Old Wives’ (and Husbands’) Tales – Misconceptions in N.C. Family Law

There are many misconceptions regarding the laws of any state.  Here are some of the most common myths related to family law in North Carolina:

  • I want a legal separation:  Legal separations are not documents in N.C.  An individual is “legally separated” when one spouse moves from the marital residence and at least one spouse intends to remain separate and apart indefinitely.
  • I want to file for separation:  Spouses may enter into a Separation Agreement to resolve all issues arising out of the parties’ separation, but that document is not “filed” anywhere.
  • We are separated since we live in separate rooms:  In N.C., a couple is separated only when they are living in separate residences with the intent to remain separate and apart indefinitely.
  • I will take her/him for everything (s)he has:  Sorry, but alimony is based on disposable income of the supporting spouse after accounting for their reasonable needs and expenses in keeping with the standard of living enjoyed by the parties prior to the separation.  With respect to marital property, most spouses only get one-half of the net value of the marital estate.
  • At 12, my child can decide where (s)he wants to live:  A minor child cannot decide with which parent (s)he will live.  However, in some situations, an articulate child of suitable age and maturity may tell the judge some facts which can assist the court in making a custody determination.
  • (S)he’s not paying child support, so I do not have to let her/him see the child(ren):  Child support and visitation are not related in this context.  You cannot withhold visitation simply because you are not receiving child support.  Likewise, not receiving visitation does not excuse you from paying child support.
  • My spouse is committing adultery, so I will get custody automatically:  Being a lousy spouse does not mean that one is a lousy parent.  Adultery is not a determinative factor in a custody trial, but certain facts can make it relevant regarding the best interests of the child(ren).

Contact an experienced family law attorney for legal advice on your specific family law matters.

Weaver, Bennett & Bland, P.A. serves clients in North Carolina and South Carolina. Located in the town of Matthews between Mecklenburg and Union Counties in North Carolina since 1982, we proudly provide legal services throughout Charlotte, Matthews, Mint Hill, Stallings, Indian Trail, Monroe, Marvin, Wesley Chapel, Weddington, Waxhaw, the Ballantyne area, and other surrounding communities in the Greater Charlotte area. Our clients range from national corporations and major banking institutions to individuals and local companies.