Do You Need a High-Asset Divorce Lawyer in North Carolina?

Navigating a divorce can be a tense experience for any couple. However, if you and your spouse share assets that have a high monetary value, the process can be even more stressful. If this describes you, then you surely have many questions and concerns regarding your continued rights to property that has been under your control during your marriage. You have invested time, money, and energy into the things that matter to you, and the division of assets will clearly impact your estate. If you have children, whether young or grown, additional considerations also need to be addressed. A high-asset divorce lawyer is experienced in recognizing the interests of both spouses when dividing a wealthy couple’s assets.

High-asset divorces require a higher degree of attention and management than other divorce cases. A high-asset divorce occurs when at least one spouse has over $1 million in assets. Sometimes, one spouse has many more valuable assets than the other. There are also times when both spouses share the entirety of their wealth and need to split it fairly when they divorce.

Working with an attorney throughout the divorce process is essential to ensure that you protect your substantial wealth while seeking a fair division of the marital property.

How Does a Judge Determine Property Division in a High-Asset Divorce in North Carolina?

North Carolina follows an equitable distribution method for dividing property in divorce cases. This method allows a judge to divide property in a way that is fair to both spouses.

However, “fairness” can be subjective for couples with valuable assets. A judge will consider all of the following when determining how to split assets fairly:

  • Each spouse’s age and health
  • The length of the marriage
  • Each spouse's income and assets
  • Each spouse’s liabilities
  • The liquidity of the shared property
  • Each spouse’s contribution to the shared property

While the division may be unbalanced, the goal is to divide the assets fairly and justly. Speak with our high-asset-divorce legal team to schedule a case review.

Common Challenges That Arise in High-Asset Divorces in North Carolina

High-asset divorce cases can present several unique challenges, as compared to traditional divorces. Fairly dividing high-value assets between spouses can take time, and many other factors can further complicate this process.

Because high-asset divorce cases involve the division of many valuable items among the two parties, couples have a lot to lose if the process does not meet one or both parties’ subjective standards of fairness. Spouses also generally need to spend more effort locating the financial documents pertaining to their legal proceedings, and this sometimes requires the assistance of a forensic accountant.

When determining the division of assets, the judge needs to examine any prenuptial or postnuptial agreements the spouses have created. High-asset divorce cases become even more complex when they also must address child custody, child support, and alimony issues.

You should streamline and simplify a high-asset divorce by working with an experienced divorce attorney. Your attorney can help you navigate your case confidently and seek a fair outcome.

Who Can Qualify for Alimony in a North Carolina Divorce?

When one spouse makes significantly less money than the other spouse in a divorce case, the lower-earning spouse may qualify for alimony or spousal support. This benefit requires the high-earning spouse to make either a lump sum payment to the other spouse, or monthly payments for a designated period.

A judge will examine several factors to determine whether to award a spouse alimony in North Carolina. Of course, each case has different facts and issues to address. Relevant factors may include, among others:

  • Each spouse’s present and future financial needs
  • Each spouse’s ability to earn income
  • Each spouse’s education and work experience
  • Each spouse's present employment income
  • Any marital misconduct during the marriage or before separation
  • Ages and the mental and physical health of each spouse
  • The length of the marriage
  • Each spouse’s assets and liabilities
  • How alimony will affect taxation
  • Contributions by one spouse toward the other’s earning power, and vice-versa
  • Whether being a custodial parent has affected a spouse’s earning ability
  • Homemaking contributions of either spouse
  • The marital standard of living
  • The time it will take for the supported spouse to become self-supporting

If you would like to seek spousal support in your divorce case, working with a qualified high-asset divorce lawyer is essential. Your lawyer can help you make your claim in front of the judge and gather evidence to support your need for alimony.

The Implications of “No Fault” Divorce in North Carolina

North Carolina is a “no-fault” state for divorce. This means neither side needs to prove that the other was at fault for the divorce. Couples do not need to cite a reason for seeking a divorce.

However, the couple must first live separately for one year before proceeding with the divorce process. At least one spouse must have lived in North Carolina for at least six months before filing for divorce. Once one spouse has filed for divorce and the other spouse has been served, that spouse has 30 days to respond.

Your ability to agree on post-divorce terms (whether the divorce is uncontested or contested) will be an important factor affecting the complexity and duration of your divorce process. It is important to involve a lawyer early in the process. Your high-asset divorce attorney at Speaks Law Firm, PC, Family Law Division can help you prepare for and understand the qualifications and processes for divorce in North Carolina.

How Can a High-Asset Divorce Lawyer Assist You?

Working with high-net-worth divorce attorneys can benefit your divorce case in many ways. Your attorney can:

  • Guide you through each step of the divorce process
  • Communicate with your spouse, their lawyer, and the judge on your behalf
  • Advocate for you to the judge
  • Help you fight for a favorable division of property

At Speaks Law Firm, PC, Family Law Division, we have extensive experience helping divorcing couples navigate complex circumstances.

In your divorce case, who speaks for you? Contact our high-asset divorce lawyer team today to schedule a case review.

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Why Choose Speaks Law Firm, PC Family Law Division?

Passion – Our family law attorneys, Justin Moulin and Sarah Gray, are dedicated to helping clients with legal matters involving divorce and family issues in Wilmington, North Carolina. We put clients’ needs first, and we are passionate about helping people through emotionally difficult times.
Experience – When dealing with family legal issues, you need someone with a proven track record. Sarah Gray and Justin Moulin have dedicated their careers to representing families. Sarah has more than 10 years of experience representing clients, while Justin has worked in multiple counties in North Carolina and has focused on custody and child support actions, protective order hearings, alimony claims, property division, and divorce.
Case review – You can have peace of mind when you discuss your needs with us. We will review your circumstances and goals. In this discussion, we can create a plan for you and determine your challenges and opportunities. Fill out our online form to schedule a case evaluation.

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  • I was very pleased with the way that Speaks Family Law handled my case. They worked hard to get the most money that they could. Everyone at the firm was always polite and always answered all of my concerns. I would definitely recommend Speaks Family Law to anyone who needs representation. I always knew that they were there anytime I needed them. A big “Thank you!” goes out to all of the people who are involved with the firm.

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  • It was a very helpful experience and I am especially grateful for the way they answered my questions and helped me navigate what would have been a much more difficult situation. I felt that my interests were fought for and taken care of and would hightly recommend anyone who might go through this to be respresented by Speaks Law Firm, PC Family Law Division.

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What You Should Expect in Divorce Court in North Carolina

Wilmington Family Lawyers

Divorce hearings can be scary for anyone. They are even more intimidating if you are getting divorced for the first time. Are you wondering what to expect in divorce court? There is no specific answer. Every case is different and it may present unique challenges and experiences. However, having unclear or unrealistic expectations may lead to disappointments. Ask for help from Wilmington family lawyers. They will help you set your expectations right.

1. What should you expect when going through a divorce?

Divorce can be stressful for anyone. It does not matter how bad your marriage was. Remember that all divorce cases are different. Do not expect to have the same experiences that your friends did. Expect to experience a rollercoaster of emotions including:

  • Excitement
  • Guilt
  • Fear
  • Anger

2. What should you expect in court?

Divorce court is not as complicated as you may think. Working with your Wilmington family lawyers makes the process simpler. However, you should not expect to stand there while your lawyer does all the work.

You must work with them to get the settlement that matches your expectations. Do not let your fear or anger take over. You must remain calm even when your spouse is lying against you.

Do not expect to “win” in a divorce case. No one really wins in divorce court. Even when dealing with important matters such as alimony, custody, or division of property, you should keep your emotions in check. Note that you won’t always get everything you want.

3. Why should you hire Wilmington family lawyers?

Hiring a lawyer is a good idea even if you are going through a non-contested divorce. Divorce lawyers give you the legal advice you need to get through the difficult period. Like marriage, divorce is a legal process that should be treated professionally.

A divorce lawyer will protect your rights, interpret legal terms, speed up the process, help you initiate conversations with your spouse, and ensure fairness through the process. Hiring a lawyer should not be seen as an act of aggression.

4. How should you prepare kids for divorce?

Even when going through a divorce, you should remember that the children are not getting divorced. You should avoid saying rude or hurtful things to your spouse in their presence. Seek the help of a therapist.

They will help the children process their emotions and get through the process. You should also get co-parenting classes for their sake. The more you fight during a divorce, the more damaging the process can be.

Do not attempt to interfere with the relationship between your children and your spouse unless there is a history of abuse.

If you need the help of Wilmington family lawyers, seek help from Speaks Law Firm, PC Family Law Division. We understand that divorce can be a very personal and sensitive matter. You need the help of good lawyers through the process. We will treat you with respect and high levels of professionalism through the process. Contact us today and book an appointment.

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What Is Contempt Of Court In Family Law?

While a family court is a court within the civil court system (in contrast to the criminal court system), when a family court issues an order, the person named in the order is required under law to fulfill the obligations of the order. For example, if a court orders a person to pay child support and they fail to do so, they are in direct violation of a court order and can be penalized as such.

One such penalty for violating a family court order is being held in contempt of court. Don’t hesitate to reach out to our Wilmington family lawyers at the law office of the Speaks Law Firm, PC Family Law Division to learn more, and consider the following about what you should know about contempt of court in a family law case in North Carolina:

What Is Civil Contempt of Court?
If a party does not fulfill their family court order, the affected party can file a motion to hold the party in default in civil contempt of court. Such an order may be filed when a party fails to comply with a court order in regards to:

  • Child custody;
  • Child support;
  • Spousal maintenance/alimony;
  • Property division;
  • Any other family law matter.

The purpose of filing a civil contempt order is to force a delinquent party to comply with the order.

Punishment for Civil Contempt of Court

The purpose of holding someone in civil contempt of court is not necessarily to punish the defendant, but instead to ensure that they comply with the court order. While a person may be incarcerated for up to 90 days initially (and up to one year per North Carolina Statute Section 5A-21, typically, a judge will order payment of any unpaid benefits (child support, alimony, etc.) or garnishment of wages, or take action to require the defendant to comply with the original court order.

In some cases, a person who is in violation of a court order could be held in criminal contempt of court, although a person cannot be found in criminal contempt for the same conduct that landed them in civil contempt. If a person is found in criminal contempt, they may be ordered to pay a fine and may be subject to incarceration.

Filing a Contempt Motion

If your ex-spouse is in violation of a court order, you do not merely have to accept the default. Instead, you have the right to take steps to enforce the court order, including filing a contempt motion with the court and serving the defendant with the motion. In order to ensure that your motion of contempt is filed accurately, it is best to work with a qualified lawyer who has experience managing contempt of court cases. In addition to filing a contempt motion, an attorney can also help you to understand the other options you have for enforcing a court order.

Call Our Family Lawyers Today

To learn more about how our family lawyers at the office of Speaks Law Firm, PC Family Law Division can help, please call us today or send us a message. We know how emotional and complex family law matters can be, and want to provide you with the representation you deserve.

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What Forms Do I Need To File a Divorce in Wilmington, NC?

Filing for Divorce

Not only is filing for a divorce an emotionally demanding process, it is also a legally intensive one. To be sure, in order to file for a divorce, one will need to gather and fill out the appropriate forms, file the forms at the relevant location, ensure that their spouse is served the petition and summons, and then negotiate any issues in a divorce (or go to court to litigate the divorce).

At the office of the Speaks Law Firm, PC Family Law Division, our Wilmington family lawyers are able to help you navigate the divorce process, beginning with collecting and filing the proper divorce-related forms. Here’s an overview of what forms you’ll need to file for divorce in North Carolina:

What Forms Do I Need When Filing for a Divorce in North Carolina?

You can file for divorce in North Carolina without establishing a cause for divorce, other than separation of one year, if:

  • You are a resident of North Carolina (you or your spouse has lived in the state for at least six months); and
  • You and your spouse have lived separate and apart for at least one year.

The following forms can help you to seek an absolute divorce from your spouse, but cannot help you in terms of seeking an award for equitable property distribution, alimony/spousal support, child support, or child custody. The three documents that you will need in order to inform the court of your intent to divorce are:

  1. Complaint for absolute divorce;
  2. Domestic civil action cover sheet; and
  3. Civil summons.

Once you have filled out these three forms, you must file them with your local clerk’s office and pay the filing fee.

One this step has been completed, the next step is to officially and legally inform your spouse of your intent to divorce. This requires serving your spouse with the complaint and summons (which can be done by the sheriff).

Once your divorce is finalized, two other important forms are the judgment for absolute divorce and the certificate of absolute divorce.

What About Resolving Issues in the Divorce?

The documents listed above are for those who are pursuing a pro se divorce, which means that they are representing themself during the divorce process. If you are hoping to obtain a judgment from the court in regards to other issues in the divorce, such as equitable distribution or child custody, there are separate forms that you must file, such as a claim of equitable distribution of marital property, or alimony and post-separation support forms.

Call Our Wilmington Family Lawyers Today

Navigating the divorce process on your own isn’t recommended, as if you make a mistake during the process, the consequences could be serious. Instead, you should work with a qualified family law attorney, such as those found at the Speaks Law Firm, PC Family Law Division. You can reach our Wilmington family lawyers to schedule a consultation by calling our law office directly, or sending us a message telling us more about how we can be of assistance.

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