Winston-Salem Divorce FAQ

Are you considering a divorce in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, but find yourself overwhelmed with questions and uncertainties about the process? You’re not alone. A North Carolina divorce can be a complex and emotional journey, but having the right information can make all the difference. At Greenwood Law, we believe in empowering our clients and prospective clients with the knowledge they need to proceed with their divorce with confidence. From understanding legal requirements to navigating custody and financial matters, we’re here to provide you with the answers you need to your most pressing questions.

 What is a wife entitled to in a divorce in North Carolina?

According to the North Carolina Judicial Branch, a divorcing wife is generally entitled to an equitable share of all marital property. If she is the dependent spouse – that is, the spouse who is financially dependent on the other spouse’s earning power for her well-being – she is likely also entitled to alimony. How much alimony she is owed depends on factors like the length of the marriage, each spouse’s earnings and earning capacities, their standard of living during the marriage, and their respective financial needs. Additionally, if a divorcing wife will have primary custody of shared children, she may be entitled to child support. The exact entitlements can vary greatly depending on the circumstances of the marriage and divorce and the discretion of the court.

 Who gets the house in a divorce in NC?

There’s no one-size-fits-all rule regarding who gets the house in a North Carolina divorce. That said, it’s vital to remember that a critical step toward divorce is that one spouse must move out, and the couple must live separately for a year. Often, the spouse who remains in the home during this period has a stronger case to keep it, particularly if they’re also looking after any children.

There are several methods to decide who keeps the house in divorce. Sometimes, one spouse might buy out the other’s share. In other cases, one spouse might keep the house, while the other receives different assets to balance things out. This ensures a fair distribution of assets, taking into account the unique circumstances of each case.

 Who has to leave the house in a divorce in North Carolina?

Determining who leaves the marital home to initiate the one-year divorce countdown can be complex, especially if both spouses own the home. In such cases, the spouses must negotiate to decide who moves out. On the other hand, one spouse can order the other to leave if they are the home’s sole owner, although that spouse should be absolutely certain the other spouse does not have a claim to the house before they do so. Finally, in situations where there are concerns about domestic violence, one spouse may obtain a protective order against the other. This order can legally compel the spouse posing a threat to vacate the home, ensuring the safety and well-being of the other spouse and any children involved.

 Does it matter who files for divorce first in NC?

In North Carolina, who files for divorce first doesn’t have a significant legal impact on the outcome of the case, as both spouses have the right to contest the divorce proceedings. However, being the first to file can offer a strategic advantage in some cases. The spouse who initiates the divorce sets the stage for negotiations on key issues such as property division, child custody, and alimony, potentially guiding the process in their favor from the start. Additionally, if one spouse files for divorce and the other fails to respond, the filing spouse may obtain a default judgment. This outcome essentially grants the divorce on the filing spouse’s terms, preventing the non-responsive spouse from having a say in the divorce proceedings.

 How are assets divided in a divorce in North Carolina?

North Carolina uses the “equitable distribution” model to divide a couple’s assets in a divorce. This method aims for fairness rather than a strict 50/50 split. This means the division of assets depends on various factors to ensure a fair outcome for both parties. Assets are categorized as either “marital property” – those acquired during the marriage or which both spouses otherwise have an equal claim to – or “separate property,” which includes assets acquired before the marriage or through inheritance or gifts during the marriage. Couples must divide their marital property, whereas separate property remains with the original owner.

Notably, North Carolina law says judges must consider several factors to determine a fair distribution of a couple’s assets. Those factors include each spouse’s income, property, liabilities, support obligations from previous marriages, the marriage’s duration, both parties’ health, and the need for a custodial parent to own or occupy the marital home.

 What is a wife entitled to in a divorce settlement in NC?

The North Carolina Judicial Branch holds that both spouses are entitled to an equitable share of marital property, and that either spouse can receive alimony, depending on their financial circumstances. The law recognizes a “dependent spouse” as one who relies financially on the other, known as the “supporting spouse.” This status does not depend on gender; both husbands and wives can be dependent or supporting spouses.

The amount of alimony a spouse receives varies greatly, as North Carolina does not use a strict formula. Instead, a judge will decide on an appropriate amount after reviewing the details of each case. Similarly, a judge will determine the duration of alimony payments based on case specifics. When considering alimony, North Carolina law requires judges to weigh multiple factors, including the length of the marriage and each spouse’s earnings, potential earnings, age, education, health, contributions during the marriage, needs, marital misconduct, and other relevant aspects.

 When you get divorced do you have to split everything in North Carolina?

North Carolina uses the equitable distribution model to divide assets during a divorce, meaning there’s no requirement for a 50/50 split. Instead, the goal is to divide a couple’s assets fairly, taking into account various factors to ensure an equitable division. Importantly, spouses get to keep their separate property, which includes assets acquired before the marriage or through inheritance or gifts during the marriage.

 Who has to leave the house in a separation in NC?

When a North Carolina couple decides to separate, they themselves typically need to determine who will leave the marital home. However, an exception exists in the form of a Divorce from Bed and Board (DBB). Despite its name, a DBB is not an actual divorce but a legally ordered separation. A DBB comes into play under specific circumstances, such as when one spouse can demonstrate serious faults like adultery or drug abuse by the other spouse.

A DBB order mandates one spouse to leave the home, essentially forcing a separation. Even after a DBB, couples can still draft a separation agreement to address issues like property division and post-separation support, similar to a voluntary separation. To finalize the end of the marriage, the separated couple must still observe the one-year waiting period before filing for an absolute divorce. This process allows for legal intervention in separations involving serious marital misconduct, providing a structured approach to resolving ensuing matters.

 How is debt split in a divorce in NC?

In North Carolina, the equitable distribution model used for dividing assets in a divorce also applies to debts. This means that debts accumulated during the marriage are divided fairly between both spouses, considering various factors to ensure an equitable split, rather than an automatic 50/50 division.

 Have More Questions About Divorce in Winston-Salem? We Can Help

The Winston-Salem divorce attorneys at Greenwood Law can answer any questions you have about the legal process and help protect your interests in this challenging time. Call us today or complete our contact form for a confidential consultation.