Preparing for a Divorce in North Carolina

by | Nov 17, 2023 | Divorce

It’s hard to understand how difficult and stressful divorce can be until you’ve been through one yourself. Even for spouses who are able to maintain an amicable relationship after they’ve separated, the divorce process can be time consuming, emotionally draining, and complex. Divorce is a major life transition that will impact you and your family in significant ways. While the unknowns and uncertainties associated with divorce make the future impossible to predict, there are things you can do that will make a successful outcome more likely.

Divorce Isn’t Cheap. Start Saving.

While a simple, uncontested divorce doesn’t cost much money, most divorce cases aren’t that simple. But even if it is, you would be wise to hire a lawyer to ensure your interests are protected. At a minimum, you should consult with a family law attorney to learn about the rights, obligations, and liabilities associated with separation and divorce. As a divorce case gets bigger and more complex, it gets more expensive. How much money you will spend on a divorce depends on the unique facts and circumstances of your case. A qualified family law attorney will be able to analyze your case and identify what issues may require more time than others. Even where the facts and issues are relatively straightforward, a divorce can become expensive if the case involves high conflict personalities or where one or both spouses are taking unreasonable positions or are making ridiculous demands.

Start Gathering Documents.

To properly represent and advise you, and to negotiate a settlement or prepare for trial, your family law attorney will need to know about all the assets and debts of the marriage. This is typically done by reviewing all of the financial documents that are relevant to the facts in your case. Start gathering and organizing all documents that relate to your finances, income, assets, and debts/liabilities. At a minimum, you should gather statements showing the current balances/values as well as statements showing what the balances/values were on the date you and your spouse separated. If you or your spouse owned any property or debt before you got married, you should also obtain statements showing the balances/values on the date of marriage. The list below is an example of the documents that divorce attorneys often need from their clients and/or their clients’ spouses:

  •  Most recent tax return and IRS forms like W2s, 1099s, and K-1s
  •  Year to date paystubs
  •  All bank account statements including checking, savings, money market, etc.
  •  All investment account statements and retirement account statements including brokerage accounts, 401(k)s, IRAs, pensions, profit-sharing plans, etc.
  •  Titles to all vehicles (cars, boats, trailers, etc.) as well as any documents indicating their values
  •  Credit card statements and documents relating to any mortgage, line of credit, personal loan, or any other liability
  •  Credit report
  •  List of assets and debts owned by you or your spouse prior to marriage, inherited by you or your spouse during the marriage, or property you received as a gift from others
Be Smart. Protect Yourself.

As soon as you know that a separation is imminent or that the divorce process is about to begin, you should consult with an experienced family law attorney to obtain advice about your particular facts and circumstances. In this initial consultation, the attorney may recommend various steps you should take to protect yourself, your estate, and your privacy. There is no one-size-fits-all approach or set of instructions on what exactly you need to do immediately before or after you and your spouse separate. What worked for your friend’s cousin may not be necessary in your case or may even hinder settlement negotiations.

Schedule A Divorce Consultation.

To learn more about what to expect when separating from your spouse and how to plan for a divorce, you should meet with a North Carolina family law attorney. Bennett D. Rainey is an experienced family law attorney who regularly represents clients in all aspects of divorce from adoptions and child custody disputes to the division of assets involving closely-held family businesses, as well as many other areas. Bennett’s office is located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, but he represents clients all over the Triad including Kernersville, Mount Airy, Dobson, Lexington, Clemmons, Thomasville, High Point, Greensboro, Yadkinville, etc. Schedule a family law consultation with Bennett today by calling his office at 336-768-1515.

 

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Winston Salem Collaborative Divorce Attorney

Collaborative Family Law

Collaborative divorce is a legal process in North Carolina that provides divorcing couples with an amicable alternative to family law litigation. The goal for Winston Salem collaborative divorce attorneys is to help the parties enter into a settlement agreement that resolves all issues and meets the needs of each other as well as the needs of the children.

To begin the collaborative divorce law process in Forsyth County, NC, the parties and their divorce lawyers enter into an agreement that governs how the process will occur and establishes a commitment to achieving a mutually beneficial outcome. One of the key features of collaborative divorce is that if the process fails and either spouse decides to commence litigation, both collaborative lawyers must withdraw and the parties must retain completely new attorneys.

Another key feature of collaborative law is the involvement of neutral, third-party professionals who can provide the parties and their attorneys with expert advice on the parties' financials and their mental health and emotional wellbeing. While a financial natural and mental health neutral are not always needed, they often play a vital role in ensuring the collaborative law process is a success for everyone involved.

Collaborative divorce is not right for everyone or for every case. To find out if collaborative law would be a good fit for you and your spouse, contact Winston Salem collaborative divorce attorney Bennett D. Rainey today. Bennett is trained in the collaborative law process and has the skills needed to identify the parties' respective needs and develop effective solutions that accommodate their interests and goals.

Bennett is an experienced Winston Salem divorce lawyer who regularly represents family law clients in Forsyth County, Surry County, Guilford County, Kernersville, Lexington, Thomasville, High Point, and Greensboro, as well as many other cities and counties in the area. Schedule a consultation with Bennett to learn more about collaborative law from a Greensboro collaborative divorce attorney. You can reach Bennett at 336-768-1515.

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