Family law (sometimes called domestic law) is a broad generalized term that covers everything from legal separation agreements to child support and custody matters to divorce or annulment, alimony and equitable distribution of property. It can involve domestic torts such as alienation of affection or domestic violence assistance. No one expects to end up talking to a divorce attorney as their marriage dissolves and they experience contested matters over property, alimony or child support and custody. As people wait longer to get married, there has been a surge in prenuptial agreements providing for distribution of assets currently held and those to be acquired after the marriage as well. Brinkley Walser Stoner offers a full range of family law services to our clients.
A legal separation agreement is a document generally drafted by a divorce lawyer or family law attorney that provides for the terms of separation between a husband and wife as well as matters of alimony, if any, child support and custody, and division of the property owned by the parties either separately or jointly. It also provides for inheritance rights and rights to retirement assets in the future.
In North Carolina, you must be a resident for six months before you are eligible to seek an absolute divorce. During the required one year legal separation period, issues are normally resolved with the execution of a Separation Agreement which survives the divorce action. However sometimes this does not happen and it is important that you consult a divorce attorney before obtaining an absolute divorce to make sure that your rights with respect to property division, alimony or spousal support, and child custody or child support are protected. The complexities of issues arising because of filing a divorce action without preserving for resolution issues of alimony, property rights, child support or child custody can cause irreparable harm to one or both of the parties.
Custody and Child Support
Brinkley Walser Stoner believes that it is always in the best interests of children impacted by divorce to have the parents come to a mutually acceptable agreement or understanding concerning custody, visitation rights and child support. While a Court, when entering a custody order, must take into account what is in the best interests of the minor children, a custody and support agreement goes a long way with the Court in determining custody. By the same token when the parents cannot agree, then it is crucial that a parent have strong legal representation through his or her divorce lawyer to protect his or her interests and the interests of the children at any court hearing.
A prenuptial agreement or pre-marital agreement is a contract entered into by two adults intent upon marriage who wish to resolve all issues of ownership of real and personal property owned prior to the marriage, and additional property which may be acquired after the marriage. The issues of alimony or handling of retirement benefits for either party can also be set out if the marriage eventually dissolves. In today’s world, with more and more people waiting to marry, there is a strong likelihood that they have individually acquired assets or professional advancement that will enhance the marriage but would present a significant risk of loss on someone if the marriage does not survive. A clear and concise prenuptial agreement will protect all parties.
Learn more about family law in this recent Family Law & Divorce FAQ or contact our offices to schedule an appointment.