Divorce and Child Custody

Robert and Marie represent clients at every stage of divorce, property distribution and child custody cases.  If you are considering divorce or have recently separated, it is important to have a consultation to discuss your circumstance and your rights prior to separation to best protect your interests at the end of a marriage. Some common issues that are encountered are:

Separation

In North Carolina, separation begins when one party to the marriage leaves the marital residence with the intent to remain separate and apart.

Absolute Divorce

Absolute Divorce is the dissolution of marriage after 366 days of separation. A claim for Absolute Divorce does not include any claims for relief for property distribution or spousal support.

Equitable Distribution

Equitable distribution is the division of assets and liabilities that are obtained during the marriage. You may begin the distribution process as soon as you are separated.

Spousal Support

Post-separation support payments are made by a supporting spouse to a dependent spouse after the date separation. Alimony payments are similar, but are made after the date of divorce. Knowing whether you owe spousal support, or have a right to receive spousal support is a subtle issue, determined on a case by case basis.

Child Custody

When co-parenting children in separate households, parents may work together to reach an agreement regarding a custodial schedule and parenting decisions for their children. However, if the parents are unable to work together, either parent may file a custody action to request that the Court determine a custodial schedule and/or other parenting decisions that are in the best interests of the children.

Child Support

The State of North Carolina has established Child Support Guidelines that serve as a formula in most cases to establish child support payments between parents. The formula takes into consideration the incomes of both parents, the custodial schedule, health insurance payments, child care payments and other extraordinary expenses. 

Domestic Violence

In relationships where one person has suffered physical or emotional abuse as a result of the actions of the other, the victim may have a right to seek a Domestic Violence Order of Protection. If you are in a violent relationship and feel unsafe, contact your local domestic violence agency or law enforcement agency. In Chatham County, please consider the following resources: Family Violence and Rape CrisisNorth Carolina Court System, Chatham County Sheriff's Department and North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Every family is unique and every case is unique. We have worked in high conflict cases, amicable divorces and everything in between. Contact us to schedule an appointment to discuss your specific circumstances. At our consultation we will work with you to determine the approach that fits your family's needs.

Adoption

Adoption is the formalization by law of the relationship of parent and child between two individuals. Our attorneys assist families in step-parent adoptions and completion of adoptions after families have received permanent custody of a minor child from the Department of Social Services.  

Guardianships

When an individual is not able to make decisions for themselves regarding their health, finances or personal affairs, a family member or close personal associate may to seek be appointed as their guardian.  Depending on the circumstances of the individual’s capacity, the Court may appoint a guardian to act as a “general guardian” to manage all of the financial affairs and the health and personal affairs of an incompetent individual (the “ward”) or may appoint a guardian as either a “guardian of the person” or a “guardian of the estate” to act in a more limited fashion on behalf of the ward.   A “guardian of the person” generally has the authority to make decisions related only to the health and personal affairs of the ward.  A “guardian of the estate” generally has the authority to make the financial decisions for the ward, including the right to sue or defend a claim at law, the right to enforce or enter into contract, and the right to buy, sell or otherwise manage assets on behalf of the ward. Our attorneys work with families to develop a plan to best address the family’s wishes and the individual’s needs in determination of incompetence and establishment of guardianships.