Divorce in North Carolina is governed by statutes and laws and is the legal end to a marriage and the rights that a marriage provides. It is the culmination of the required time of separation in North Carolina and the meeting of the statutory requirements for filing, serving, and granting of divorce. It can also a huge step in life often likened in grieving to perhaps a death.
Divorce can be preceded and very often should be preceded by other legal events and filings dealing with the matters that are related to a marriage such as child custody, child support, post-separation support/ alimony and equitable distribution. These four areas are likewise governed by North Carolina law. We, at Triangle Divorce Lawyers, refer to those four listed matters as the four pillars of a marriage that may have to be dealt with during the unraveling of the union and family and before the ultimate divorce.
To unpack those a bit, child custody applies to a marriage if there are minor children or a minor child involved. As it relates to the child or children, the parents presumably know what is best for their children and should come to an agreement on the custodial arrangement for the child. This can and very often includes vacation and holiday schedules. We recommend a thorough review of custodial time and events to meet all the various needs of each family.
Child support is just that – financial support for the purposes of the child or children. All parents MUST provide support for their children. This facet of the case may be the most straightforward as there are some calculators that can be used to facilitate the amount of support required if applicable to the specific facts of the case. Again, it is governed by N.C. law.
Post-separation Support and Alimony refer to financial support of the party whom the law deems to be the dependent spouse. Of course, documentation is required to analyze need and ability to pay. Likewise, other factors like the standard of living and marital misconduct may impact alimony at the very least. Again, these supports measures are governed by the law. An alimony claim MUST be pending or completed before the divorce is granted.
Finally, the fourth pillar refers to equitable distribution. This is the division of all marital assets and debts acquired by and during the marriage, from the date of marriage to the date of separation. Generally speaking again, unless there is a reason to do so otherwise, this division should be as fair as possible or equitable as the name suggests. This matter MUST be pending or completed before the divorce is granted.
Of course, this overview is very general for the purposes of slight illumination in the multi-faceted and somewhat complicated matter of marital dissolution. A more detailed and in-depth analysis is required on a case by case basis to ensure all issues are handled and addressed. That is part of what we do at Triangle Divorce Lawyers and we are happy to do it for you and your family if you have the need.