While divorce itself can be emotionally taxing and complicated, the process of divorce itself doesn’t have to be. If you understand the steps and timeline of your divorce, it can make the process a lot less stressful for you and your family.
It is essential to understand that a “divorce” is an independent action that only serves to end a marriage, while also severing rights to file claims for property division (equitable distribution) and spousal support (alimony) in North Carolina. A “divorce” is relatively easy to obtain after a one year separation. It’s the other issues that can be more difficult to resolve.
Legal Claims to Address Before Completing Your Divorce
Some legal claims that many separating Clients should address BEFORE divorce with the help of your Raleigh divorce lawyers are:
- Child support (claim can be brought after divorce), or the amount of income paid by each party in order to support the child’s needs, reasonable happiness, and comfort.
- Child custody (claim can be brought after divorce), which is awarded by the courts after considering the child’s welfare, best interests, safety, and happiness.
- Property division (or “Equitable Distribution – MUST BE FILED BEFORE DIVORCE), where the spouses will work with the courts to determine what is marital property, what marital assets are to be considered, and other factors like passive income and marital debt and then those assets, incomes, and debts will be divided between the spouses.
- Alimony (MUST BE FILED BEFORE DIVORCE), or spousal support for the dependent spouse, as determined by the court after consideration of significant aspects.
Your Divorce Timeline
First, any separated spouse interested in a divorce must make certain that they have either filed claims or otherwise contractually resolved (settled often by Separation Agreement and Property Settlement) the issues of Equitable Distribution (property division) and Alimony (spousal support) prior to the entry of a divorce judgment. If you obtain a “DIVORCE” without having either filed your legal claims or resolved these matters in a binding agreement then you will LOSE YOUR RIGHT TO EVER receive spousal support or obtain your share of the marital estate. This is one of the biggest mistakes an anxious separated spouse can make.
After living apart, the filing party will file a Complaint for Divorce and become the “Plaintiff” in the case while the other spouse will become the “Defendant.”
*Note that it is possible to file your claims for property division (Equitable Distribution) and Alimony in the same filing as your divorce complaint, but we do not recommend it.*
We advise our Clients to ensure that their claims for alimony and equitable distribution are properly filed and served PRIOR to filing a divorce complaint so that we may ensure that the claims are pending free from any procedural defects before we make a claim for divorce.
File Prior to Divorce to Assure Your Claim is Recognized
So long as your claims for alimony and equitable distribution have been property filed and served as of the date you file for your divorce, your claims will be protected and will survive the entry of the divorce judgment even if there is no actual ruling or result by that time. Other claims that are not as time sensitive such as child custody and child support are, as a matter of convenience often filed at the same time.
While that all may sound pretty straight forward, there may be obstacles in the way of each factor and decision. Depending on each party’s desire for compromise and flexibility, your divorce can take anywhere from a few short months to a few long years. Your lawyer can help you determine how long your divorce should take as well as help you navigate complications when they present themselves.
Factors That Speed Up Divorce vs. Those That Slow Proceedings
There are a variety of factors that set the tone and speed of divorce proceedings, some you can control, and some you can’t. However, it’s important to keep both in mind and realize that with the right mindset and the right lawyer, your divorce can move with great fluidity.
Some of the things that slow the divorce process include:
- Unwillingness to compromise
- Offers of compromise that are uneven or unfair
- Child custody positions that are not in the best interest of the child
- False allegations against the opposing party
- Inequitable division of assets or property
- One party’s desire for revenge, spite, or punishment of the other party
- Thinking about the short-term outcomes of decisions
However, it is possible to speed up the process as well. You can do so by:
- Planning a strategy and budget with your divorce lawyer
- Asking questions
- Making productivity a priority
- Set reasonable goals for yourself and for your Raleigh divorce lawyers
- Thinking logically and looking at the divorce objectively
- Making definitive choices when faced with them
- Thinking long-term when it comes to your divorce
Contact the Raleigh Divorce Lawyers at the Doyle Law Group for Your Divorce in NC.
Here at the Doyle Law Group, we understand how stressful and difficult the divorce process can be for our clients. That’s why it’s our goal to make that process run smoothly and as easily as possible while keeping your best interests and priorities at the forefront of the case.
To learn more about the divorce process and receive advice on your specific case, contact the Doyle Law Group today by calling (919) 301-8843 or completing the online form below.
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