1. Divorce Attorneys: Does Your Attorney Make a Difference?
When we get married, we plan on staying together forever. We have visions for our families. Divorce is not usually a part of the original vision. Sometimes it is necessary. Sometimes it is best for everyone.
We have all heard stories from others who have had a terrible experience with divorce. It can be difficult. The process can test your limits. It can be challenging emotionally and financially.
Two things will determine the level of difficulty of your divorce: your former spouse and your lawyer. You can't choose your former spouse. That decision was made a long time ago. You can choose your attorney. Selecting the right divorce lawyer is important.
2. What should You look for in a Divorce Lawyer?
Your divorce attorney will play a critical role in the process and outcome of your divorce. You want an attorney that creates solutions for your benefit not conflict for his own. Great divorce lawyers listen, understand, prepare and execute. Great attorneys are experienced, smart, wise, strategic, unrelenting and focused. No lawyer can control the outcome of your case, but you want a lawyer who will do her best to accomplish your objectives without creating unnecessary damage and expense.
3. What is Our Approach to Divorce?
At Speaks Law Firm, Ashley Smith is our lead divorce attorney. Ashley has earned a reputation as one of the toughest and most aggressive lawyers in North Carolina. She is also compassionate, wise, attentive and empathetic. Ashley is rated Superb by AVVO. AVVO is a national attorney rating service that ranks lawyers based upon experience, reputation and professional conduct.
For Ashley and her staff, protecting your rights, your assets and your access to your children in divorce is the number one priority. We can provide immediate, professional, experienced, aggressive and strategic representation to protect the things that are most important to you. We work hard to find common ground. We fight to achieve your objectives. We avoid unnecessary harm and expense. Call or click now to set up a consultation.
4. What are the Basics
In order to get a divorce in North Carolina, the presiding New Hanover County district court judge will require that you meet three criteria:
- You must have been legally separated from your spouse for more than one year,
- One spouse or the other must have resided in North Carolina for at least six months, and
- One spouse currently resides in the county where the case is filed.
In North Carolina, you cannot become legally divorced until you have been separated for one year. However, if you are considering separation or divorce, there are things that you should do immediately in order to protect you property and relationships. You may have other options, as well. We practice family law, divorce and custody, fathers rights and related matters including:
- Separation Agreements
- Simple Divorce
- Divorce from Bed and Board
- Child Custody
- Child Support
- Equitable Distribution
- Post-Separation Support
5. What are the primary causes?
In our experience, the most common reason for divorce is recurring argument over how money is made or spent. Repeated disputes regarding other relationships including children, parents, in-laws, friends and co-workers can contribute. Lots of times general problems such as incompatibility, insufficient communication, or lack of commitment can lead to divorce. Specific instances of conduct can cause divorce such as infidelity, abuse, or addiction can result in divorce.
6. Are you sure you want a divorce?
Should you get a divorce? In every case we encourage our clients to think this decision through carefully. Can the problems be corrected? Will they be remedied by divorce? Would counseling be helpful or are the problems simply too great? We do not take the end of a marriage lightly.
7. What is the Point of a Consultation?
We recommend that you call now to set up a consultation so that you can sit down with us and talk about your particular situation. Based upon the information that you provide, we will develop a specific strategic plan of action that is designed to protect and promote your top priorities. In addition, you will learn about the process. You will discover common mistakes and how to avoid them.
8. What other things you should consider when contemplating divorce?
- What affect will a divorce have on my income?
- Must I file for a legal separation in order to get a divorce?
- Do I need a separation agreement?
- What affect will a divorce have on my assets including rental properties, investments, employment or government benefits, and retirement accounts?
- What are the costs of getting divorced including court costs, filing fees and attorney fees?
- What are the short-term and long-term impacts of divorce on my children?
- How will divorce affect the time I have to spend with my children before they grow up? After they grow up?
9. Should you prepare now or wait and see?
The decisions you make in the hours, days, and weeks after you decide to divorce can dramatically affect the outcome of your case. In a perfect world, a marriage would last forever. Unfortunately, it does not always work that way.
Divorce produces conflict. It requires us to divide the things that are important to us: assets we have accumulated and time with our children. This division would be difficult under any circumstances. Add anger, resentment and hurt feelings and even the most level headed people can behave badly.
The value of planning, preparation and strategic thinking cannot be overstated when it comes to divorce. If you are contemplating divorce, we suggest that you call now for a consultation. Then you can make better decisions going forward because those decisions will be based upon reliable information and reasoned analysis instead of instinct and emotion.
Knowledge is power. Learn how to protect yourself, your assets and your relationships with your children. Learn what to do and what NOT to do. The decisions you make now will affect you and your family for the rest of your life.
10. Can your attorney effectively engage in cooperative settlement negotiations?
Even though divorce and custody arrangements can be challenging, they do not have to be destructive. Your life will be better if you can have a reasonable and civil relationship with you former spouse in the future. This will be particularly important if you have children together. The lawyer you choose can make the difference.
We try to identify the areas on which we agree, negotiate on the areas where we do not, compromise when we can and fight when we must. And when we fight, we fight hard, and we fight to win.
Make no mistake, we represent your interests aggressively. However, we try to accomplish your objectives without causing unnecessary collateral damage. This approach almost always saves time, money, and aggravation.
11. What If you Must Go to Court?
Some cases cannot be resolved amicably and trial is necessary. Sometimes one party is acting unreasonably. Sometimes there are just one or two points of contention that are too big for compromise. In those instances, both parties will give up some control and ask a judge to decide the outcome after a trial or hearing. You will then need your lawyers to have the courtroom experience to present your case in court effectively. We have that experience and a proven record of success in the courtroom.
12. Is it necessary that your lawyer have extensive courtroom experience?
We have tried cases in front of judges and juries all over southeastern North Carolina in state and federal court at the trial and appellate level. We have argued in front of the North Carolina Supreme Court and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond,VA. We have represented our clients in a variety of different judicial forums, places and circumstances with great success.
If your case must go to trial, we can put that courtroom experience to work for you. That trial experience often gives us the leverage necessary to accomplish a given legal objective without ever having to step into a courtroom.
13. Choosing the Right Lawyer can make all the difference.
Because of the personal nature of North Carolina divorce and family law, choosing the right lawyer is important. You want an attorney who understands both the financial and emotional side of your case: someone you can trust to guide you through your divorce and protect what is most important to you. Call for a consultation so you can see for yourself whether Speaks Law Firm is the right firm for you.
You may want to consider what other clients say about the experience that they had with the attorney that you are considering. You can look at client reviews and testimonials of Ashley and her team on this site.
A WORD OF CAUTION: You may be angry or hurt. You may have been wronged. There is no doubt that you want an aggressive advocate on your side. However, you should be on the lookout for lawyers who over-promise and under-deliver. Look out for lawyers who try to fan the flames of anger. Do they have your best interest in mind? Or, are they attempting to prey on your emotions for their gain? We recommend you look for a lawyer who will find solutions not create problems.
14. What is the Next Step
The next step is to contact us. We can answer questions, develop a plan or implement a strategy. The attorneys at Speaks Law Firm provide the experience, professionalism, and effective representation you need to accomplish your family law objectives. Call (910) 341-7570 or toll free at (877) 593-4233, CHAT, or fill out the how can we help you form [located on the right of this page] to take the next towards reaching your goal.