Valdese Divorce Lawyer

Home - Valdese Divorce Lawyer

Valdese Divorce Attorney

Whether you’re planning on initiating a divorce or have found yourself in the process because your spouse is initiating it, you’ll need to make it through the complex process that is a divorce in North Carolina. Experience is something that is critical to getting what you want out of the process. Let the skilled Valdese attorneys at Helton, Cody & Associates, PLLC put our experience to work for you. We can help you position yourself well for whatever the unique circumstances of your case may be.

Divorce in North Carolina

Divorce proceedings in Valdese, North Carolina can’t begin until the couple has been separated for at least one year. This means living apart from each other, and the intention on the part of at least one of the parties must be to end the marriage. The exact details of what counts as separation and what doesn’t can sometimes be difficult to figure out. Moving back in can mean restarting the one-year period. However, the separation is not considered interrupted by isolated marital relations. Since every case is unique, we can help you understand how the separation rule fits your circumstances.

Valdese Divorce Lawyer

No-Fault vs. Fault Divorces

Most divorces in North Carolina are no-fault, which means there is no requirement to accuse or prove wrongdoing on anyone’s part. While these divorces tend to be cheaper and take less time, there are cases where one party will choose a fault divorce, which requires that wrongdoing be proved. The reason for this may be to try and gain the upper hand with regard to alimony, the division of property, or child custody. Even in cases where fault is proven, there is no guarantee of anything additional for the innocent party in the final ruling.

Divorce From Bed and Board

A divorce from bed and board is not actually a divorce but more a court-ordered separation that is in place until a divorce can be finalized. In these cases, there is an at-fault party who may lose some rights in the final divorce. The judge will consider a divorce from bed and board in cases of:

  • Adultery
  • Abandonment
  • Substance abuse
  • Forced departure from residence
  • Making life intolerable through humiliation
  • Cruel and dangerous treatment

Separation Agreement

Although the court has the final say, putting together a separation agreement can be a means of avoiding contentious divorce hearings. These agreements can cover things like property division, child custody, and child support. It can be helpful to have your lawyer involved in the process to make sure all issues are considered.

Child Custody

In North Carolina, child custody can be either sole or joint and is divided into physical and legal domains. Physical custody describes where the child will have a primary residence. Legal custody regards decision-making for the child on issues like education and medicine. The kinds of custody do not have to be uniform. For instance, one parent may be given sole physical custody, but the judge may rule that the legal custody should still be shared jointly. The judge is also not meant to show preference toward either the mother or father in determining custody. Whatever custody decision the judge makes must be that which is in the child’s interests. The same principle will also guide a child support ruling.

Property Division

In North Carolina, the guiding principle for property division is that there be an equitable outcome. The starting presumption of the court is that a 50-50 split is probably an equitable decision. However, there are circumstances where this may not be the case.


Even after a divorce is finalized, things like child custody, child support, and alimony may be modified. For instance, if the party receiving alimony gets married or moves in with a romantic partner, the alimony will be canceled. Petitioning for modification requires demonstrating a change in circumstances. To modify the child custody agreement, it must be demonstrated that the change in circumstances is connected to the welfare of the child. For instance, things like:

  • Remarriage of a parent
  • A parent moving
  • A parent cohabitating with someone
  • A drop in school performance or behavior
  • Change in finances
  • Testimony from the child or parent

Divorce Lawyer FAQs

Q: How Can Custody Be Divided in North Carolina?

A: North Carolina custody makes rulings regarding legal custody, which covers decision-making regarding a child’s upbringing, and physical custody, which covers where a child resides. In both of those categories of custody, the courts may grant either sole custody, which means just one parent is responsible, or joint custody, which means both parents share the responsibilities.

Q: Is North Carolina a 50/50 Divorce State?

A: North Carolina is not a strict 50/50 state, although an even split of marital property is preferred. The goal is an equitable division of property. Depending on the specifics of each case, this may not always mean an even split.

Q: Do I Need an Attorney to Get a Divorce in North Carolina?

A: You are not required to have an attorney to get divorced; however, it’s good practice to do so. An experienced attorney understands the process and can help better your odds of getting closer to the outcomes you’re seeking. A divorce is also a stressful process. A lawyer can help ease some of that stress by clarifying what steps are next and handling preparations for filings.

Q: How Do I Get a Divorce in North Carolina Without Waiting a Year?

A: There’s almost no legal way to avoid North Carolina’s one-year and one-day separation requirement before filing a divorce. The Court may choose to waive it in very rare instances, but it’s not a good idea to count on that possibility. The most useful thing you can do to accelerate the divorce process is to use the year of separation to work out things like a separation agreement and prepare for filings.

Get Divorce Help You Can Trust

Divorce can be complicated. Nothing’s easy about rearranging your life in such a dramatic fashion, and the emotional stress of the situation only adds to the difficulty. We’ve helped many people through the divorce process and understand how vulnerable you can feel at times. We can help ease some of that stress and help you feel a little more confident in the steps to take to get where you want to be. If you’re in Burke County, Catawba County, or Caldwell County, contact us, and let us help you with your situation.

Our Location

827 Highland Avenue Northeast Hickory, NC 28601


Toll Free:888-321-0494

Mailing Address:PO Box 909 Hickory, NC 28603