While amicable family law cases tend to be rare, they do exist and it is possible to handle family law matters amicably. Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Alimony, and Equitable Distribution can be very stressful and very contentious. It does not always have to be. Although we have clients who want aggressive representation and want to fight and litigate through every individual factor, we also have clients who don’t. We have clients who come to us and have already worked out all the main details with their former partner and just want advice on how to move forward.
In this blog, we will talk about the softer side of family law…which is something we don’t get to do very often. This blog provides some basic information on how things can be worked out without too much of a fight, as long as both parties agree. As always, this is intended for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the advice and counsel of a family law attorney.
Why wouldn’t someone want to fight for everything?
There is an old phrase “time is money” and family law attorneys charge by the hour for everything from phone calls, to drafting to court appearances. We have written about that in great detail here. Because of this, one of the reasons that some people want to work things out is because it is cheaper for both parties.
Another reason for this desire is a consideration that we remind clients of that they often don’t realize. Anything that parties cannot agree on must be litigated in a court of law in order to get those items legally resolved. The way that is done is through a trial, and civil trials are recorded (either using a court reporter, or through an audio recording system). Also, all filings and evidence entered in a civil trial are kept…forever. All of this is public record.
This is important because during the course of a trial all the allegations, all the pictures, all the audio recordings entered, and all the testimony will be available for any member of the public to view, forever. Particularly if there are children involved, this is something that people would do well to remember because when that child gets older, they can go to the courthouse and find out every allegation mommy made against daddy and vice versa.
Further, when you litigate an issue, the result is 100% up to the judge, and both parties often walk away dissatisfied.
Below are just some of the examples of how things can be handled amicably:
Actually, these are commonly amicable family law cases. An uncontested divorce is when two people who were married, get a divorce without any controversy over any financial or property issues. In North Carolina, all that is required is that the parties have been separated for at least one year and one day before filing and that at least one of the parties intends to make that separation permanent.
A separation agreement is a contract that two parties can enter into that addresses all the financial and property matters involved with the ending of their relationship. We have written some in depth information on this that is viewable here. This is also generally an amicable family law matter.
A consent order is an agreement entered into by both parties that is signed by the judge and becomes law. Any violation of said order can result in an action for contempt.
You still need to get the court involved
All of the examples we describe above though are not contentious, still required court involvement. Orders need to be signed by judges and actions need to be filed so that if something goes wrong or parties change their mind, everyone is still bond by law.
Family law matters can be very complicated and very stressful. Even amicable family law matters tend to be complicated and stressful. Before you proceed on your own you should probably have a consultation with a family law attorney. Contact us and we can help.