A brief overview
We help residents of Concord, NC, Kannapolis, NC and the Cabarrus County area with divorce.
Although North Carolina’s “no-fault” divorce statute allows a North Carolina resident to file an action for divorce after one year of continuous separation from his or her spouse, an experienced divorce attorney will advise you that there is quite a bit of “business” to be attended to before the divorce judgment is entered. Most importantly, claims for equitable distribution and alimony must have been filed (or settled in an enforceable separation and property settlement agreement) before the divorce judgment is signed, or those claims will be lost.
When I meet with a client who hands me a copy of the divorce judgment he or she obtained by filing as a “pro se” party, and then hear that they wish to receive a share of their former spouse’s retirement plan; that they want to receive their share of the value of spouse’s real estate; or that they are interested in pursuing a claim for spousal support, they are quite disappointed (and surprised) that their claims have been lost.
The failure to file these claims prior to the entry of a divorce judgment is a serious mistake.
While the client may save about $700.00 (more or less) by filing his or her own divorce case, the value of the lost claims for equitable distribution of the marital property or alimony will turn those savings into a substantial net loss.
Before filing for divorce, you should always consult with an experienced divorce attorney to become informed of the process and to fully understand the legal consequences of the divorce.
If there are no claims for equitable distribution or alimony to be lost and if the time and effort required to file the divorce “pro se” does not off-set the monetary savings, then filing your own divorce, without the assistance of an attorney may work for you. In any event, I strongly suggest that you consult with an experienced divorce attorney before filing your own divorce case.
With regard to the requirement of a continuous one year period of separation, there is quite a bit of misinformation out there. I regularly meet with clients who have “heard” that it’s okay to just say you have been living apart for a year, even if you have not. While that makes no sense at any level, it is clearly not true.
North Carolina requires a continuous period of separation for one year as the legal basis for divorce.
An objective standard is applied to determine whether or not the parties have truly been separated for one year. This is not a subjective standard, so it is not enough to have lived together in separate bedrooms or on separate levels of the same home.
If you are under the same roof you are not living “separate and apart” for purposes of obtaining a divorce, no matter how unhappy you may be.
Simply put, a divorce attorney will tell you that living unhappily in the same home does not equate to a separation for purposes of North Carolina’s divorce statute.
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“His advice regarding the law and how to negotiate with the opposing party was clear and effective, and Bill listened to my daughter’s desires and was understanding as to the direction she wanted to take things – and then provided his thoughts and suggestions. I would not hesitate to recommend Bill Rogers to anyone.”
“I have been very fortunate to have Bill Rogers as my attorney. Mr. Rogers is extremely professional, knowledgeable, assertive, and tactful. His staff was incredibly skilled and efficient. It made me feel comfortable and confident knowing that I was surrounded by friends. I am extremely grateful for all he has done for me.”
“During difficult and uncertain times, Bill navigated our family with confidence and concern. I feel that our family was a top concern for Bill; at every turn he considered all aspects and guided us appropriately. Bill’s professionalism and high moral conduct in court kept my family looking forward to the positive conclusion he provided.”
“I have known Bill Rogers for over 10 years and his ability to operate both strategically and tactically are the skills and qualities that first come to mind. He can efficiently handle multiple complex tasks and has proved to be an invaluable resource to me. He has represented me in both a divorce and in my business and has been able to overcome many challenges and obstacles to my satisfaction.”