Wake Forest Divorce Attorney

If you are the person contemplating divorce, then statistics may not matter much to you. What does matter is that you have an experienced, compassionate Wake Forest divorce attorney from Tolin & Tolin, PLLC by your side.

Since the 1990s there has been a downward trend in divorces, but there has also been a downward trend in marriages, with many people living together rather than getting married. Second and third marriages are more likely to end in divorce than first marriages, and more people file for divorce between January and March than at any other time of the year. (Experts believe the stress of the holidays pushes those who were on the fence about divorce right over it).

Divorce rates vary significantly from state to state; Nevada has one of the highest rates, while Illinois and Louisiana have the lowest divorce rates. The average length of a marriage in the United States is 8.2 years, but in the state of New York, that rate is 12.2 years, so again, the states vary widely. Those who marry before the age of 18 are statistically more likely to get divorced, although so-called “gray” divorces have risen dramatically over the past three decades, nearly tripling since 1990 for those over the age of 65.

The Tolin & Tolin, PLLC attorneys are responsive, compassionate advisors. We listen to you and your issues, telling you the truth even when it is something you may not want to hear. We are approachable, attentive, and offer highly personalized attention. Attorney Jay Tolin is well-respected in the industry, a leader by example, and always seeks to achieve the best results for his clients while creating the very best client experience. In family law, there are often no clear “winners.” Our goal at Tolin & Tolin, PLLC, is to get your life back on track, moving in a forward direction. While understanding this is an overwhelming time for you, we offer a highly client-centric practice.

North Carolina Divorce Requirements

To file for divorce in the state of North Carolina, at least one spouse must have lived in the state for six months prior to filing. North Carolina also requires that spouses must live apart from one another, in separate residences, for a year and a day, with at least one spouse intending that the separation will be permanent (i.e., will end in divorce). The year and a day calendar will reset should the spouses move back in with one another at any time.

The state of North Carolina recognizes two types of divorce. The first is an Absolute Divorce which ends with a Decree of Divorce and court orders addressing such things as spousal support, division of assets, child custody, and child support. The two grounds for an Absolute Divorce are either incurable insanity or separation for a year and a day (which is essentially like a no-fault divorce in other states). Incurable insanity must be proven by expert testimony from two physicians, as well as the couple living apart from one another for three years.

The second type of divorce in the state of North Carolina is known as Divorce from Bed and Board. This is somewhat like a legal separation—while it does not end your marriage, it does affect the rights of each spouse to marital assets. Only the “injured” spouse can request a Divorce from Bed and Board by showing the other spouse committed a marital “fault.” There are only six types of fault recognized in the state:

  • Cruel treatment that endangers the spouse’s life
  • Maliciously kicking a spouse out of the marital home
  • Abandoning the family
  • Adultery
  • Excessive drug or alcohol use
  • Other indignities that render a spouse’s condition “intolerable,” or the life “overly burdensome.”

The burden is on the other spouse to show the complaining spouse’s evidence is false. The accused spouse can claim collusion, connivance, condonation, or recrimination. Collusion is rarely used, as it means one spouse plotted with the other to fake marital fault evidence in order to obtain a divorce. Connivance means the accusing spouse set up the accused spouse, trapping him or her into committing acts they otherwise would not have committed.

The accused spouse can claim condonation, which means the accusing spouse knew of the fault and forgave the accused spouse, either explicitly or implicitly. If the accused spouse says the accusing spouse is equally guilty of marital misconduct, this is known as recrimination. An Absolute Divorce is generally simpler, other than the waiting period.

Alternatives to Divorce—Legal Separation and Mediation

While there is no actual legal separation in the state of North Carolina, simply establishing separate residences meets the requirement for living separately. Beyond this, both parties should have their attorneys draw up an agreement that governs financial issues as well as child issues while the two are separated.

Divorce mediation may be court-ordered, or the spouses may choose mediation as a means of cutting down on disagreements. A mediator is a neutral, third-party person whose job is to review and help resolve all issues related to the divorce. While a lawyer’s job is to protect your interests, a mediator has no loyalties to either party. The mediator simply facilitates negotiation, helping both parties reach workable compromises.

Is Your Divorce Contested or Uncontested?

If you and your spouse are in total agreement on every single issue related to your divorce, then your divorce is said to be uncontested. If you have disagreements regarding one issue—or every single issue—then your divorce is contested. Many divorces that begin as largely uncontested often become not only contested but hotly contested. If you and your spouse are unable to reach mutually acceptable agreements through your family law attorneys, the court will step in and make those decisions for you—and you may not like the decisions made by the judge, so it is to your advantage to try and work things out with your spouse.

How Long Does a Divorce Take in North Carolina?

Aside from the one-year separation period, once the divorce papers are served to your spouse, there is a 30-day waiting period before the divorce can be finalized, Generally speaking, however, it takes from 45-90 days to complete a divorce, assuming the divorce does not have many disagreements. Complex divorces or high net worth divorces can take many months or even years. Our compassionate and professional legal team understands the difficulty of these situations and the importance of resolving the divorce so you can start your new life. The family law attorneys at Tolin & Tolin, PLLC do everything we can to get all the issues negotiated and resolved as quickly as possible so you can move forward with your new life.

What is Involved in Getting a Divorce in North Carolina?

During the 12 month period of separation, our experienced family law attorneys at Tolin & Tolin, PLLC can begin to work with you to resolve other issues you may have related to your divorce. The issues related to getting a divorce are divided into five major categories: 1) the dissolution of the marriage, 2) division of property and debt that was acquired during the marriage, 3) custody and visitation arrangements for children, 4) child support obligations for parents, and 5) spousal support or alimony payments that one spouse will make to the other. The length of time that the resolutions of these issues in your case will take depends entirely on how quickly or if the parties are even able to reach an agreement. If the parties do reach an agreement, then the case can be resolved. If the parties disagree about all five issues and are unable to agree to them without going to court, the case will last a much longer time. The length of time the case will take depends on how much the parties disagree, whether the parties communicate efficiently, and the attorneys and judges that are involved in the case.

How Do You Start the Divorce Process in North Carolina?

If you meet the requirements for a divorce in the state of North Carolina, you may begin the process of filing for divorce by filing a Complaint with the county clerk in your county of residence. (Your attorney will likely do this for you). The Complaint states the facts of your divorce, as well as how you would like the marital assets divided, whether you are asking for spousal support, and how you would like child custody to be decided.

The sheriff’s office will serve your Complaint to your spouse, usually via personal delivery. You may not personally deliver the documents to your spouse as this is not considered a legal service. From this point, if your divorce is relatively uncontested, you can enter into mediation to wrap up the details. Sometimes the court will require mediation. If negotiation and mediation are unsuccessful, your case will go to trial, where a judge will decide on these issues.

How a Wake Forest Divorce Attorney from Tolin & Tolin, PLLC Can Help

Having an experienced Wake Forest divorce attorney from Tolin & Tolin, PLLC by your side from the beginning of your divorce to the end can help you feel secure, knowing you have a strong advocate in your corner. We never take the easy way out, rather take the time to present all your options, making our recommendations in a clear, understandable manner. We understand that a divorce is a loss and that your life is changing in very profound ways, and we are empathetic to your emotional loss. Contact Tolin & Tolin, PLLC today. Where Unwavering Commitment and Unparalleled Drive Meet Exceptional Client Experience.