When you first consider getting a divorce, you will experience a wide range of emotions. Knowing that your marriage may end is a difficult realization frequently accompanied by many questions and concerns. You’re aware that divorce laws differ from state to state, so it’s critical to understand your legal options in North Carolina.
To help answer some of the questions you may have, our divorce lawyers from Speaks Law Firm, PC, Family Law Division, have compiled a list of some of the most frequently asked questions we receive from clients.
Will I Be Eligible for Spousal Support?
Either spouse is eligible for spousal support if they meet one of two criteria:
- They cannot meet their own reasonable financial needs without the other spouse's income or assets.
- The other spouse has the ability to pay for the spousal support.
During your period of separation, spousal support can be either temporary or permanent. For example, suppose your spouse was the primary income earner in your shared household, and you require retraining or additional education before reentering the workforce. In that case, post-separation support may help bridge the gap until you complete your education and can find employment.
Since many factors determine spousal support, you should consult with your divorce attorney as early in the process as possible.
How Much Will My Divorce Cost?
Because every marriage is different, every divorce will also be different. As a result, the cost of a divorce cannot be predicted in advance; instead, it will typically depend on the number of issues involved, their complexity, and how cooperative the parties are. Divorce costs are frequently significantly reduced when partners cooperate to solve their problems.
Before starting the process, it's essential to speak with an attorney you're thinking about hiring to learn more about their fee schedule and billing procedures. Even though it's unlikely that you'll be able to predict the exact cost of your divorce, a skilled and knowledgeable lawyer should be able to give you a general idea of anticipated costs so that you can budget for them.
What if My Spouse Won’t Sign the Divorce Papers?
A spouse's refusal to sign the divorce papers will not prevent the divorce from proceeding. Divorces are granted in North Carolina if the couple has been separated and living apart for at least one year and at least one spouse has resided in North Carolina six months before filing. Once these conditions are met, either spouse can initiate the divorce by filing a complaint.
Will I Be Able to Change My Last Name at the Time of My Divorce?
Yes. The most straightforward way to change your name after a divorce is to include it in the divorce complaint. A spouse may request a name change as part of the divorce complaint, which the judge may grant when the divorce is finalized. A spouse may petition the court in the divorce complaint or counterclaim to adopt any last name permitted by law. The court is authorized to incorporate an order authorizing the person to adopt that last name in the divorce decree.
How Long Does the Divorce Process Take?
From the date of filing the divorce complaint to signing by a judge to finalize the divorce, it typically takes 45-90 days to get a divorce in North Carolina.
After serving your spouse, they have 30 days to file an Answer if they want to respond to the divorce complaint. You can request a court date if your spouse has not filed an Answer or if they answer that they agree with the date of separation.
Your divorce could only take about a month, depending on your court date and if there are no complications in the proceedings. However, it could take longer if there aren’t any available court dates or your spouse argues a different date of separation.
Do I Need to Hire an Attorney, or Can I Represent Myself?
It might seem tempting to use online DIY forms to save money in a divorce instead of hiring an attorney. Self-represented parties frequently discover that they have overlooked a crucial step in the divorce process and end up paying more than they would have paid if they had hired a competent lawyer. While there are practical ways to cut costs during the divorce process, choosing to do without an attorney is typically not one of them.
Speaks Law Firm: We Speak for You in Wilmington, North Carolina and surrounding areas.
Before searching for a “lawyer for divorce near me,” call the experienced family law team at Speaks Law Firm. We will be your advocate who speaks for you, standing by your side during this difficult time to assist you in moving forward with your family's future. At Speaks Law Firm, PC, Family Law Division, we defend our clients against bullies—in this case, uncooperative spouses. In a collaborative approach, our divorce lawyers will walk you through every step of the divorce process and can assist you with any aspect of divorce and family law.
When you need a divorce lawyer in Wilmington, Burgaw, and Bolivia North Carolina, and surrounding areas.
Speaks Law Firm, PC Family Law Division
300 N. 3rd St. Suite 310
Wilmington, NC 28401