Definition of Collaborative Divorce in North Carolina

There is no question that divorce can be expensive; that is, when it goes through the courts. However, there are out-of-court options available in North Carolina that could be of benefit to some couples who are able to work on their divorce issues with assistance from their lawyers. This is now known as collaborative divorce, and it is a relative newcomer in the divorce scene as it was first practiced in the 1990s by a Minneapolis-based divorce lawyer. It has been in the North Carolina statutes for over 10 years (N.C. Gen. Stat. § 50-70 et seq.).

Collaborative divorce is mainly an agreement between spouses in a divorce to negotiate the terms of their divorce without involving the court. Each spouse would have a divorce lawyer to serve as representatives as well as to ensure that the settlement is within the allowed bounds of the law. The settlement lawyers are expected to facilitate conflict resolution and generally undergo some training in helping couples reach better agreements. It is considered a viable alternative to the more adversarial setting of divorce court to settle disputes.

Because collaborative divorce is done outside of court, it is more flexible, faster, and less expensive. However, it is not suitable for all couples because it requires them to be willing to discuss issues related to divorce and reach a mutually acceptable compromise. Couples who are constantly at each other’s throats and bitterly contest each and every provision will need the sterner guidance of divorce court.

Collaborative divorce, despite its obvious advantages, continue to be underutilized in North Carolina, perhaps because only a few law firms include it in their practice rosters. If you want to settle your divorce as quickly and inexpensively as legally possible, consult with your lawyer about the feasibility of a collaborative divorce. To learn more about collaborative divorce, visit http://www.marshalltaylorlawfirm.com.

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Maintaining the Standard of Living Even after Divorce through Alimony

Ending a marriage through divorce does not leave the divorcing spouses without further responsibility towards each other. The well-being of each, especially financially-wise, will have to be ascertained first so that neither of the spouses will be made to live a financially-burdensome life.

State courts always see to it that divorcing couples, and their child/children (if they have any), continue to enjoy the standard of living that they lived during marriage. Thus, if one of the spouses gave up all opportunities for economic and professional growth for the sake of his/her spouse and ends up, after divorce, with limited opportunities of being able to earn enough to support him/her self, then alimony will be ordered by the court to be paid on his/her behalf.

Traditionally, women were the ones who were always granted alimony since it was customary that care of the home was their concern; the man, the father of the house, was tasked to support his children and his wife who, in turn, took care of all his needs.

Circumstances in the lives of both husband and wife have changed though, that the present time even renders women capable of earning much more than men. With this change is a possible change in the recipient of alimony too – from women only in the past, to either husband or wife in the present.

Alimony is monetary payment made by one spouse to his/her former partner. It is a court mandate intended to allow the recipient spouse to maintain his/her standard of living during the process of divorce and after it. Its name has been changed to spousal support or spousal maintenance, though, since its recipient today is no longer exclusively the wife.

States differ in their laws regarding spousal support. Despite the differences, there are common factors that judges consider after having determined if support, indeed has to be paid, who should pay it, and how much and how long the payment should be. Some of these factors include the need of the recipient, health and age of spouses, length of marriage, ability to pay, educational level of spouses, child support and standard of living during marriage.

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Enforcing Child Custody and Visitation Agreements

Perhaps one of the more complicated aspects of a divorce is the child custody and visitation agreement. Because it concerns the disposition of another person, there are often issues that arise within the effective period of the custody and visitation agreement which could make it difficult to enforce. One of these issues could be place of residence.

When one or both parents move out of state, this may make it difficult for the non-custodial parent to enforce visitation rights. While the agreement restricts the when, where and for how long the non-custodial parent can have access to the child, it also confirms the non-custodial parent’s right of access. So when a custodial parent deliberately makes it difficult for the other parent to spend time with the child, the non-custodial parent can sue for the enforcement or modification of the child custody and visitation agreement.

As part of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), the custodial parent cannot refuse the non-custodial parent visitation rights unless there are circumstances that may justify this refusal, such as suspicion of child abuse, domestic violence, or neglect. For example, if the child comes back from a visit with bruises or seems reluctant or afraid around the non-custodial parent, the custodial parent can report it to the police before consulting a child custody and visitation lawyer on what can be done to prove such suspicions and bar the non-custodial parent from visiting. Failure to pay child support is not a valid reason to withhold access to a child.

On the other hand, the custodial parent can also complain to local authorities under UCCJEA and consult a lawyer for legal options when the non-custodial parent abuses this right of access. According to the website of the BB Law Group PLLC in The Woodlands, this can be the non-custodial showing up in school or at home unexpectedly, retaining the child longer than agreed, or transporting the child to another country.

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