Do you have to go to court for a divorce in North Carolina? No you do not!

The matrimonial statutes in North Carolina are a complex web of legal rights and entitlements that arise out of the antiquated notion that while you don’t need the court’s permission to get married, you have to have the court’s permission to get un-married. These days, you have to show the state that you’ve been separated […]

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Law Commission and Pre-Nups



Resolution today welcomed the report by the Law Commission, Matrimonial Property, Needs and Agreements: The Future of Financial Orders on Divorce and Dissolution, which makes two key recommendations.

The first is that ‘qualifying nuptial agreements’ (in particular, the agreements commonly referred to as pre-nups) become enforceable contracts.

The second recommendation is that guidance be produced on the meaning of ‘financial needs,’ so that it is clearer to anyone going through divorce and separation what the financial outcome is likely to be.

Resolution welcomed the recommendation to introduce legislation for ‘qualifying nuptial agreements,’ which would make pre-nups (and post-nups, which are becoming more widely used) legally binding – providing they meet specified requirements.

Resolution has been calling for this change in the law for a number of years.  With second marriages on the rise, people marrying later in life, and many couples entering marriage with money and property already to their name, demand for pre-nups has been on the rise.

Resolution doesn’t expect this measure to lead to every engaged couple in the country seeking a pre-nup, but for those couples who want to have one in place, it will make their legal situation much clearer and reduce uncertainty upon separation.

It’s also important to note that the court will still have the ability to review agreements in so far as they deal with people’s financial needs.

Individuals’ financial needs – in particular those of any children – are still the overriding consideration, and couples will not be able to make binding agreements which allow them to avoid future consideration of financial needs.

There is, therefore, a risk that we could end up with a two-tier arrangement, where one type of agreement is legally binding, and others still open to challenge – couples need to be aware of this, and that’s why the recommendation that people are required to seek legal advice is so important.
  
Resolution welcomed the Law Commission’s recommendation that the Family Justice Council should produce guidance to give people a better understanding of what is currently meant by ‘financial needs.’  It would, said Resolution, take some of the uncertainty out of financial outcomes following a divorce, which can often be a major cause of stress and anxiety during the process.

 Splitting up can be one of the most traumatic events anyone can go through in their lives. Resolution welcomes any measure that provides greater clarity and helps people have realistic expectations of what their finances might look like after separation, as well as greater confidence in any arrangements they make.

It is absolutely right that, when looking at financial needs, parents’ responsibilities to their children are the first consideration. This is one of the overarching principles in Resolution’s Code of Practice that members abide by.

Guidance on needs should encourage consistency, dispel myths and manage expectations. This will help anyone going through separation, even if they don’t have access to legal advice and support, or are trying to reach agreements on their own, during a very traumatic time.

Whilst welcoming the Law Commission’s recommendations, Resolution emphasised that wider reforms of the law surrounding separation and divorce were needed in order to support separating couples.

The last major reform to divorce law was in 1973, and Resolution believes more changes are needed to make the law relevant to modern day. For example, Resolution wants to see the removal of the need to assign blame if a marriage breaks down, which can often ramp up the conflict and cause unnecessary emotional distress.

Resolution would also like to see more wholesale reform of the law about financial provision on divorce, to provide clearer guidance about likely outcomes. It’s important that anyone going through a divorce has some degree of certainty about how long it will be before they achieve financial independence and have some degree of closure.




AN ART TO ART DISCUSSION


Recently I visited an exhibition of modern art. Is digital photography responsible for the obscure interpretation of still life in paintings? Now that cameras on our mobile phones coupled with photo-editing apps can help fumbling thumbs reproduce reality, painting has become a medium solely to demonstrate raw beauty and emotion.

To understand the meaning of some of these colourful works it is almost compulsory to browse with a gallery guide in hand. If you actually want to experience the impact you could do what many of the couples I followed round were doing: ignoring the guide and working out for themselves the effect and impact of some of the larger pieces. Trouble is that art can be a very personal encounter that isn't always made for sharing.

Net result (or maybe it was just the effect of a miserable, wet Saturday) was disagreement. Raised voices followed together with a hasty exit on my part to avoid embarrassment and the compulsion to hand out business cards, or, as in my last post, to usher the offending pairs to the tearoom.


Can You Get a Free Divorce?

The quick answer is “no.” However the thought of divorce can be scary and many people fear financial ruin is part of the process.  The real question is not “can I get a divorce for free,” it is “what kind of divorce do I want?” Your choice of lawyer can have a huge impact on […]

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Til Divorce Do Us Part

Just a quick heads-up for our readers in NYC… There's a new musical in town! It's an amusing take on the trials and tribulations of divorce and is based on a true story. You'll be treated to songs that any divorced woman can relate to and revel in this humorous tale of divorce and self-discovery. You can find out more about times and locations at http://www.tildivorcethemusical.com
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