We treat our
clients like family
Providing Divorce and Child Support Services to Charlotte for over 20 years.
Married couples typically accumulate assets and debts during the course of the marriage. Upon separation, those need to be divided and distributed. That process is called equitable distribution. As the name implies, property division should be done in a fair and equitable manner. With a short marriage, there may not be much to distribute. Lengthy marriages may involve complex and valuable marital estates. In any case, our attorneys work hard to reach a voluntary equitable distribution settlement if possible.
We believe it makes more sense for parents to conserve their assets for family use, as opposed to paying lawyers and experts to engage in lengthy battles yielding uncertain results. Not all cases can be settled amicably. Where it is necessary to have a court determine the equitable distribution issues, our attorneys have extensive experience litigating and achieving fair distributions of marital estates, large and small.
The term “uncontested divorce” is a bit of a misnomer in North Carolina. Typically, the only ground for divorce in this state is the separation of the parties for more than one year. As long as the parties have lived separate and apart for a year or more, there is no contesting the divorce. If parties have no minor children, and if alimony and equitable distribution are not issues, simply filing for and obtaining a judgment of absolute divorce can be pretty quick and inexpensive.
A separation agreement is a legal contract between spouses that formalizes their rights and obligations related to issues like division of assets and debts, spousal support and, if they choose, child custody and child support. Separation agreements need to be documented, in writing, with the notarized signatures of each party. A thorough and carefully negotiated separation agreement can take care of all of the “business” of separation and divorce.
As a general rule, the Honnold Law Firm counsels separated or separating spouses to make an effort at voluntarily negotiating a separation agreement that best positions the family for future success given the circumstances. While this process can entail some time and expense, it is generally more expedient and far less costly—financially and emotionally—than protracted litigation.
Nothing is more important to separating parents than the relationship with their children. The uncertainty facing parents and children can be unsettling. In North Carolina Child Custody cases, whether the question is resolved by a negotiated agreement or by a court, the standard applied in developing a custody plan is what is in the best interests of the child. While this sounds straightforward, most often, determining the best interests of children is a complex matter. Even parents who voluntarily develop a custody plan have a challenging task. In high conflict cases resolved by judges, the questions become more difficult and time consuming.
The Honnold Law Firm strongly advises clients to seek amicable, cooperative custody agreements between spouses. Doing so is by far the healthiest approach for parents and children. Lengthy custody litigation is emotionally taxing and expensive. Our Child Custody lawyers bring sensitivity and years of experience to counseling parents through the custody negotiation process or, if need be, through serious litigation.
Child support for children is a critical part of any plan for separated parents. Just like developing a custody plan that best meets the needs of children, parents must provide financial support for them. In North Carolina, child support is based on the incomes of the parents, following an “income shares” model. The North Carolina Child Support Guildelines (link) apply in most child support situations. The Guidelines consider the monthly income of each parent, the amount paid for health insurance for the children, and any amounts paid for work-related daycare.
Unfortunately, even with the Guidelines, establishing fair and reasonable child support is not always easy. Our Child Support attorneys are experienced in negotiating sensible and appropriate child support agreements. When necessary, we have extensive experience in child support litigation.Visit the NC State child support guidelines and calculator
Alimony and Postseparation Support
Spousal support is frequently a consideration upon separation or divorce. In North Carolina, temporary spousal support is called Postseparation Support (PSS). Longer term support is called alimony. Whether PSS or alimony is appropriate in a given case depends on the relative incomes and needs of the parties. North Carolina law provides numerous factors to be considered in any spousal support cases, which can make the analysis relatively complicated. In addition to balancing the economic needs and resources of the parties, this is an area where the conduct, or misconduct, of the parties becomes a factor.
At the Honnold Law Firm, we have litigated PSS and alimony cases in Mecklenburg County courts and in the counties surrounding Charlotte. Most often, we successfully negotiate reasonable spousal support settlements between parties.
Hague Convention International Custody Cases
Sometimes, difficult child custody cases involve a parent wrongfully removing children from their nation of habitual residence. The United States is a party to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, which is a multinational treaty that seeks to protect children from the harmful effects of abduction and retention across international boundaries. The Hague Convention provides a procedure to bring about their prompt return. The Honnold Law firm is experienced in successfully representing clients in federal court in complex Hague Convention child custody cases.
Orders of protection
Unfortunately, domestic violence complaints arise frequently in North Carolina. An aggrieved party may seek a Domestic Violence Order of Protection if a person with whom they have been in a “personal relationship” causes or attempt to cause bodily injury to the aggrieved party. A Domestic Violence Order of Protection may also be obtained if the offending party places the aggrieved party or a member of that person’s household in fear of imminent bodily injury or harassment that rises to such a level as to inflict substantial emotional distress. Domestic violence orders can protect parents, their children, former spouses, current or former dating partners and other household members. If the Court finds that such an order is warranted, it can order the offending party to have no contact with the victim and to stay away from the victim for one year. The orders may also be renewed at the end of the year.
The Honnold Law Firm has substantial experience in assisting victims in obtaining Domestic Violence Orders of Protection, as well as defending those accused of domestic violence. North Carolina is serious about the issue of domestic violence and a full understanding of the law in this area is important for those seeking or defending against these orders.
North Carolina residents intending to marry have the right to enter into premarital contracts setting forth the economic terms governing their property and income during the marriage and after a separation if the marriage fails. A premarital agreement can identify the assets each party brings to the marriage, define what will be considered marital property and separate property of the parties, as well as whether either party will be entitled to alimony and upon what terms, should the marriage end.