Advantages of Mediation in Your Raleigh Divorce Case

Raleigh Divorce Lawyer MediationRaleigh Divorce  – When and why should you mediate?

Mediation is a form of “alternative dispute resolution.”  It is a way to resolve cases that was an “alternative” to a trial or hearing.

At one time, not too long ago, this was a new idea in family law cases.  Now, if you file a financial case or custody case in Raleigh at the Wake County Courthouse, mediation is required.

It is a process by which the parties (and their lawyers) meet with a neutral person who assists in settling the differences.  That neutral person is called the mediator.

There are several advantages to mediating your Raleigh divorce case:

  • It creates a framework of communication between the parties.
  • It allows both parties to participate.
  • It provides a private environment.
  • It is a confidential process.
  • It makes the parties invest in the agreement and thus increases the compliance.
  • It is less expensive than litigating.

Choosing Your Mediator

Picking a mediator is the easy part.  Raleigh and Wake County are full of experienced and fair mediators.  In the same way you would pick an attorney who knows family law, find one who is also a family lawyer.  Preferably one who litigates cases.  Why would you want a mediator who also goes to court? Because the mediator has a clear reference of what judges do in various factual scenarios.

Furthermore, you don’t even have to pick a mediator in your custody case because one will be supplied by the Wake County Custody mediation office.

Preparing for Your Raleigh Divorce Mediation

Preparing is important.  If you are going to Raleigh child custody mediation through the county, your attorney will not be at there with you.  However, you should talk to your attorney prior to mediation to prepare.  If you are going to a financial mediation with your lawyer, make sure to prepare in advance and carry along important documents.

What is the biggest downside of this process?  It’s that it can’t force either party to be reasonable.  For mediation to work the way it is supposed to, both parties must engage in the process with an attitude of good faith.

Do you want to learn more about mediation?

You might want to read these articles:

Do you need an attorney or a mediator?

If you need an attorney or a mediator in your case call Scott Allen at (919) 863-4183.

 

Guardians and the Family Law Case

In Raleigh, NC where I have practiced law most of the last seventeen-plus years there have been a few rare occurrences in my cases.  More rare than lunar eclipses in fact.  I am referring to the appointment of guardians in family law cases.

Under the NC Rules of Civil procedure a guardian may be appointed for a party or a child.  A guardian in this capacity is called a “guardian ad litem” and frequently referred to as a GAL.

Guardians are appointed for a party in a divorce case when that spouse is not mentally or physically capable of handling the matters related to the litigation.  For example, if a spouse suffers from schizophrenia or other serious psychological condition where their decision-making process is impaired, a guardian can be appointed.

It’s the guardian’s job to look out for the party’s legal interests and assist the attorney in prosecuting or defending the case. GAL’S for adults in domestic cases often have a very hard job.  They have to balance the duty to the party for whom he or she is guardian and listen to their stated wants and desires while using their best judgment about how to proceed forward in the divorce case.

It’s also a tricky situation for the attorney who thinks his or her client may need a guardian.  Frequently, however, there is a mental health professional who is making it clear that the client shouldn’t be or can’t make decisions for himself or herself.

Guardians for children have a similar role.  In family law cases, they are frequently appointed in cases where there are allegations of parental abuse or neglect that involve child protective services.  Children’s guardians are somewhat rare in Wake County in the “normal” child custody case where two parents simply disagree over scheduling and decision-making issues.

The guardian for a child in a case has the ability to report to the court how the child doing and be a voice for the child’s interest in the court process.  I have seen instances where the  GAL takes the witness stand and reports on how the child is doing in school, in therapy, and what the GAL wants for the custodial arrangement for the child.

Of course, whatever the GAL says in court, the final decision in a custody case is for the judge to make.  However, judges frequently give great weight to the statement of the guardian.

 

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Raleigh lawyer Scott Allen has litigated  cases involving guardians in custody, equitable distribution and alimony

If you have questions or need assistance call him at (919) 863-4183.  

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Postseparation Support in North Carolina

postseparation support Postseparation support is a ration of the 1995 statutory amendments that overhauled the alimony and temporary alimony law in North Carolina.  Postseparation support is temporary alimony.   It is designed as a stop-gap measure to help dependent spouses get support after separation and until final alimony is awarded or denied.

Fault usually plays little to no role in the postseparation support hearing.  Frequently the postseparation support award is based primarily on financial affidavits that are filled out by the parties prior to the hearing.    In Wake County, North Carolina, postseparation support hearings are time-limited by the court.

 

§ 50‑16.2A.  Postseparation support.

(a)        In an action brought pursuant to Chapter 50 of the General Statutes, either party may move for postseparation support. The verified pleading, verified motion, or affidavit of the moving party shall set forth the factual basis for the relief requested.

(b)        In ordering postseparation support, the court shall base its award on the financial needs of the parties, considering the parties’ accustomed standard of living, the present employment income and other recurring earnings of each party from any source, their income‑earning abilities, the separate and marital debt service obligations, those expenses reasonably necessary to support each of the parties, and each party’s respective legal obligations to support any other persons.

(c)        Except when subsection (d) of this section applies, a dependent spouse is entitled to an award of postseparation support if, based on consideration of the factors specified in subsection (b) of this section, the court finds that the resources of the dependent spouse are not adequate to meet his or her reasonable needs and the supporting spouse has the ability to pay.

(d)       At a hearing on postseparation support, the judge shall consider marital misconduct by the dependent spouse occurring prior to or on the date of separation in deciding whether to award postseparation support and in deciding the amount of postseparation support. When the judge considers these acts by the dependent spouse, the judge shall also consider any marital misconduct by the supporting spouse in deciding whether to award postseparation support and in deciding the amount of postseparation support.

(e)        Nothing herein shall prevent a court from considering incidents of post date‑of‑separation marital misconduct as corroborating evidence supporting other evidence that marital misconduct occurred during the marriage and prior to date of separation. (1995, c. 319, s. 2.)

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Raleigh divorce lawyer Scott Allen handles postseparation support, alimony, and all other types of family law matters.  

If you have questions or need assistance call him at (919) 863-4183 or email at sallen@allenspence.com.