Will my inheritance be divided as marital property?

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How an inheritance is classified for purposes of equitable distribution depends on when it was received and how the funds were handled.   If an inheritance is received before the beginning of the marriage, it is considered separate property as long as the money stays separate throughout the course of marriage. If the funds are later co-mingled with marital funds, …

Can I stay on my ex’s health insurance policy after we’re divorced?

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No. Once you and your spouse are divorced you cannot remain on your ex’s health insurance plan.  However your children can stay on the policy.  If you have a group or employer plan, you (the non-employee spouse) may qualify for short-term continuing health insurance coverage through COBRA. It is important to remember that COBRA is a temporary solution and only …

What is a “no fault” divorce?

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A no fault divorce is the type of divorce in which the dissolution of the marriage does not require a showing of any wrongdoing by either spouse. The spouse filing for divorce does not have to prove any fault on the part of the other spouse.  All a spouse has to do is give any reason that the state honors …

When can my child decide which parent he wants to live with?

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There is no set age at which a minor child can legally decide which parent he or she would like to live with under North Carolina law. When determining matters of child custody, the Court will always use the best interests of the child standard. It is in the Court’s discretion whether to consider a child’s wishes with regard to …

If both parents share custody of the children, does either have to pay child support?

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Child support obligations depend on the each parent’s income and amount of time (number of overnights per year) spent with the child(ren).  Another key factor in child support calculations is which party pays the child’s health insurance and medical expenses, child care and education costs, and other expenses on behalf of the child.   Since every family’s case is unique …

Does an Unmarried Father Have Custody Rights?

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Generally the unmarried mother is considered to have the primary rights to her child including legal rights to custody, control and care for her child. An unmarried father will not obtain primary physical custody rights over a mother who is a good parent, but he may be able to establish some rights to custody or visitation with the child. Under …

Can my estranged spouse stay in a separate room during our separation?

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No. In the state of North Carolina, the parties must live under separate roofs or in different houses during the required separation period.  Staying in separate bedrooms in the same house is not physically separated for the purposes of divorce.  A couple must be legally separated for one year and a day before they can file for divorce in North …

How Long Do I Have to Pay Alimony?

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When awarding alimony, the court may set a specific time for the alimony to expire or it may award permanent alimony with no set end date.  In North Carolina there is no statutory guidance on length of alimony, so the duration of an award is in the discretion of the judge.  Factors like the length of the marriage, the ability …

Can I avoid alimony with a prenuptial agreement?

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A carefully drafted and properly executed prenuptial agreement can provide both financial protection and comfort for both spouses.  A prenup may outline what property is separately owned by each spouse and what is jointly owned by both spouses, provide support for children from a previous relationship, protect one spouse from the debts and liabilities of the other, and designate who …

Can I change how much I pay for child support?

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You can only change the terms of your child support order with the approval of the court. If you have recently had a change in circumstances like a job loss or reduction in income and are seeking to pay less, or if need to receive a higher payment, you will need to ask the court for a modification of your …