No one ever plans to divorce, but as we all know, it’s a reality many people face When this happens, many people find themselves unsure about how to handle the situation.
It’s a big change and challenge in your life and our divorce attorneys are here to help you. Take a few minutes to review this helpful guide to divorce in North Carolina to you survive the challenges ahead.
Surviving Divorce in North Carolina
Basic Tips and Techniques For Getting Through Divorce
- Stay, if you can. If you can safely stay, do not leave the marital home until you have consulted with a family law attorney. In most cases, they will advise to negotiate an agreement before you separate, but that is very dependent upon your circumstances. The key is obtaining sound legal advice before making a decision.
- Plan your short-term finances. Make sure you have a enough money and credit to survive for several months without assistance from your spouse. Do not count on any joint credit cards or credit accounts remaining open after separation. If necessary, approach any family members or friends who are willing to help. As a last resort, withdraw funds from a line of credit or take a credit card advance.
- Understand what bills need to be paid short-term. Don’t assume your former spouse will take care of shared bills like the mortgage and utilities. Ensure that these bills are taken care of in the short-term. Neglecting them can cause more trouble in the future and may even ruin your credit. If you need assistance making a plan, consult a family law attorney.
- Separate your finances and communication. If you have joint account(s) with your spouse, open a separate bank account and credit card for yourself. If you get paid via direct deposit, redirect your paycheck. You should not withdraw from household expenses and bills, just separate your finances as a first step. You should also open new, private email addresses and a P.O. box for your mail.
- Prepare for leaner financial times. If your spouse is the primary breadwinner, prepare to be cut off financially, even if you think that’s unlikely. If you are the breadwinner, prepare for potential additional expenses. Depending on the circumstances, you may suddenly be responsible for supporting, at least in part, two households. Regardless of alimony, certain bills still need to be paid. Always remember that it typically takes 2-3 months (minimum) to get into court for a post-separation support (like alimony) and/or child support hearing to force a spouse to pay. A claim to divide marital debt before trial in the form of a Motion for Interim Distribution can be scheduled, but it will also take a few months before it can be heard by the Court. The KEY is to have a financial game plan ahead of time.
- Know the financial dos and don’ts. If you’re the breadwinner, or you make more than your spouse, don’t just cut them off. It could wind up resulting in arrears and large attorney fee awards (you having to pay the dependent spouse’s attorney’s fees). If you are dependent on your spouse’s income and they make most of the money, do not start spending extravagantly. Your spouse will not be responsible for supporting a false standard of living.
- Copy available financial documents. Make copies of the financial records you have access to. Pay special attention to retirement statements, financial accounts, loan documentation, and tax returns from previous years.
- Think things through. Think and plan your next moves in advance. If you are planning to move out, consider the following:
– Where will you live?
– How much will it cost?
– Is there a waiting list?
– How soon could you move in?
– What would you do in the meantime?
– Will there be room for your children?
It can be tempting to rent a one or two bedroom apartment at first as a temporary measure just to get somewhere else. A two-bedroom apartment is fine, if you have enough room for your children. If not, it may be used against you when negotiating custodial terms.
- Practical decisions. If you are moving out, consider the practicality of your new home, not just the cost. Ask yourself the following questions:
– What is proximity to your child(rens) school/daycare?
– Does your work schedule allow time to ensure everyone gets to school/work on time?
– Can everyone be picked up on time?
– Will you need before or after school care? Have you added that in to your projected expenses?
- Ensure you will have representation, too. Have you budgeted for attorney fees? These fees vary wildly, but it’s important to allot a portion of your budget for attorney fees. Even if you plan on reaching an agreement with your spouse, you should always budget for a contention plan. Doing so will force you to compromise where perhaps you shouldn’t or go unrepresented in an extended negotiation, mediation, or litigation. If your spouse is the breadwinner, work hard to arrange access to funds from other sources in the short-term. Consult with local divorce attorneys and get estimates for representation for simple negotiating and protracted litigation so you can prepare for any outcome.
- No handshake deals. Do not accept a verbal agreement. They unenforceable and will not be recognized in court.
- Do not leave the children at home without a plan. Do not leave your children in the marital home a formalized agreement for shared custody (emergency or safety concerns are an exception). You can be accused of abandoning them and it can be hard to force visitation at that point, requiring you to wait months for a court hearing.
- Obtain real legal advice. Consult with your local divorce attorney to set reasonable goals and make sure you have a plan to achieve them.
- Understand what’s at stake and be smart. Creating a new life takes time, planning, and guidance from experienced divorce professionals. Do not try to figure it all out on your own. We recommend doing research, but allowing an experienced divorce attorney to guide your decisions. Your entire financial future and the custody of your children are at stake.
Let the Attorneys at The Doyle Law Group Guide You Through Your Divorce
Divorce is difficult and stressful for everyone involved. Making spur-of-the-moment decisions can haunt you for years. Avoid these decisions with the proper legal representation.
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