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Commonly asked questions about divorce

Divorces come with many questions. Who will get the home you live in? What happens to your children or pets? How can you move forward with your divorce as quickly as possible? Here are a few questions and answers that may help.

How long do you have to separate before a divorce?

If you've just separated from your spouse, you will need to wait at least a year before you can file for a divorce. While this time is spent apart, you can work through things like your separation agreement and child custody, alimony arrangements or asset division concerns.

Do you have to wait to receive child support or to divide your assets?

Some people mistakenly believe that child support and asset division has to wait until divorce is filed, but that's not true. If you and your spouse can agree on the terms, you can start the distribution of property and even child support payments in advance of the divorce. If you can't agree, your attorneys may need to help you negotiate with each other.

If you go through the divorce and need to receive or pay child support, alimony or other payments, then the court will issue an order at that time unless an agreement was already made and is approved by the court. If for any reason there is an issue with child support payments, there are some ways to change the payment amounts in court if there is a good reason to do so. Asking for a modification is usually acceptable if you've recently lost or obtained a job, have altered family circumstances or other similar circumstance.

Source: NC Courts, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed Aug. 23, 2016

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