Whether your divorce is contentious, whether you have children, whether you have a lot of assets, whether just about anything... there is one common theme among divorce: it can be financially draining and emotionally exhausting. Under this type of stress and pressure, it can be easy to overlook an important consideration or compromise to something to your detriment just to "get it over with." An experienced divorce attorney will ensure nothing is missed, your rights and interests are protected, and the outcome is fair and just under the law.
Attorney Steven N. Long helps clients understand what is at stake with straightforward, yet compassionate advice. Some of the most common questions we are asked are answered here for you. We believe that informed clients make better decisions for themselves and their families. For more specific answers that relate to your unique situation, contact us online or at (252) 514-0062 to schedule a consultation.
How much will my divorce cost?
The cost of your divorce will depend on multiple factors, but mainly it depends on whether the divorce is contested. Quite naturally, an uncontested divorce will not cost as much simply because the process is much more straightforward. In an uncontested divorce, you may not even see the inside of a courtroom. In contested divorces, the costs depend on many factors. Some of these include:
- The extent of the acrimony between the spouses;
- The extent of any custody disputes;
- The amount of assets and debts, including any business interests; and
- Probably most importantly - the attorney you hire, not only the attorney fees but their legal competency and negotiating skills.
Giving a precise prediction of how much your divorce will cost is nearly impossible due to all the various factors that go into these type cases. Some matters can be handled for a "flat fee." Most matters will require a "retainer" and billing arrangement best suited for the specific circumstances of your case. You should always be provided with a written fee agreement by your attorney that clearly specifies what legal services are expected and how you will be charged for those services.
How is child custody and child support determined?
Child custody and visitation are determined on a case-by-case basis; however, they are always determined based on the "best interests of the child" standard. In general, courts want both parents to have strong relationships with their children, so long as that remains in the best interest of the children. Courts also recognize that both parents should be financially responsible for their children, but may have different income or earning capacities. Child support is generally determined by the application of the N.C. Child Support Guidelines which consider these and other factors under the law.
How is alimony determined?
Alimony, also referred to as spousal support or spousal maintenance, is also determined on a case-by-case basis. The first consideration is the determination whether a dependent and supporting spouse relationship exists between the parties. This is generally determined by examining the "standard of living" the parties maintained while together. Any support amount is then determined by looking at the present earning abilities and future earning opportunities of the spouses, as well as other factors under the law.
How is property divided in North Carolina?
Assets and debts are divided through a process called "equitable distribution." During this process, the assets and debts are categorized as "separate" or "marital"; are valued; and then an "equitable" distribution is determined based on specific factors of the case. A word of caution, while the presumption is a 50/50 split, sometimes "equitable" does not always mean "equal" under the equitable distribution laws.
If you are contemplating divorce or have been served with divorce papers, contact Attorney Steven N. Long by using the online contact form or call us at (252) 514-0062 to schedule a consultation.