Moving Forward With Your Life: Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce

Facing the end of a marriage can be difficult. With emotions running high and significant life changes looming, you may find yourself with more questions than answers. Fortunately, an experienced divorce attorney can offer you a guiding hand.

At Charlotte-based Kennedy Law Associates, we see our role as not only providing legal advice but also helping our clients through the divorce process. What follows are some commonly asked questions:

What is the first step in getting a divorce?

Every situation is unique, but once you have exhausted all of your options for saving your marriage, it is time to consult an attorney. A divorce lawyer will be able to advise you of your options as well as prepare you for what to expect in the process. There are certain steps that, if taken timely and thoughtfully, can help you avoid additional costs and stress. An attorney with a financial planning background can help to ensure that you take the proper steps to protect your marital assets.

Do we really need to live apart for a year before we can divorce?

North Carolina does require that you and your spouse live separately for one year before you are eligible to file for a divorce. This means that you must live in separate residences — sleeping in different bedrooms does not qualify. Filing for divorce prior to one full year of separation can result in a dismissal and a waste of time and money.

What if one of us does not want a divorce?

If one spouse is committed to going through with a divorce and the two of you are living apart, there is not much the other can do to prevent it. He or she can choose to object to or try to delay the divorce judgement — which may make the proceedings more time-consuming and costlier — but ultimately, a divorce can still take place if the moving party follows through.

Will I still receive alimony if my actions caused my divorce?

While a spouse is generally entitled to alimony if he or she is financially dependent on the income of the marriage's higher earner to support his or her lifestyle, North Carolina weighs several factors before awarding — or denying — spousal support. The courts will consider acts that are deemed to be marital misconduct, such as adultery. In some cases, adultery can be a factor to alimony, but how such misconduct was dealt with during the marriage matters as well as other misconducts by either spouse. Discussing your particular circumstances with an experienced lawyer can be invaluable to properly assess these situations.

What if my spouse and I own and operate a business?

Dissolving or restructuring a family business as a result of a divorce can complicate the division of marital assets and liabilities during negotiations or at a trial. Once a business has been established partially or wholly as marital property your spouse's interest in such asset must be valuated. To do so may require a business valuation. If you plan to continue running the business together, then other documents may be needed to address such ongoing co-ownership interests.

Isn't every answer on the internet?

Google will pull up answers to nearly every imaginable question. While a Google search may appear to provide helpful answers, look closely; the guidance might not be North Carolina-specific. And it is usually difficult to find a tailored answer that accounts for your unique situation. An experienced lawyer will be able to interpret the law on a more individualized basis.

Kennedy Law Associates Can Guide You Through The Divorce Process

Divorce is often a complex process. Experienced legal counsel is not only helpful, but imperative to help protect your rights and avoid costly mistakes. For an in-depth consultation to address your questions about separation or divorce, call 704-512-0619. You can also contact us online.