When marriages fail, it doesn’t matter what your gender is or what the gender of your spouse is; it’s is a painful, trying experience for anyone. And divorce does not discriminate. It touches heterosexual and homosexual relationships, alike. When marriages fall apart, one or both partners will usually seek the advice of an attorney before proceeding with the divorce. First, you’ll establish grounds for divorce. There are two types in North Carolina: absolute divorce and divorce from bed and board. An absolute divorce means that the marriage will be officially over after being separated for one year.
The divorce from bed and board is a fault-based legal action, typically occurring when one spouse refuses to leave, will not agree to separate, and/or will not agree to facilitate with alimony, child custody, child support, and property distribution.
When you reach the point where you know that you cannot repair your marriage, then it is helpful if you have a prenuptial agreement in place. Unfortunately, many don’t think of this step before marriage. Without a prenuptial agreement, you should attempt to amicably divide the assets and debt that remain from the marriage, try to work out a parenting plan and child support for any children who may be involved, and strive for a peaceful separation, to make it easier on everyone. Sadly, this is easier, in many cases, to say than to do. If you can do it, then you won’t need an attorney to do anything except for filing paperwork.
In situations where none of this is possible to accomplish because you cannot agree, then North Carolina will require that you attend a court appointed mediation to attempt to settle your case. If you still cannot do so, then a judge will make these decisions for you. One example would be a case of equitable distribution, where no agreement can be reached among the divorcing persons. In this situation, the court demands a complete listing of all assets and debts from the marriage. In North Carolina, equitable distribution means that the judge will divide the assets and debts to ensure that each person is treated fairly. That does not mean that things will be exactly even, but that the fairest decisions will be made. In a situation like this, it’s important to have an LGBT family law attorney to protect your interests.