.

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Averett Family Law is Here to Help

Going through the process of divorce can be very stressful. Our divorce attorneys will work with you to help you through the process, answer your family law questions and ensure your rights are protected.

If you have questions or are ready to move forward with your divorce, please contact our office to schedule an appointment.

When I was referred to Melissa and her staff, I was trying to get a grip on a very unstable situation with separation and custody. I was feeling stuck, helpless and scared until I landed in Melissa’s office. From our first meeting, Melissa “got it” and knew how to handle things knowledgeably, efficiently, safely and professionally. She helped me understand the legal system, helped me get some direction and understand my rights. She slowly but surely helped me regain a sense of confidence and control in my life and in my situation. I have told her this many times but she has honestly changed the direction and course of my life with her extensive knowledge and endless support. I felt I was a helpless person in a helpless situation and she gave me a voice.
I felt she has always worked out of the best interest of my children and myself. She responds to crisis situations very quickly, calmly and professionally. She is tough, responsive and she really knows her stuff and I am so glad I landed in her office three years ago. Thank you.

Linda
A safe and knowledgeable place to land