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Raleigh Divorce Law Blog

The pitfalls of permanent alimony: should we consider reform?

Back in September, we answered a question sometimes asked by divorcing spouses in Raleigh and across North Carolina. The question was this: how long do I have to pay my spouse alimony? As we explained in that blog post, family law judges in our state have discretion when ordering alimony payments. They can either choose to award temporary alimony or permanent alimony. It's the latter of these two options that we'd like to take a closer look at in today's post.

As you may have figured out from its name, permanent alimony continues indefinitely until a modification is made to the court order for alimony or until either spouse dies, whichever comes first. It's in the opinion of many people throughout the nation that this is the biggest pitfall of permanent alimony. It tethers a divorced spouse to their ex for the rest of their life or until a judge says otherwise. Many see a problem with this, which is why advocates in some states are pushing for legal reforms that would do away with permanent alimony or have already done so.

Is it better to wait on a divorce in North Carolina?

For many people, when their marriage goes sour, they want to end it right away through divorce – even if divorce proceedings can take several months before everything is finalized. But is jumping immediately to divorce really such a good idea when a marriage feels like it's breaking down? Some might say no, and here's why.

When it comes to divorce in North Carolina, it may be more beneficial for couples to hold off on dissolving their marriage, particularly when you consider these two things: premarital agreements and property division. Let's first take a look at premarital agreements.

What do I do if I suspect my spouse of wasting marital assets?

When a marriage makes a turn for the worse, spouses will typically agree that divorce is a good idea. But when no warning signs appear to have been given, and a spouse is blindsided by divorce papers, bitter feelings are bound to swell. And in some cases, the jilted spouse may want to seek revenge.

One way a spouse may seek revenge is by squandering marital assets or driving up marital debt in an effort to create financial problems for their partner during equitable distribution. But while our Raleigh readers may see this as a common plot point on television dramas and in movies, dissipation of marital assets is frowned upon in many states, including North Carolina. Spouses who choose to waste marital assets can face legal repercussions later on.

Property division remains an issue for some same-sex couples

It's hard to believe that only five short months ago, same-sex marriage was still considered illegal in a majority of states across the nation. It wasn't until the U.S. Supreme Court passed down its ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges that same-sex couples all over the United States were granted the same right that heterosexual couples had enjoyed for centuries.

But as we explained back in July in a blog post outlining the Supreme Court decision, along with the right to marry also came the right to divorce. This gave many same-sex couples a glimpse into the issues that oftentimes arise with this major life change. Take for example property division, which is the issue we're going to focus on in today's post. Property division laws now apply to same-sex couples who divorce, meaning they now have distribute property in accordance with the law, not however they want.

A DIY divorce is a bad idea for North Carolina high-asset couples

Are you fighting constantly with your spouse? Do you fail to see eye to eye anymore on even the most basic decisions? Do you believe that your marriage is irretrievably broken? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you may be considering a divorce or a legal separation. But there is a lot to think about though when you take this very large legal leap.

For starters, you need to determine whether you're going to seek the help of an experienced divorce attorney or try to handle things on your own. Then, you'll need to consider whether mediation is the right course for you or if litigation is a better option. After that, you'll need to address the specifics of your divorce, including property division, alimony, child custody and child support, just to name a few.

Do you regret signing a prenup? Consider getting it revoked

Last week, in our continuing talk about the use of prenuptial agreements in North Carolina, we pointed out that more and more couples nowadays are signing prenups before they say "I do." This may not have been surprising to some of our more frequent readers, especially when you consider the benefits of having a prenup during divorce proceedings.

But even if prenups become part of the marriage landscape and as common as signing a marriage certificate, couples here in Raleigh may still have concerns about signing a legal document that will dictate the future of their assets before they even know what they are. Consider for a moment loss of employment, sudden disability or a change in income. Would any of these major alterations make you rethink the prenup you already signed? If you answered yes, you wouldn't be alone.

How do NC judges make child custody decisions? P.2

In our last post, we began speaking about child custody determinations and the importance of working with an experienced family law attorney through the child custody process. One of the reasons for this, we noted, is that judges have significant discretion in approving or disapproving parenting plans.

Ultimately, the primary consideration in child custody cases is the best interests of the child. When a judge evaluates any proposed parenting plan, he or she is not so much concerned about what the parents want as much as what is really best for their children. For parents, it is important to be aware of this fact going in and to maintain that perspective at all times. Doing so will not only help a parent to deal more constructively with an unfavorable outcome, but will also help him or her advocate for his or her interests better. After all, the interests of the children are closely related to the interest of the parents, in most cases. 

How do NC judges make child custody decisions? P.1

Child custody is, for many couples, the most important issue to be decided in the divorce process, for obvious reasons. Even when a couple is unable to make their life together work, they still want the best for their kids and still want to be part of their life.

In an ideal world, every couple would be able to put their personal interests and quibbles aside in divorce and come up with a parenting plan that is truly in the best interests of the children. We all know, however, that this doesn't always happen. In some cases, disputes over child custody can become more about spiting the other parent and keeping him or her out of the children's life rather than about the well-being and flourishing of the children. 

Seeking modification of an alimony order in North Carolina

The law isn't always intuitive. It's a fact many of our more frequent readers in Raleigh know all too well. Unfortunately though, the fact that our laws are complex and sometimes unintuitive means North Carolinians are oftentimes left with questions they don't know the answers to.

While our more frequent readers know they can turn to our blog for answers to many of their questions, those who are new to our site might not. That's why, in today's post, we'd like to invite those new people to learn more about seeking modification of an alimony order. Hopefully by the end of our post, we will have answered some of your questions while giving you a place to find more answers down the road.

Are prenups becoming part of the landscape for divorce?

As a recent Wall Street Journal article said it best, "[A prenuptial agreement] may not be the most romantic idea," but when you consider its function and the benefits it provides divorcing couples, it's hard to ignore its practicality and usefulness. That having been said, considering this fact raises an important question:

Are prenups becoming part of the landscape for divorce?

Firm founder Jonathan Breeden has earned his nickname of "The Bulldog." He takes a direct, straight ahead approach at resolving his client's family law, criminal law, and business related problems. He knows when it's in your best interests to negotiate a resolution or litigate your case in court.
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