Family Law


Step Parents: A new spouse of a parent may legally adopt a child from a parent’s prior relationship.

Grandparents: A grandparent can petition the Court to adopt a grandchild to care for when the biological parents are unable to do so.

Alienation of Affection: A civil action brought against a party because it is believed that certain actions by this party contributed to or caused the loss of affection of their spouse.

Alimony: Payments paid by a supporting spouse to a dependent spouse for his or her support and maintenance in a lump sum or on a continuing basis for a specified or indefinite term.

Child Custody: Any parent, relative, agency, institution, or other person claiming the right to custody of a minor child may file an action in Court. Custody, through a Court action, is awarded according to the courts determination of the best interest and welfare of the child.

Child Support: Child support is paid to a person having physical custody of a child for the use and benefit of the child. The North Carolina Child Support Guidelines provide detailed instructions to determine the child support amounts.

Domestic Violence: Attempting to cause or intentionally causing bodily injury and/or placing someone in fear of “imminent serious bodily injury” by the threat of the use of force. A Domestic Violence action (often referred to as a “50B” action), may be filed after completing forms provided by your local Clerk of Court office.

Equitable Distribution: During the course of a marriage, property and debt which was acquired during that marriage is subject to distribution after the parties separate. Once there is a separation, either party may file an action for a temporary (interim distribution) and permanent equitable division of these marital assets and debts.

Grandparents Rights: Grandparents may file claims for custody against legal parents, or may file for visitation rights under certain circumstances.

Modification of Prior Orders: A Motion in the Cause for modification may be filed in most family law cases anytime after an order has been entered in that case; this motion may be filed requesting that all or some parts of the Order be modified, due to changed circumstances, since the entry of the prior order.

Post-Separation Support: A temporary support claim brought by a dependent spouse who does not have the financial means to meet their reasonable financial needs, and the supporting spouse has the ability to meet these reasonable financial needs.

Separation Agreements: A legally binding contract that details the settlement decisions agreed to by both parties. Separation Agreements, if prepared correctly, can provide parties with a less expensive and less contentious alternative to a lawsuit which may require numerous court appearances.

Visitation: Custodial time awarded to the other parent (grandparents, in certain circumstances).

Uncontested Divorce: North Carolina is a “no-fault” state therefore, an absolute divorce can be granted to either the husband or wife after they have lived separate and apart from each other for at least one year prior to filing of the divorce action. (* Any alimony or property distribution claim must be made prior to granting of the divorce or the right to make these claims is forever barred.)