Financial considerations in family law cases are amongst the most important of considerations that a family law litigant must consider. Being involved with a family law case is a very stressful thing. There are many emotions involved, it can be quite time consuming, and it can get quite expensive. Yes, the cost of hiring a family law attorney, and the cost of that representation can get very expensive very fast but that is just one of the many financial considerations in family law cases.
In this blog, we will talk about some of the financial considerations in family law cases. Like all of our blogs, this is intended for informational purposes only, and is not intended to substitute the advice and counsel of a family law attorney.
Why does it so often become about money?
Unfortunately, a lot of the times it cannot be about much else. In essence, family law is the process of getting the courts involved in a domestic relationship. It is asking a judge or court to intervene in the end of marriage, romantic relationship, or parenting relationship. There is only so much a judge can do. A judge does not have the power to make someone love someone else, or make someone considerate of someone else’s feeling. A judge can’t even make someone be a good parent. What a judge can do is hold someone to some financial obligations.
What areas of family law have financial considerations?
Pre-nuptial and Post-nuptial agreements
- Prior to marriage, a couple can enter into a contract that outlines what will occur at separation with regards to financial considerations. This is called a pre-nuptial agreement. If the parties execute this contract after they have already been married, it is called a post-nuptial agreement.
- These agreements cover how property will be distributed and how money will be disbursed.
- In a Child Support action, the court determines how much money should be paid by one person to another for the purpose of the financial needs of a minor child. The court typically uses a child support calculator that is standard across all of North Carolina.
- Equitable distribution is the separation of property between former spouses after a marriage has ended. The parties can agree to the distribution or this can be decided by the court. It covers the real property, personal property, and financial assets.
Alimony/Post Separation support
- Post-Separation support is the money paid from one spouse to another for their maintenance, after separation but prior to divorce. Alimony is the money paid from one former spouse to another former spouse after a marriage has ended.
- The court makes these determinations based on the income of both parties and several other considerations, including but not limited to; the length of the marriage, the income of both spouses, and the behavior of the parties during the marriage.
- A married couple can enter into a separation agreement, which is a contract that allows for determinations of many of the above-mentioned items. The parties have to enter into this freely and voluntarily, and it can be filed with the court and incorporated into a divorce.
Financial disclosures and financial preparation
- Cases involving issues such as child support or equitable distribution require financial affidavits to be filed with the court and shared with the opposing parties. These are disclosures that spell out the assets, income, and expenses of both parties.
Dependent spouse determination
- One of the necessary steps in an alimony, or post separation support case is to determine if one of the parties is a dependent spouse. This is something that people should be prepared for and think about prior to a trial.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, and there are many other things to consider in a family law cases that have nothing to do with money. If you are planning to become involved in a family law action, contact us. We handle family law cases in Charlotte, North Carolina and the surrounding areas.