Divorce Lawyers For Men in Raleigh, NC: Understanding Men's Rights in a Divorce
Men face certain challenges when seeking a divorce. Although North Carolina divorce courts are designed to be gender-neutral, societal expectations regarding traditional marital roles can adversely affect a man, particularly with spousal support, property division, child custody, and child support.
If you do not have a knowledgeable family law attorney who will stand up for your interests during a divorce, you may experience financial harm that may require years to repair. Divorce lawyers for men can work to protect you from decisions that could harm relationships with your children and other family members.
At Charles R. Ullman & Associates, our dedicated Raleigh divorce attorneys work to counsel and protect the rights of men going through a divorce. We have helped countless divorced fathers deal with child custody, child support, and spousal support arrangements in contentious divorces. Attorney Charles Ullman has earned accreditation from the North Carolina State Bar as a Board-Certified Specialist in Family Law, reflecting his detailed knowledge of this area of law.
Schedule a consultation with a compassionate North Carolina divorce lawyer to get informative and practical divorce advice for men. Contact us today!
Men’s Rights During Divorce
North Carolina is a no-fault divorce state. In most cases, all that is required to end a marriage is that you and your spouse live separately for a year. To be considered separated from your spouse, you need to live in different homes for 12 months. At least one of you needs to intend for the separation to be permanent.
In an amicable divorce, the spouses and their separate attorneys negotiate a separation agreement to present to a family law judge for approval and ratification as the divorce decree. They may work with a mediator or an arbitrator to come to an agreement.
In a contentious divorce, each spouse presents to the judge the proposed terms of divorce they are seeking, complete with testimony and documented evidence.
The sticking points in a divorce are typically the division of marital assets, alimony demands, and the custody and care of the couple’s underage children.
North Carolina divorce law is gender-neutral, and in most cases, courts do not automatically favor women. However, a man seeking a divorce needs a divorce lawyer who will assert his rights and protect his financial interests.
Your Right to Your Home. In most divorce cases, neither spouse may legally force the other out of the marital home unless there are allegations of domestic abuse and one spouse obtains a domestic violence protective order.
Possession of the marital home after your divorce is one of the primary points to negotiate in your separation agreement. If the house is marital property (you bought it while married) and one spouse is to take possession of it, the recipient must agree to buy out the other’s financial interest in the property, either with payments or by trading other marital property of comparable value.
Depending on the particular circumstances, either partner may:
- Obtain a domestic violence protective order (DVPO) if there has been domestic abuse.
- Seek a divorce from bed and board, a fault-based legal separation typically sought when one spouse is absent or uncooperative and in which a judge may order one spouse out of the marital home.
Child Custody. Legal custody of a child is the power to make decisions about the child’s life. Physical custody means living with the child. In most North Carolina divorces, one parent will assume physical custody of the child. The divorcing partners will either share joint legal custody or one parent may assume sole legal custody.
In years past, the “Tender Years Doctrine” resulted in women routinely gaining custody of young children in a divorce and few men retaining custody rights. Today, instead of favoring one parent over the other, a judge handling a divorce is required to consider the best interests of the child when deciding custody issues, including specific factors the court must review.
Among the judge’s considerations are:
- Which parent has been the child’s primary caregiver
- Each parent’s financial situation
- Each parent’s ability to spend time with the children with regard to the restrictions of employment
- Each parent’s emotional and physical health.
Spousal and Child Support. You and your ex-wife are obligated to meet the reasonable financial needs of your child’s health, education, and maintenance. However, North Carolina law does not require that both parents pay the same amount in child support.
North Carolina has specific Child Support Guidelines, which a judge must use to calculate how much you must pay if so ordered. The guidelines also consider the type of child custody arrangement you have.
It remains a fact that men make more money than women in many cases. If you will be required to pay spousal support (alimony) and/or child support, our objective as your attorneys will be to ensure that the payments are reasonable and that they do not overburden you financially.
Your wife must request spousal support to receive it. If you can show that she was not financially dependent on you during your marriage, the judge may deny her request. The judge must review several factors and has discretion over the amount of support and how long the alimony payments are made. If your financial situation changes after your divorce is final, we can petition the court to adjust alimony payments accordingly.
We also can file a Motion to Modify the child support order and help you gather the financial information necessary to support your request to change the payment. Any child support order can be modified after three years to take into account a child’s changing needs.
Ensuring Equitable Distribution of Marital Assets for Men
In addition to resolving ownership of the family home, a divorcing couple must divide other assets acquired during the marriage. Such marital property must be divided equitably, which means fairly but not necessarily equally. Generally, debt incurred by either spouse is considered joint debt.
If your separation agreement does not document an equitable distribution of all marital assets, a judge will decide who gets what. A judge considering the equitable distribution of marital property is to consider such factors as each spouse’s earning capacity, each spouse’s health, child care obligations, and relative contributions to the marriage, including non-financial contributions.
As your attorneys, we would obtain an inventory of assets and debts from you and speak with you to determine your desires for retaining certain assets and pieces of property. We would also obtain an inventory from your wife as a part of the discovery process
In a contentious divorce, we would investigate to uncover a true picture of your spouse’s assets. A spouse found to have wasted marital funds, hidden assets, or otherwise engaged in dishonest behavior regarding the disposition of marital assets could be penalized when the judge makes final asset distribution decisions.
Contact a Men’s Divorce Lawyer for Help
Beyond the emotional aspects of divorce, ending a marriage is primarily a financial transaction. A separation agreement developed without proper legal protection or left to a judge to decide could leave you without your home and cost you a substantial portion of your income. You could also be forced to sell many of your assets and possessions. An improperly handled divorce could leave you unable to see your children when you want or on your own.
If you are a man headed for divorce, you should work with a Raleigh men’s divorce attorney who is experienced with the unique issues men face when divorcing. Newly divorced men can be financially vulnerable. We offer knowledgeable counsel about the issues that men face in divorce to help you make informed decisions and avoid unpleasant surprises, such as unforeseen tax consequences of being forced to divide retirement accounts.
If you are worried about how gender stereotypes may affect you during divorce proceedings, ask your prospective lawyer if he or she has experience representing men in divorce cases. Ask what are the challenges particular to a man in the divorce process and find out what strategies the lawyer may employ.
Raleigh Attorney Charles R. Ullman has more than 20 years of experience guiding clients through the process of separation and divorce. To learn how he helps clients who are going through a divorce, call (877) 589-6937 or contact us online for a consultation.