no fault divorce

If you are looking at a no-fault divorce, there are considerations you should be aware of regarding alimony, child support, and property divisions. North Carolina is a no-fault divorce state, which means that the spouse who files for the divorce doesn’t need to show a specific cause or that either spouse was at fault. However, just because there may not be blame as to the reason for the divorce, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the dissolution of marriage is amicable. Regardless of the type, emotions can run high in any divorce proceeding which may lead to stumbling when you don’t know how the process works. 

Many times people mistakenly believe that a no-fault divorce means the divorce process will be simple. This may or may not be the case. If the divorce is uncontested, it more than likely will be simple. But, a no-fault divorce can end up being contested if the two parties don’t agree on the settlements. This is where things get more complicated and you should be aware of potential issues beforehand.

Even when there is no specific person or event to blame for the divorce, there are several considerations to be made when dividing assets and assigning support. These are still important to consider even when settling a no-fault divorce. The Doyle Law Group is experienced with all types of divorce and is available to help you.

Alimony

A no-fault divorce does not mean that you’re not given the opportunity for alimony. In fact, N.C. state alimony law allows that both post-separation support and alimony are available to financially dependent spouses without any requirement that the supporting spouse was at fault. 

However, if it can be proven that the dependent spouse engaged in “illicit sexual behavior,” and the supporting spouse did not commit a similar fault, then the dependent spouse loses his/her entitlement to alimony. The court may consider misconduct including infidelity in determining whether to award support and how much.

Once a spouse who earns less is determined as being “dependent,” the amount and duration of alimony payments are decided. Under N.C. law, the amount and duration of an alimony award is based upon a number of factors: 

  • the length of the marriage
  • the reasonable needs of the spouses
  • the ability of one spouse to pay alimony
  • the dependent spouse’s standard of living, the dependent spouse’s education background
  • any marital misconduct

Learn more about the top 15 factors affecting alimony and support.

Child Support

A no-fault divorce does not mean that you forego the opportunity to receive child support. The courts make a decision on child support just as they would in divorces that are based on fault.

In North Carolina, child support is calculated based on N.C. Child Support Guidelines. In most cases, lawyers and judges can calculate the proper amount of child support by using a worksheet. In general, the amount of child support is determined by using the incomes of the husband and wife and adding costs for medical insurance and child-care expenses. This is the same method used for any type of divorce.

Property Division

In North Carolina, when a divorce is no-fault, the state does not consider the actions of either spouse when dividing property during the divorce. In effect, the property is divided for all divorces in the same manner.

The court divides marital assets and property fairly (equitably). Equitable distribution may or may not be the same as “equal.” If the court decides that dividing the property equally is fair, then it is a division of 50/50. However, if an equal division is not fair, then the court has more work to do in valuing the assets as well as determining what is marital and what is separate property. 

Marital property includes:

  • Income by either spouse
  • House or rental properties acquired during the marriage
  • Furniture, appliances, cars, boats, artwork
  • Bank accounts, stocks, bonds
  • Mortgages and loans and other debts
  • Gifts from one spouse to another
  • Vested and nonvested pensions, retirement, and other deferred compensation and military pensions

For more information on marital assets, look at Top 7 Financial Considerations During Divorce.

Call Doyle Law Firm for Assistance with No-Fault Divorce

As you have seen in this article, even with a no-fault divorce there are aspects you may not have thought about which can affect your future. Our experienced Raleigh lawyers can help you think through alimony, child support, and property division and guide you through potential pitfalls that could result in a less-than-favorable settlement. Contact our Raleigh Divorce Law Firm or call us at (919) 301-8843 to schedule an appointment with an experienced family law attorney today.

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