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Family Law Raleigh

family-lawWhen times are at their most difficult, you need a Family Law lawyer who will aggressively represent you in your time of need. Our Family Law attorneys provide contested and uncontested legal representation services for: divorce, separation, annulment, arbitration, child custody, visitation, child support, division of property assets, debts and more. While a separation agreement is the preferred way of handling your separation, it is not always feasible. If that is the case, you will want an experienced trial advocate in your corner ready to fight it out in court.

Mediation

Family law attorneys in Wake County are often more interested in posturing than resolving family law disputes. As a result, they often employ hard bargaining tactics which emphasize the differences in their positions rather than seeking a common ground for settlement. This technique often results in one of the parties filing a Complaint in court which commences litigation. The high cost and long delays associated with the Wake County Family Court System often make litigation an impractical method of resolving disputes. Parties increasingly find that they are spending more time and money to litigate than the cost to settle the matter. The increasing number of lawsuits filed each year is indicative of the unwillingness or inability of parties and their attorneys to effectively utilize negotiation to resolve disputes. It is not uncommon for the attorney’s fees, expert witness fees, jury fees, court reporter fees and other related costs to exceed the amount in dispute. However, there is a practicable alternative.

Collaborative Law

The word “law” in collaborative law is misleading. It would be more appropriate to use the word “approach” rather that the word “law.” Collaborative law refers to an approach or a process to resolving the legal issues that arise during the parties’ separation. The premise of collaborative law is to allow for a peaceable resolution through a process of joint participation versus the adversarial system of litigation that everyone expects. The most typical legal issues that are addressed through the collaborative law process are: post separation support, alimony, child custody & visitation, child support and the division of assets and debts.

Separation Agreements

separationWhen either of you have decided that “it’s over,” you need to consider entering into what is commonly known as a Separation Agreement or Property Settlement and Separation Agreement. A Separation Agreement is a contract in writing between husband and wife that is signed and notarized. It may resolve all issues relating to child custody, child support, division of property and debt, and alimony. In North Carolina, you must be living separate and apart for one year in order to be granted a legal divorce. During that one year waiting period, you want to protect yourself from the actions and inaction of your estranged spouse. The best advice I can give you is to ignore everything you hear from your friends, neighbors and co-workers and seek the advice of an attorney.

Uncontested or Absolute Divorces

This information is an overview of the uncontested divorce filing process in North Carolina and of the divorce papers that are typically filed in Family Court. This overview is not intended for those seeking information to file “pro se” or “to do it yourself or represent yourself.” Many cases are unique and this information should not be construed as legal advice. All persons seeking an uncontested divorce or that have been served papers for an uncontested divorce should immediately seek the advice of a licensed North Carolina attorney.

Distribution of Assets, Debts and Personal Property (Equitable Distribution)

In North Carolina the process of dividing the property and debts of a marriage is called Equitable Distribution. At any time after separation but before an absolute divorce, a husband and wife may file a claim for equitable distribution. Divorce bars your right to file a claim for equitable distribution unless you have a pending claim at the time of the divorce.

Child Custody & Visitation

girlParents have equal rights to the custody of their children born of the marriage. In most cases, parents come together and work out a suitable agreement outside of the Court system. However, when parents cannot agree on custody arrangements, the Court will make a decision concerning custody based on what is in the best interest and welfare of the child. Below are a few common questions and answers relating to child custody.

Child Support & Modifications

Parents can write out the provisions of child support in a Separation Agreement. If a parent believes he or she will have trouble receiving regular child support payments, it may be necessary to ask the Court to order payments. A claim for child support can be filed at any time while the child is a minor and is always modifiable. The amount of child support is typically reviewed every three years or upon a significant change in circumstances such as loss of employment or a temporary or permanent disability.

Alimony and Post Separation Support

Alimony is the payment for support and maintenance of a dependent spouse by a supporting spouse. Typically the dependent spouse, husband or wife, is in fact substantially dependent on the supporting spouse for their support.

Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements

A prenuptial agreement is a contract between two people about to wed that spells out what will be classified as marital property, how those assets and debts will be distributed in the event of divorce or death and typically whether or not post separation support or alimony will be paid by either party.

Domestic Violence, Stalking and Harassment

If you are a victim of domestic violence, you can take out a temporary Domestic Violence Protective Order. The alleged act of domestic violence does not need to be physical violence. The court will enter the Temporary Domestic Violence Protective Order if it is convinced that you have been abused (physically or mentally) or sufficiently threatened with abuse. The court will then set a date for a formal hearing within 10 days, at which time the alleged abuser is given an opportunity to defend himself. If you are successful, the court will order a one year order of protection. Additionally, the court can award a temporary custody and support order. If you are a victim and are unsure if you need an attorney at the 10 day hearing, please schedule a $99 consult and we will advise you based on your circumstances and our experience on how you should proceed.

Juvenile Delinquency

Prior to becoming an attorney, Brian worked with juveniles from 1990-1997 in a variety of settings. During his undergraduate study, Brian was an Intensive Surveillance Officer and Summer Program Director for the Mahoning County Juvenile Court. After graduation, Brian became employed at a private mental health hospital in a residential treatment center for juveniles. When Brian moved to Cleveland, Ohio, he was employed at a State Correctional Facility for Juveniles.

Abuse, Neglect & Dependency

Brian has been receiving appointments on the court appointed list in Abuse, Neglect, & Dependency cases since 2004. Brian is intimately familiar with Wake County Human Services, the Guardian Ad Litem’s Office, the North Carolina General Statutes on abuse, neglect and dependency and the termination of parental rights.

Self Help Clinic

Finding free legal services or advice from a lawyer in Raleigh, NC in the area of Family Law is nearly non-existent. What you can find is affordable legal services at The Law Corner. At The Law Corner, our family law lawyers strive to serve everyone who is experiencing a family struggle. To that end, we have created the Self Help Family Law Clinic, which is held every Friday from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm at 211 E. Six Forks Road, Suite 205, Raleigh, NC 27609. We help you with the document preparation and procedure and you represent yourself in court.

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