North Carolina & South Carolina Divorce Attorneys
Helping NC & SC Residents With Divorce Services
Divorce is a major decision that affects nearly every aspect of your life. Many people avoid divorce out of fear, hoping their problems will go away over time. But when marital problems can no longer be swept under the rug and you’re forced to confront them, you need a compassionate and understanding divorce lawyer by your side.
Working with a competent divorce lawyer from Collins Family & Elder Law Group is one of the best ways to ensure that your divorce goes as smoothly as possible. We pride ourselves on helping your family achieve the most favorable divorce outcomes and protecting your legal rights along the way.
If you find yourself in need of a divorce attorney in North Carolina or South Carolina, call Collins Family & Elder Law Group at (704) 289-3250. We can make sure your case is handled by a skilled divorce lawyer who can protect your family’s present and future interests.
Things to Know Before Filing for Divorce
How to File for Separation in North & South Carolina
Before a couple decides to end their marriage, they will usually separate temporarily to decide if their next step will be reconciliation or divorce.
In North Carolina and South Carolina, you do not need a written document to be considered legally separated. In fact, separation is nonexistent in South Carolina, and North Carolina merely requires that you live in separate places and that one of you considers the separation to be permanent. If you want to draft a separation agreement that outlines how property will be divided and how much alimony will be paid, you’ll need a divorce attorney to prepare and tailor it to meet the unique needs of your family.
In North Carolina, a couple must be separated physically for a minimum of one year and a day before they can file for an absolute divorce. Those who have a separation agreement in place will be able to proceed swiftly, having already hammered out the conditions of the separation.
Why Is It So Important to Have a Divorce Lawyer?
While obtaining a divorce may be straightforward, the process is not simple by any means. Permanently ending a marital relationship can not only be emotionally trying, but some legal rights and responsibilities frequently complicate the situation. A single misstep in the divorce process can cause long-term legal consequences. However, an attorney who is well-versed in the legalities of the divorce process can ensure smooth proceedings and can honor and accommodate the needs of all family members involved.
With Collins Family & Elder Law Group, you can get the help you need to understand the process and to ensure your rights are protected. We know that divorce isn’t easy for anyone, but we strive to provide you with legal guidance that makes the process more bearable and understandable.
Is It Better to Settle a Divorce Through Mediation?
Many amicable divorces can be resolved outside of the courtroom. In the case of an uncontested divorce or mediation, spouses can reach their own agreements regarding spousal support, child custody, and/or property division. If this is the case for you, it might be beneficial to try mediation before anything else. Even if you run into some sort of disagreement in the process, a mediator can help you avoid going to court.
Instead of defaulting to the expensive and frustrating divorce litigation process, our divorce attorneys in NC and SC can assist you through collaborative divorce mediation and save your family a significant amount of time, energy, and money.
Is an Uncontested Divorce in North Carolina or South Carolina Right for You?
Pursuing an uncontested divorce is a great way to proceed if you and your partner do not have children or high-value joint property. An uncontested divorce can lower associated costs and expedite the divorce process, which means you can get on with your life sooner than you would if you took your case to court.
On the other hand, an uncontested divorce would not be the right route for spouses who disagree over spousal support or have children and differing requests over property division. In either case, our divorce attorneys in NC and SC can help you decide the best option for your family.
Military Divorce in North & South Carolina
When a military servicemember (or two military servicemembers) seeks a divorce, there are certain legal considerations to take into account. In North Carolina and South Carolina, the legal processes and requirements for military divorces are similar in some respects, but there are also notable differences.
Some of the key factors involved in military divorces in North and South Carolina include:
- Jurisdictional Issues: In both states, one or both spouses must meet the residency requirements to file for divorce. However, military members may have additional options due to their service status. For example, they may be able to claim residency based on their home state or the state where they are stationed.
- Property Division: Both North Carolina and South Carolina follow equitable distribution principles for property division. This means that marital property is divided fairly, although not necessarily equally. This extends to military pensions, which are typically considered marital property subject to division.
- Child Support and Alimony: Both states have guidelines for calculating child support based on factors such as income and custody arrangements. Military members' pay and benefits, including housing and allowances, may be included in the calculations. When it comes to alimony, both states consider factors such as the length of the marriage, the earning capacity of each spouse, and the standard of living during the marriage.
- Military Benefits Distribution: The Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act (USFSPA) provides guidelines for the division of military benefits in divorce cases. Both North Carolina and South Carolina recognize the USFSPA. However, there may be variations in how these benefits are distributed, including healthcare coverage and survivor benefits.
It's important to note that each case is unique; it’s important that you consult with a legal professional who focuses on military divorce. At Collins Family & Elder Law Group, we can provide tailored guidance based on your individual circumstances and the specific laws in North Carolina or South Carolina.
Move Forward in Life with a Divorce Lawyer in North or South Carolina
Your divorce attorney will be your guide through the process and will provide you with the best possible legal representation. You can depend on a divorce attorney from Collins Family & Elder Law Group in NC or SC from our first meeting to the finalization of your divorce. We will be there to answer your legal questions and to ensure your rights are protected.
Additionally, we can give your family sound advice on:
- Child Custody: As you face a child custody dispute, we can help protect your family’s best interests. We pursue peaceful solutions that are right for your unique circumstances.
- Child Support: Child support agreements must be fair for both the child and the parents, but they often result in bitter disputes. We can help you reach the best possible solution and enforce or modify it later on.
- Collaborative Divorce: Divorce can be extremely hard and emotionally trying for a family. Besides the emotion and the stress, a family is left to deal with the financial hardship of a lawsuit. That is why Collins Family & Elder Law Group was created. We strive to provide an effective legal solution for you and your family that can help ease the stress and alleviate the financial burden of a lengthy civil litigation matter.
- Divorce Mediation: Mediation is also known as alternative dispute resolution and is often used to help resolve legal disputes in an amicable and mutually agreeable manner. Because mediation can be used to minimize the risk of causing friction or animosity between parties, mediation can be especially beneficial in family matters that involve very emotional and sensitive decisions. Whenever possible, we strive to resolve family legal disputes in an amicable, cost-effective way that benefits all parties involved.
- Legal Separation: Many couples choose to enter into a separation agreement rather than head straight for a divorce. Explore the difference and whether it may be a good option for your family.
- Property and Debt Division: You may be able to avoid losing your valuable assets and accruing debt that isn’t yours. Understand the important factors to consider when dividing marital property.
- Spousal Support: If you need financial assistance because of a divorce, you may be entitled to spousal support. We can help secure a level of payment that works for you and your family.
Why Choose Our Divorce Lawyers in North & South Carolina?
Your family has a unique dynamic and deserves a customized legal strategy. With our team of experienced divorce attorneys and mediators by your side, we can help you determine when and how to file a divorce to yield the best resolution for your family. We advocate for our clients’ rights so that they can reap the benefits of a properly handled divorce matter well into the future.
Why Choose Collins Family & Elder Law Group?
- We have the expertise of a Board-Certified Family Law Specialist at the firm
- We have proudly served North Carolina and South Carolina for more than 20 years
- We pursue peaceful solutions with two licensed mediators on our team
- We are zealous advocates if litigating the case in the courtroom if required
- We are known for creative, client-centered services
How does the divorce process work in the Carolinas?
The divorce process in both North and South Carolina can be fairly straightforward, or it may be highly complicated, depending on your circumstances. The first step is determining what type of divorce you would like to file for, i.e., contested or uncontested divorce, fault or no-fault divorce, etc. You will also need to make sure that you meet the applicable residency requirements to file for divorce in your state.
In North Carolina, you must be legally separated from your spouse for at least one year prior to filing for divorce. However, no such requirement exists in South Carolina. That being said, having a separation agreement in place can make the divorce process much simpler.
Once you have determined that you meet the requirements, you can initiate your divorce by submitting an official complaint and summons. These documents outline the grounds on which you wish to divorce your spouse, as well as how you would like shared assets to be divided (if applicable). The complaint may also include your desires regarding child custody, child support, and other relevant factors.
Once you have filed your complaint and summons, your spouse will be served with a copy of these documents. They will then have a designated amount of time to respond and file a Complaint and Counterclaim.
Typically, you will only need to attend a single divorce hearing. However, extraneous circumstances may require additional hearings, and, in some cases, there is no hearing required. This could be the case if you and your spouse agree to mediation or a collaborative divorce.
To learn more about the divorce process in North or South Carolina, along with how our experienced divorce attorneys at Collins Family Law Group can help, contact our firm today.
What are the grounds for divorce in North Carolina and South Carolina?
Both North and South Carolina recognize “no-fault” and “fault” divorces. This means that, while there are certain fault-based grounds for divorce in both states, you do not need to prove fault to have grounds for divorce.
In North Carolina, you must meet the applicable residency requirements and you and your spouse must live apart (i.e., be separated) for at least one year before filing for divorce. You may also have grounds for divorce in North Carolina if you and your spouse have lived apart for three or more consecutive years due to incurable insanity.
In South Carolina, you must also meet the applicable residency requirements to file for divorce. However, you do not have to be legally separated to file for divorce, and you may file for divorce without citing fault. The state also recognizes fault-based divorces; grounds for a fault-based divorce in South Carolina include adultery, desertion, physical cruelty, and habitual drunkenness or drug use.
What are the residency requirements for filing for divorce in the Carolinas?
In North Carolina, either you or your spouse must have lived in the state for no less than six months immediately before filing for divorce. In South Carolina, either you or your spouse must have lived in the state for no less than one year before filing for divorce. If both spouses are currently residents of South Carolina, the rules are more straightforward. Under this condition, the plaintiff is only required to reside in the state for three (3) months before filing a Complaint for divorce.