Family Law in Mooresville, North Carolina
When families in Mooresville, North Carolina encounter problems that can't be solved by simply talking it out, it may be time to consider reaching out to a family law attorney. Though family law is a term that isn't widely used by the public, it's one worth understanding. When most people think about "family law" they typically mean divorce, but the reality is family law can encompass much more than just divorce disputes. The term is a kind of umbrella, including underneath it issues dealing with separation, divorce, child custody, visitation, child support, spousal support, termination of parental rights, adoption, and many, many other things. All kinds of families run into "family law" problems and each one is different, altered slightly by the particular circumstances of your family.
One clearly important subcategory within family law is divorce. Divorce, in a strictly technical sense, refers to the dissolution of a marriage. In reality, there's rarely anything technical about it. Divorce is a largely emotion-driven process, with plenty of hurt to go around. Unfortunately, in the midst of all that hurt, you will be expected to make important decisions that could impact you, your spouse and your children for years or decades to come. This is why it's important to rely on an experienced Mooresville family law attorney who can guide you through the many complexities associated with a divorce. Though you may be hurting, a number of legal issues will need to be dealt with and formalized as part of the larger divorce process and having someone to serve as a guide can be an enormous relief to many families.
One of the important legal issues dealt with as part of the divorce process concerns child custody arrangements. A significant chunk of energy in the family law world is devoted to deciding who gets to make decisions about and spend time with children. Beyond just time spent, it is also critical to decide who gets to make parenting decisions concerning things like medical issues, religion, education and extracurricular activities. These categories of parental responsibility must also be divvied up during a divorce. Though the most common venue for child custody issues is a divorce case, it isn't the only one. There could be claims for custody by grandparents or petitions that a parent is unfit and ought to have his or her rights terminated. In cases where children were born out of wedlock, there can even be disputes to assert parental rights, formally recognizing someone as the father of the child.
Beyond divorce and custody challenges, the family law umbrella extends to cover things like adoption. Adoption can be a very lengthy and complicated process, one that is critical to get right. Those families in Mooresville contemplating adopting a foster child or with step-children that they may be considering adopting should reach out to an experienced family law attorney for assistance. The same is true for same-sex parents who want to be sure that their parental rights are secure. Each of these examples illustrates that legal questions regarding children are not limited strictly to divorce cases and can impact families in a wide variety of circumstances.
Family law also commonly involves issues surrounding support. Support can involve children or former spouses (also known as alimony). With children, the calculation of support is fairly straightforward and requires consideration of the income of both spouses as well as the time the parents spend with the kids. The costs of supporting the children are then divided according to these factors. For spousal support, it can be a lot trickier. There is no clear calculation for support and no clear time limit for when the support runs out. This means that when it comes to spousal support there can be a lot of uncertainty.
Division of property is a common issue in divorce cases, and thus an important part of family law. The process of splitting assets is formally known as equitable division and it is often a contentious exercise, as no one likes to part with their possessions (or, for that matter, their money). The general rule for equitable division is that all premarital assets remain with the party who brought them into the marriage, while assets acquired during the course of the marriage must be divided in an equitable fashion. It's important to notice here that the term used is equitable, not equal. Though family courts strive for fairness, that doesn't always mean a 50/50 split.
Sadly, family law also includes things like domestic violence. When violence occurs in your home, there are thankfully many actions you can take to provide security for yourself and your children. One option is to apply for what is known as a "50B", meaning a Domestic Violence Order of Protection. Another, especially in serious cases, is to pursue criminal charges against the perpetrator. The experienced attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC in Mooresville know the ins and outs of both the family law and criminal law worlds and can assist however you choose to move forward.
Our Managing Partner Matthew Arnold is a Board Certified Specialist in Family Law, an important distinction that means he has met very strict standards of training set by the North Carolina State Bar Board of Legal Specialization. The attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are well versed in all things family law and are eager to help those in Mooresville, North Carolina, no matter the issue. Contact us today for help with your family law legal needs.