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Family Law FAQs

Answers from Our Charlotte Family Law Attorney

Family law issues can be some of the most emotionally taxing legal problems. With the potential for years of consequences down the road, it is important that you build a strong case that helps protect your interests—no matter how things change later in your life. Below you can find answers to some family law questions we often hear at Smith Horton Law. If you want to know more about proceeding with your case, call us and schedule a consultation to get the help you need.

Get started on your consultation with our Charlotte family law attorney by dialing (704) 734-9797 or contacting Smith Horton Law online.

What should I expect during divorce proceedings?

By the time you and your spouse consider divorce, it is important to determine how well both of you can work together on a mutually agreeable solution. When couples can work toward agreements, we often suggest a collaborative approach. This involves the two parties negotiating the terms of their divorce outside a courtroom and with their lawyers present. Any issues that cannot be resolved here can be handled in court later.

If your divorce goes to court, you will first submit the necessary paperwork to get started. North Carolina is a “no-fault” state, meaning that divorce can occur without assigning blame as to who made the marriage fail. If there are disputes, you will need to provide evidence and testimony as to why your spouse’s character should be questioned. This may be helpful in cases of substance abuse or abusive behavior toward family members. Smith Horton Law can help you plan for these matters.

Any evidence you submit will be available to your spouse’s legal team as well, so it is crucial that you only offer what is pertinent to your interests. During trial, you will make opening statements and closing arguments. The judge will write an order governing matters such as child custody, child support, alimony, and property division.

Can I move out of state and still retain custody?

While the short answer is yes, most family court judges will do whatever they can to avoid having children taken from their home environment whenever possible. If you and your child need to move away, you must first submit a petition for relocation that clearly details exactly where you want to move and when. Your ex has a given period of time to argue the move, and if they do, you will need to return to court. If your ex refuses to let you leave, you will need to demonstrate that it needs to happen for the interests of the child.

Reasons could include demonstrating that your ex:

  • Has substance abuse issues
  • Acts abusively or negligently toward your child
  • Is extremely religious
  • Is unwilling to work with you to best help your child

Our team at Smith Horton Law can help you identify the strategies that will best help you obtain the outcome you want.

I need protection from an abusive spouse. What should I do?

Not only is domestic violence terrifying, it is illegal, meaning you have legal recourse to protect yourself against it. North Carolina makes it possible to file restraining orders that order dangerous people to stay away from you or face arrest. While these orders are not automatically permanent, you can work with a Charlotte family law attorney to order the right protections for your needs. The important thing is to feel safe. Smith Horton Law can help.

Am I eligible for alimony?

Depending on the circumstances of your marriage, you may be eligible for spousal support following a divorce. Your family court judge will look over factors such as the length of your marriage, your age, and your ability to earn income when determining whether your ex will need to provide you with support. There are also different kinds of payments to accommodate different situations. Get help from a Charlotte family law attorney for more information.

Is a prenuptial agreement a recipe for failure?

No! Many people view prenuptial agreements as an omen that casts doubt on a relationship’s strength. This could not be further from the truth. In fact, many couples who draft marital agreements before marrying open up discussions they might otherwise avoid out of discomfort. Issues like finances, personal property, and other touchy issues can become a strength for you and your loved one if the details are out in the open.

If you and your spouse reach a point where keeping property separate is no longer a priority, you can always destroy your prenuptial agreement and continue on like any other married couple. Speak with Smith Horton Law about the advantages to a prenuptial agreement.

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