Family law cases often involve some of the most personal, emotional, and important aspects of your life. When people with ties to Onslow County face any kind of family law issue, they need to know that they have an experienced attorney on their side. Going through a divorce, child custody case, or any other family law matter is never easy, but having a good lawyer and their legal team on your side can be a real benefit as they help you understand the legal system and stand up for your side of the story.
Located in Jacksonville, North Carolina, at Welch and Avery,LLP our family law attorneys and staff have years of experience helping our clients navigate North Carolina domestic cases in and out of the courtroom, and we will be with you throughout the process.
Marriages, Annulments, Divorces, Post-Separation Support and Alimony
In a perfect world, all married couples would live together in harmony and, in the event they agree to part, go their separate ways without difficulty. Unfortunately we don’t live in a perfect world, and the dissolution of a marriage can be difficult, stressful, time-consuming, and expensive.
When you decide to separate from your spouse, get a divorce, or seek an annulment, you may want legal advice from experienced attorneys. North Carolina law prescribes what is required to legally end your marriage. Understanding your rights and obligations as you navigate these types of situations is helpful.
Among other things, North Carolina requires a married couple to live separate and apart for a year before then can file for an absolute divorce. A separation agreement is one tool that can be used to start the process of disentangling each individual from the marriage. Post-separation support payments from one spouse to the other can be agreed upon or imposed, covering the time from the initial separation until the divorce is finalized and alimony may begin.
Other than child custody, the division of marital assets and debts can be one of the most contentious aspects of a separation and divorce. Many times there is a marital home where one or both parties had been living. Other assets to be divided might include other real estate, cars, furniture and electronics, personal property, and even pets. In today’s economy most marriages also have debts such as mortgages, equity lines, car loans, student loans and credit card debts. Finally, there can be the issue of retirement benefits, military benefits and pensions.
A significant part of the process can involve identifying and separating out what is marital property subject to equitable distribution and what is the individual property of one spouse or the other. North Carolina law provides rules guiding how this determination is to be made.
The ultimate question of how marital property and debt is divided can be resolved either through negotiation and mediation or through litigation in a courtroom. Working with a qualified attorney can often smooth out this process by providing a buffer between the parties and helping to facilitate the negotiation process while at the same time protecting your rights and if necessary going to court to stand up for your side of the story.
Children and Family
Some of the most emotional and stressful legal cases are those involving the custody of minor children. We all aspire to be the best parent possible and to raise our children to be happy and successful. The idea that a North Carolina court could limit or take away your time with your children is a concern of many parents involved in a custody dispute.
North Carolina law generally requires that when couples with children separate they must go through a mediation process. The mediation process is designed to allow both parents to attempt to come to an agreement about child custody issues. If the parents cannot or will not come to an agreement, the decision then falls to a North Carolina District Court judge.
When your family law case involves a child, it’s a good idea to remember that putting your child’s needs ahead of your own is one of the best things you can do. By focusing on your child’s well being first, the custody and support issues you face may be easier to manage.
Not every child-related family law matter involves a custody battle; we also have extensive experience with other child-related matters. Whether you are a stepparent looking to adopt a stepchild, a prospective parent or relative hoping to bring a new family member into your home, or if you just have questions about the adoption process we can educate you about how the process works and provide guidance, assistance and representation as you move forward through the adoption proceedings.
We also offer assistance for those facing child support needs and obligations, including finances, insurance, after-school and extracurricular activities and medical needs. Our attorneys can offer experience and assistance establishing child support payments and enforcing support orders as well as with modifications, arrearages and purge payments.
It is an unfortunate fact that many people do not consider their estate plan until the last minute, if ever. Particularly if you have children (or plan on having children in the future) you really ought to sit down with a professional and consider what plan you would like to make to ensure that your loved ones are provided for.
Depending on the size of your family and the extent of your estate, drafting a will can be a relatively straightforward process. On the other end of the spectrum if you have a home, savings and investments, multiple children or perhaps a blended family with both biological and stepchildren your estate plan might be more complex.
At Welch and Avery, LLP we want to ensure not only that your wishes are set out properly so that they will be followed, but also that you have considered various eventualities and situations that might impact how you would want your affairs to be handled. We also offer powers of attorney, healthcare powers of attorney and other estate planning directives.
Seek Legal Advice and Guidance from Our Family Law Attorneys
In some situations, people facing family law issues are hesitant to pursue their legal rights. If you want to get a legal separation or divorce, are worried about child custody, or need legal advice about a family law issue of any kind, contact Welch and Avery, LLP and speak with one of our family law attorneys for assistance.