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.
If you are contemplating separation and divorce, and need to speak with an experienced family law attorney, contact Adkins Law. We are located in Huntersville NC, and serve the greater Charlotte NC area.
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.
Do I file for separation? No. Separation happens once husband and wife begin living separate and apart and at least one of them has the intent to remain separate and apart.
Do I need an Agreement or Court Order to be legally separated? No. You are legally separated once you begin living separate and apart and at least one spouse intends to remain that way.
Is it okay if we continue living in the same house? No. Living separate and apart means you must be living in separate residences.
In accordance with the federal Child Support Enforcement Act, each state has developed specific guidelines to calculate a range of child support to be paid, based on the parents’ respective incomes and expenses. Each state’s guidelines vary considerably, meaning that in virtually identical situations, the child support ordered in one state may be far more or less than that ordered in another state. Judges in some states are allowed a considerable amount of leeway in setting the actual amount, while other states have very strict guidelines that leave judges with very little leeway.
Regardless of the judge’s latitude, there are statewide guidelines put in place that specify factors that must be considered in determining who pays how much child support. These factors include:
When one parent does not work
When income is received on an irregular, non-recurring, or one-time basis, the court may average or prorate the income over a specified period of time or require an obligor to pay as child support a percentage of his or her non-recurring income that is equivalent to the percentage of his or her recurring income paid for child support.
Potential or Imputed Income: If the court finds that a parent’s voluntary unemployment or underemployment is the result of the parent’s bad faith or deliberate suppression of income, child support may be calculated based on the parent’s potential income. If a parent has no recent work history or vocational training, potential income should not be less than the minimum hourly wage for a forty hour work week.
Third party consideration
Guidelines do not apply to child support orders against stepparents or other persons or agencies who are secondarily liable for child support. They may, however, be a small factor to consider in offsetting some expenses that a parent would have otherwise been responsible for.
Maxed out guidelines
There are cases in which the parents’ combined adjusted gross income is more than 300,000 a year. When income exceeds this threshold, the normal child support schedule is maxed out. Inn cases that involve very high incomes, the courts will need to set the award on their own. When setting this award, the court must ensure that the amount of the award meets the reasonable needs of the child.
Most married taxpayers choose to file taxes jointly due to certain benefits associated with this filing status. When a couple chooses to file a joint tax return, both taxpayers are jointly and severally liable for the tax and any additions to tax, interest, or penalties that arise from joint return, even if the couple later separates or divorces. Both joint and several liability means that each taxpayer is legally responsible for the total liability. Therefore, both spouses on a married filling jointly return are usually held liable for all the tax that is due. This is the case even if one spouse made all the income or claimed deductions or credits. This is also the case in the event that a divorce decree states that a former spouse will be responsible for any amounts due on previously filed joint returns. A situation may occur however, where a spouse gets the other spouse into a substantial amount of debt. Upon separation or divorce the innocent spouse discovers that they are in a financial crisis and wishes to alleviate some of the accumulated debt. In cases such as these, a spouse can be eligible for relief from being jointly and severally liable.
Types of Relief
There are three types of relief from the joint and severally liability of a joint return. These three types are as listed:
It’s important to note that an individual seeking innocent spouse relief or separation of liability relief must request their relief no later than two years after the date the IRS first attempted to collect tax from them. An individual wishing to apply for equitable relief, must request relief during the period of the time the IRS can collect the tax from them. In the event that a person is looking for a refund of tax that they paid, then they are required to request it within the statue period for seeking a refund. This is generally three years after the date the return is filed or two years following the payment of tax, whichever is later. Refunds are not available under separation of liability relief.
Requirements for Relief
To seek innocent spouse relief, separation of liability relief, or equitable relief, an individual should submit to the IRS a completed form 8857. Request for Innocent Spouse Relief, or a written statement containing information required on Form 8857 which is signed under penalties of perjury. The IRS is required to notify the spouse you filed jointly with and allow him or her to provide information for consideration. Finally, in order to qualify for innocent spouse relief, separation of liability relief, and equitable relief an individual must meet all of the qualifications.
- Innocent Spouse Relief
- Separation of Liability Relief
- Equitable Relief
Commonality of Modifying Alimony
After a court grants alimony (either temporary or permanent), it may later be modified by the court or terminated completely depending on the circumstance. There must be a substantial change in circumstances in order for court to modify an existing agreement. Courts have wide discretion in how they define situations that constitute a substantial change in circumstances to warrant a change in alimony. It is not common for a court to modify an existing alimony award. North Carolina submits to the partnership theory of marriage, where both partners have an equal obligation to provide financial support to each other during marriage. This theory extends to post-separation spousal support.
Spousal Support: Payor and Recipient
During the process of modifying alimony agreements, an individual is either the payor or the recipient of spousal support. These roles are determined objectively depending on which partner was financially superior in the marriage. The payor is typically the partner who will be giving money to the recipient or dependent partner. The amount of spousal support depends specific factors, such factors include: the duration of the marriage, the role of each spouse, and the age of the partners.
Modification of Spousal Support
Either party has the ability to initiate modification of an award. The party who moves for a modification of alimony has the responsibility of showing a substantial change in circumstances that warrant change in spousal support. Typically, the party will either move for either upward modification or downward modification.