Beyond simply contemplating and envisioning life as it would be after a divorce, some couples who are having ongoing difficulties in their marriage consider separating on a trial basis to actually try it out and experience that reality for themselves. A trial separation is a decision made by couples to take some time apart prior to making the decision to divorce. We would note that importantly, this is different from a legal separation, which is a decision made after a couple has definitively decided to divorce.
Often, it is difficult for some to envision what life might be like after a divorce, and a trial separation is a way to briefly experience that reality prior to definitively making a determination as to whether or not divorce is the best choice. Some couples may also see it as a helpful way to have some space from one another to reduce the intensity of the conflict between them while they work with a counselor in an attempt to decide whether to remain married or pursue a divorce.
While trial separations are a nice idea in theory, we would note that in the majority of situations, couples do not get back together after separating. This may be because one person in the couple feels such a relief in their stress levels after separating that they don’t want to return to difficult emotional circumstances. In other cases, couples who are already facing challenges in improving their relationship may find that they face even more challenges in doing so when they are apart. After separating, couples may only see each other at counseling, and it is difficult to apply the skills and advice from counseling sessions when you are living apart.
Occasionally, some attorneys will suggest that a client who wants a divorce suggest a “trial separation” to the spouse that does not want the divorce as a way of making it easier to ultimately move forward with the divorce process. While this may ultimately be effective in some circumstances, we believe and advise our clients that honesty is best. Being deceitful at the outset of the divorce process sets a bad precedent, and can hurt your credibility for future negotiations with your spouse on important issues that matter.
For those couples who do decide that going forward with a trial separation is best, and if both spouses agree, it can be a wise decision to put into writing the terms of your separation. Consider matters like:
While putting your plans into writing is certainly not required for a legal separation, doing so can nevertheless be helpful in avoiding any issues that may potentially arise.
If you would like to discuss separation and divorce with a family law attorney, please contact Adkins Law to arrange a consultation.
For many, when contemplating divorce, it is only natural to focus on the emotions you may be feeling, particularly if you have been having difficulty in your marriage for some time. While this is understandable, it’s also important not to focus entirely on your emotions during this time. It’s also important to really think through the practical ways that life might change after a divorce. For many, this means making a thorough, honest assessment of your family’s financial situation.
A simple truth in today’s society is that many middle-class families spend as much, or in some cases, even a little more than they earn each month. Living paycheck to paycheck is a reality for a large portion of our population – and if you find yourself in that situation, you are certainly not alone. Divorce can have a significant effect on a family’s financial situation, as when a couple divorces, their expenses understandably increase. Beyond the cost of the divorce process itself, it is important to consider the fact that during separation and after divorce, instead of maintaining one household, the family is now maintaining two. Two mortgages, two sets of utility bills, two sets of property insurance bills- all of these things add up quickly – and though expenses have increased, the salary of each spouse often remains the same.
While this doesn’t necessarily mean that divorce is the wrong choice for your family, it is certainly worth considering all of its implications. It may mean downsizing to a smaller home, reducing costly leisure activities, or that a stay-at-home spouse returns to work in order to make ends meet. Prior to deciding upon divorce, thinking these matters through is important. If you find yourself genuinely contemplating divorce, it is important to try your best to be financially savvy about the choices you make leading up to, and throughout the divorce process. Some of those steps can include:
Tracking your expenses, obtaining important financial documentation, and understanding your overall financial picture will be helpful in anticipating future expenses as you think of moving from one household to two. It could also serve as a helpful way for your attorney, and potentially a judge, to decide how best to divide assets and debts your divorce case, as well as to make important determinations on matters like alimony and child support, among others.
It should also be noted that the financial aspects of the divorce process can be among the most stressful and the most contentious. Unfortunately, it is not unheard of for one spouse, out of anger or a desire for revenge to try to hurt or control the other financially. Even though it may seem highly unlikely to you that your spouse might ever behave in these ways, it is important to keep in mind that divorce can cause people to act in very uncharacteristic ways. Some spouses try to restrict the other spouse’s access to funds, empty bank accounts, or make expensive purchases that they would not otherwise make in an attempt to harm the other spouse. As a result, it is important to be prepared for this possibility, and to make sure that you have adequate access to funds prior to and throughout the divorce process, should you need them.
Even if you have not definitively made the decision to proceed with divorce, it would still be a wise step to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced divorce attorney regarding how divorce might affect your financial situation, and how you can adequately prepare financially prior to beginning the process. If you suspect that your spouse may hide or deplete marital assets or otherwise try to control you from a financial perspective, it is important to also mention this to your attorney if you have one.
Your attorney should be able to help advise you as to measures you can take to protect yourself financially during this time. Some people also choose to consult with a certified divorce financial analyst. These professionals specialize in reviewing a couple’s finances during the divorce process. A qualified analyst can help you to gain a more realistic picture of your expenses and your budget, in addition to planning for what your financial future might look like.
If you would like to speak with a family law attorney regarding separation and divorce, please contact Adkins Law to arrange a consultation.
It’s a simple truth that divorce is one of the biggest life decisions that one can make. While we are here to help families through divorce, and while divorce absolutely is the best decision for some families, we also believe that it is not a decision to be taken lightly. Those who are contemplating divorce should take the time to do exactly that – truly contemplate it. Explore your emotions, think through your feelings, and envision your future as it might be post-divorce. Carefully assess the implications of your decision, and make sure you have made the efforts you feel that you should make to save your marriage. Doing so ultimately provides far more peace of mind than making a spontaneous decision, regardless of which path you choose. In that spirit, we offer some guidance on what to contemplate when you’re contemplating divorce.
If you have reached a place in your marriage and your life where you are seriously contemplating divorce, chances are high that you are likely under some amount of emotional stress. This is understandable. The decision to get married is one of the most momentous decisions in life, and the decision to divorce, almost equally so. During this time, be patient with yourself. Don’t rush into any hasty decisions, and be kind and compassionate with yourself, and with your spouse. Take all the time that you need to really think through your decisions. Take a long, hard look at your marriage – not only its difficulties, but its positive attributes as well. Look toward the future, and really try to envision what it might be like after your marriage ends – financially, emotionally, and practically.
Stepping back from the stress of the moment and taking a thorough emotional inventory can be immensely helpful. It can be understandable, when you find yourself in an unhappy place in your marriage to assume that you have only two choices – stay unhappy, or obtain a divorce. In fact, however, there are viable alternatives. A simple truth is that while divorce may remove some stresses, it does create others. There may be added financial stressors, conflicts over child custody, and other difficulties that arise during and after the divorce process that are worth thoroughly considering. After doing so, some people decide that despite feelings of disappointment or anger, their marriage is worth saving. Only you and your spouse can ultimately make that determination, but it is very important to thoroughly think through your feelings before doing so.
If you are contemplating divorce, it can also be helpful to truly take the necessary time to envision your future and what it might be like without your spouse. Certainly, divorce will have many effects, not only for you and for your spouse personally, but also on your lifestyle, and certainly for your children. Major life changes can be difficult for all of us, but this is often especially the case for children. Think through what this change might mean for everyone – from an emotional and a practical perspective. How might it change your day-to-day routines? How might it affect where you live, and where your children go to school? Will you be able to remain in the marital home, or will you need to downsize? What might this mean from a practical perspective for your children and their day-to-day activities? Do you have a strong support network of friends, or family that might be able to help you when needed? While these considerations should certainly not serve as the sole basis for any decision you make, they are certainly important to think about as you’re trying to look objectively at the whole picture.
Having an objective realistic long-term view of what might be best in your particular situation can be difficult when you are in the midst of emotional turmoil and feel particularly sad or angry. For this reason, it is vital to take the time that you need to truly contemplate divorce and what it means, as well as your marriage, and whether or not you believe it can be saved. Don’t hesitate to seek counseling, or assistance from supportive family and friends as you work through your feelings and think through what you need and want for your future. Doing so is worth your time, and likely to result in a feeling of greater peace about whatever decision you ultimately make.
Why Marriage Counseling?
Some marriage counseling statistics indicate that only 10% of couples seek marriage counseling prior to making the decision to divorce. We believe that this number should be much, much higher. Marriage counseling is often extremely helpful to couples who want to find healthy ways to work through their issues and difficulties in a safe space. Sometimes, even when we have the best of intentions toward resolving a problem or issue in an amicable way, our emotions can get the best of us, and it can be difficult to remain objective. A marriage counselor often provides couples with a place to safely address the problems they are facing with the help of an objective third party who can listen and, ideally, offer practical advice and potential solutions.
Certainly, most of us realize that counseling is not some sort of easy, magical solution to all of our problems, and the reality is that not every couple who goes to counseling will ultimately save their marriage. Nevertheless, there are still a number of good reasons to give counseling a fair try. These include:
For these reasons and many others, marriage counseling can be immensely helpful for those contemplating divorce. Choosing the right therapist to guide you through that process is, therefore, very important.
How to Choose a Marital Therapist
It goes without saying that making the decision as to whether or not you will ultimately seek a divorce is one of the most important decisions you will make. Understandably, then, if you have decided to pursue marriage counseling prior to making that decision, you want to find a marriage therapist who is well-qualified and a good fit to help you work through your feelings. How can you go about doing this? A few helpful guidelines for making this important decision include the following:
In addition to taking these important steps, getting a head-start at looking through lists of qualified therapists online can also be helpful. The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) is the most well-known professional association for marriage therapists. Membership requires a minimum of a master’s degree, as well as specific graduate training in marriage and family therapy under the supervision of qualified and experienced therapists. Those who are looking for a credentialed therapist can look on the AAMFT website (https://www.aamft.org), as well as asking friends, family members, or their attorney for recommendations of qualified professionals in their area.
While all of these steps are important in selecting a therapist that is a good fit for your needs, looking at practical information is important too. Don’t hesitate to ask potential therapists about their fees, what insurance they accept, and the average length of therapy. Knowing these facts is also important to making an informed decision.
In the end, it is most important to trust your instincts when choosing a counselor. Choose someone with whom you feel that you and your spouse can openly share your thoughts and feelings, and to whom you can speak honestly and frankly. Additionally, make a commitment to give therapy a fair effort. Many couples who commit to going to therapy for a specific number of sessions often have more success than those who do not. It is also important to commit to fully focusing on your marriage during this time. Don’t begin new relationships, or make other decisions that may cause added stress to your marriage. Be fully present, and fully involved. If you are making the investment in counseling, commit to doing the necessary work to making your investment count.
If are considering divorce and need to speak to a family law attorney to understand your rights and options, please contact Adkins Law PLLC.
A premarital agreement, also known as a prenuptial agreement or prenup, is a written contract created by a (sometimes engaged) couple before they are set to be married. The contract typically outlines all of the property owned by each person; this can include cars, stock accounts, bank accounts, etc.. All items are specified in the written contract so that each person can determine what is to happen to that property, if the marriage were to ever end with divorce.
North Carolina has adopted the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (UPAA). The UPAA allows parties to contract with respect to:
1. Division of Property - the division of property during marriage and upon divorce.
2. Alimony - Alimony and the waiver of alimony. Waiver of alimony agreements will be upheld unless doing so will cause the disadvantaged spouse to be eligible for public assistance.
3. Child Support - Child support arrangements will be upheld as long as they provide for the reasonable needs of the child(ren).
There are some people that believe the rich and famous are the only ones to create prenups BUT this is not true. Prenups are merely used to protect the assets of each individual, avoid conflict in the event of divorce, avoid your significant others debts, as well as clarify finances with your significant other. Without a prenup the property is split as martial property in a divorce judgement.
If you are thinking about creating a prenup with you and your significant other we can help to draft the document for you. Keep in mind that an attorney is not needed to create a valid pre-marital agreement. Failing to hire a family law attorney may, however, affect whether the agreement is fair, valid, and enforceable.
Adkins Law is able to provide you with advice and assistance with the creation of a valid premarital agreement. Contact us to schedule a consultation with an experienced family law attorney.
Filing for an absolute divorce in Mecklenburg County requires the following:
1. At least one party must have lived in North Carolina for at least six months prior to filing for divorce.
2. The parties must have lived separate and apart for at least one year and one day prior to filing for the divorce.
3. The plaintiff (the person who is filing the lawsuit) must be able to prove that he or she served the defendant (the person who is getting sued). This is usually done by mail or sheriff.
Once I file for divorce, how long does it take?
Although it may be possible to process a divorce in a matter of days (if both parties agree to expedite and appear in person before a judge), once the plaintiff files for divorce, it takes anywhere from three to four months on average for the divorce to be finalized.
Do I have to go to court?
No, in an uncontested divorce in Mecklenburg County, neither party is required to go to court. You may select to appear in court to expedite the divorce process, or you may have your attorney handle the entire matter for you.
How much will this cost me?
Court costs for filing a divorce in Mecklenburg County are $225.00. There is also a $20.00 fee for the hearing to occur, $10.00 fee if you wish to resume your maiden name, and approximately $10.00 to $30.00 fee to serve the other party (if they do not wish to accept service).
If you need representation in filing a divorce in Mecklenburg County, contact Adkins Law. In most cases, we can get all required information over the phone, have you verify and sign the filing documents, and process the divorce without the necessity of you having to meet in person or go to court.
Mediation is when a neutral third party helps facilitate an agreement between the parties. The mediator does not make decisions. The parties make the decisions, but the mediator helps them along. You can do private mediation before or after a complaint has been filed. You can address custody, child support, alimony, and property issues in mediation. Mediation is generally less expensive and not as time-consuming as court. The parties control the outcome. The entire process can be settled in one day, and you can leave a private mediation with a binding settlement document. The process is civil and dignified. It can set the tone for how the parties deal with each other from that point forward. If the parties are able to resolve the issues incident to their separation at mediation, typically they work together and treat each other better in subsequent dealings with children or otherwise. You do not necessarily need a lawyer for mediation, but one can help guide you in making educated decisions. A non-lawyer mediator will not know the law, or be permitted in providing you with legal advice. Without adequate representation, you could lose or waive rights you did not know you had - or agree to something that may not be in your best interests.
You have to file a complaint (lawsuit) asking for a divorce. You cannot file a divorce complaint until after you and you spouse have been separated for one year. You have to serve your spouse with the complaint. Service is usually accomplished by certified mail or Sheriff. Then you will need a hearing in front of a judge. You may or may not have to be present at this hearing depending on what county you file in, and whether you are represented by an attorney. The judge has to enter a Judgment declaring you are divorced. You are not divorced until the judge signs a Judgment and the clerk file stamps it.
What are the grounds for divorce in North Carolina? There are only two grounds for divorce: (1) separation for one year, or (2) incurable insanity of one spouse and separation for three years. The vast majority of divorces are based on separation for one year. In order to get divorced, you must have been separated for one year and at least one spouse must have had the intent to remain separate and apart. In addition, one of you must have been a resident of North Carolina for at least six months. Fault is not necessary to obtain a divorce.