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Separation


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Simple Divorce by Clerk



Since you have been separated for 3+ years and have no disputes, you may be a good candidate for a simple, uncontested divorce by clerk.

Since you have been separated for more than one year and there are no disputes, a simple, uncontested divorce by clerk may be ideal. However, the spouses should sign a separation agreement formalizing the terms you've agreed to first.


Since you have no lived in separate homes for at least one year, you do not qualify for divorce yet. However, you can sign a separation agreement formalizing the terms you and your spouse agreed to and file for divorce once a year has passed from the separation date.


The general idea of a simple, uncontested divorce by clerk is that your spouse is notified of the divorce, but does not contest it for at least 30 days, so you "win" your "lawsuit" by default. Some aspects of the process may vary depending on your circumstances and the courthouse you're in.

There are three main steps. Step 1: A stack of documents are prepared and filed with the court, starting a lawsuit for divorce. Step 2: A copy of the documents is sent to your spouse via certified mail. Step 3: After 30 days, another stack of documents are filed asking the court to sign a divorce decree.


The following circumstances can make your divorce more complicated:

1. You do not know your spouse's address.

2. Your spouse is in the military

3. Neither spouse is in a county that does divorce by clerk (Wake does clerk divorces)

4. Neither spouse has been living in North Carolina for at least six months

5. Your spouse lives in another country or state


A separation agreement is a contract both spouses sign agreeing to a set of terms related to their divorce. Generally, signing a separation agreement before filing for divorce is a good idea.

Once a divorce decree is issued, certain legal claims related to divorce are forever waived. As a result, a divorce filing without a separation agreement may prompt your spouse to pursue these claims in court. In contrast, a detailed separation agreement adds clarity to the exact terms you agreed to, makes those terms enforceable, and prevents either spouse from changing their mind.


Doing a simple divorce by clerk as a DIY project will cost about $250 in court fees and expenses. Hiring attorney King costs $750-$950 (depending on whether your county requires a hearing before a judge) and includes covering those expenses ($500-$750 more than DIY). 

To hire attorney King, click the Buy button below. Then, follow the online prompts to sign the contract, pay the fees, and provide your information in an online form.

Still have questions? Schedule a $50 consultation.


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Ask


Since you don't know if your spouse will cooperate, the first step is to go ask them. Their answer will determine whether you have to start litigation to compel them to cooperate.


Here are a few tips for persuading your spouse to cooperate in negotiations:

1. Ask your spouse to consult an attorney before deciding. Most attorneys will encourage clients to share evidence and negotiate. Your spouse can ask a lawyer for advice on JustAnswers.com for less than $50.

2. Explain that the court will require both spouses to disclose evidence and participate in structured negotiations anyway. Doing so voluntarily is easier on everyone involved.

3. Give your spouse time and space to make up their mind

4. File a lawsuit, which usually prompts your spouse to hire an attorney and presses them to cooperate to avoid court.


It varies depending on your circumstances, but here are a few examples:

1. Tax records to verify income in order to calculate child support or alimony

2. Bank statements to verify assets, debts, pensions, retirement accounts, etc.

3. Receipts verifying child expenses or some other matters

4. Disclosures of any debt or asset of value, such as jewelry, business interests, or intellectual property and valuations if necessary

Formal disclosures may not be necessary in some instances.


Generally, you should figure out if your spouse will cooperate before hiring King @ Law, so you can purchase the right service package (negotiation or litigation).

However, you can schedule a $50 consultation and invite your spouse to the meeting to discuss the process and ask questions. Additionally, you can use our quote tool to purchase a negotiation or litigation package, then upgrade/downgrade as necessary.

In either case, attorney King would start by sending a letter asking your spouse to cooperate in voluntary negotiations.

Still have questions? Schedule a $50 consultation.

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Negotiation Format



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Cooperation


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Informal Negotiations



In informal negotiations, the spouses share offers and counter-offers until they reach an agreement, without sharing evidence or paying for mediation.  It's a quick, affordable solution when the level of conflict between the spouses is low and the spouses are both familiar with the financials of the marriage.


One spouse offers to go first. They put together a settlement proposal, including an accounting and an explanation of the law that justifies their proposed terms. The other spouse points out errors or makes other arguments to support a counter-offer. The spouses continue to swap counter-offers, providing arguments for their position each time and getting advice from their respective attorneys.

In formal negotiations, the spouses share bank statements, tax returns, and other evidence that is reviewed by their attorneys to support their accounting. In informal negotiations, the spouses are either relying on honesty or trusting their own familiarity with marital finances.


Our $1,600 informal negotiation package includes drafting an accounting based on information you provide, preparing up to five offers/counter-offers, and legal advice on each round of offers. It also includes drafting a separation agreement based on the terms the spouses agree to, any quit claim deeds needed to transfer real estate, and other paperwork ordinarily prepared by an attorney as necessary.

However, getting a divorce decree is sold separately, since we don't know yet which spouse will agree to be responsible for it. To purchase our informal negotiation service, click Buy below, then follow the prompts to sign the contract, pay for the service, and complete our client information form.

Still have questions? Schedule a $50 consultation.

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Formal Negotiations



In formal negotiations, the spouses share financial records and other evidence, then participate in a structured negotiation process, like mediation. In mediation, a neutral mediator shares offers and counter-offers between the spouses, while encouraging each spouse to make compromises and concessions. The process is extremely effective at resolving even intense disputes.


The mediation is scheduled several months out with a mediator chosen by the spouses. The spouses agree on what evidence needs to be shared and a day where the swapping of evidence will occur. Once both spouses have collected and shared the evidence, each will prepare an accounting that supports their initial settlement offer.

The mediation itself is often an all-day (or two-day) event. The spouses share offers and counter-offers but also hammer out issues, get advice, review the evidence, and make tough compromises. Each spouse is in a separate conference room with their attorney while the mediator goes back and forth. 


You can get a flat-fee quote for formal negotiations from King @ Law by answering a few more questions on the next page. Most cases are about $2-$5k. Informal negotiations are only $1,600 but are unlikely to succeed if one spouse is not familiar with marital finances or the dispute is intense.

King @ Law offers a half-now, half-later deal to clients with good credit scores. In rare instances, such as homemakers with wealthy spouses but no immediate access to funds, we offer a purely pay-later deal.

Still have questions? Schedule a $50 consultation.

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Negotiations Quote



In formal negotiations, we review financial records, discuss the law, prepare an accounting, negotiate other marital issues, and participate in mediation. It's similar to the lower-cost informal negotiations, except formal negotiation is more involved and includes mediation. Keep in mind that our quote does not include the cost of the mediator.






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Litigation



Generally, we want to stay out of government courts. Courtroom litigation is slow, tedious, expensive, and bureaucratic. It's like being at the DMV for years. However, government courts are the ONLY way to force your spouse to cooperate involuntarily or be forced to do something against their will.


The court will force your spouse to disclose evidence and participate in a negotiation process called mediation. Also, filing a lawsuit often prompts an uncooperative spouse to hire an attorney, stop dragging their feet, or make more reasonable settlement offers.

Finally, if the spouses are unable to resolve their disputes, there will eventually be a trial where a judge will make decisions about what will happen in your divorce. However, this is rare.


You can get a flat-fee quote from King @ Law by answering a few more questions on the next page. Most cases are about $5-$10k. To reduce the cost, try to get your spouse to cooperate in out-of-court negotiations instead.

We offer a half-now, half-later deal to clients with good credit scores. In rare cases, we offer a pure pay-later to home-makers with wealthy spouses but no immediate access to funds.

Still have questions? Schedule a $50 consultation.

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Litigation Quote



In litigation, spouses file and serve copious volumes of motions, disclosures, certifications, hearing requests, and other documents. We schedule hearings, present the evidence to a judge, and get a decision from the court. This service package only includes 90 days of litigation, but in many cases that is all that's needed before both spouses are swimming in paperwork and legal fees, forcing them to do the more sensible thing of cooperating in negotiations.






PLEASE NOTE: King @ Law does not handle litigated cases focused on custody, domestic violence, kidnapping, restraining orders, etc.

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Divorce: Where to Start

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Hire King @ Law

Your quote:


Still have questions? Schedule a $50 consultation.



Contract

1. This Quote

THIS TOOL PROVIDES A QUOTE BASED ON THE INFORMATION YOU PROVIDED. HOWEVER, YOUR ACTUAL BILL MAY VARY IF THE SERVICES PROVIDED OR THE FACTS OF YOUR DIVORCE DIFFER FROM WHAT YOU ENTERED IN THIS FORM.  

For example:
* You may get a quote for a divorce by clerk, but a hearing before a judge may become necessary
* You may believe alimony is not in dispute, then your spouse may raise the issue later on
* You may purchase out-of-court negotiation services, but end up needing litigation

Your actual bill will always be calculated using this tool and the terms of this contract based on the actual services provided and facts of your case. Legal services this tool cannot provide a flat-fee quote for will be billed at $200 per-hour or any flat-fee we agree to in writing. There will be no refund for only using part of the scope of services provided in a flat-fee estimate or for un-used services. For example, if even a small amount of litigation is necessary, you will pay the fee for litigation.

You understand that all the information you and this quote tool provides is part of a formal, legal, and binding contract between you and King @ Law for legal services.

2. Expenses

Your flat-fee quote includes routine legal expenses many law firms charge separately for. For example, King @ Law will never bill you for court fees, printing costs, service of process expenses, postal fees, filing fees with the Register of Deeds, or any other similar expenses. However, you will be responsible for any other professional services, such as appraisers, accountants, expert witnesses, mediators, or arbitrators. Additionally, you are responsible for any of your spouse's attorney fees awarded in your case, sanctions, or other costs awarded by the court.

3. Other Terms

This agreement is subject to a check for any conflicts of interest and King @ Law's approval. In the event King @ Law identifies a conflict of interest or declines your business within 10 days of payment, any payment you made will be refunded. If you do not pay your legal fees within 30-days of recieving a notice of an amount due, you will be responsible for King @ Law's legal fees in pursuing payment, including $200 per-hour for any time spent.

You agree that King @ Law is authorized to destroy records or documents related to your divorce once six months have passed from the end of representation. You understand that King @ Law's services are contingent on your full cooperation and may also be affected by the cooperation of your spouse. 

In the event this contract conflicts with anything else on King @ Law's website, this contract will take priority. In the event this contract conflicts with a written agreement between you and King @ Law, that written agreement will take priority over this one only if King @ Law expressly states so.


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