Family Law

Family Law Attorneys Serving Guilford and Davidson Counties

Lawyers who fight for you during divorce or child custody proceedings

Divorce, child custody or child support and restraining order proceedings are emotionally tough. The future of your children, your family and your financial safety are all at risk during these periods. You might be confused about your options when facing such challenges. With so much at stake, you need a lawyer who knows how to navigate through the system and get you to the other side safe, secure and financially sound.

Scott Law Offices provides legal counsel in family law areas to Greensboro, High Point and the surrounding communities. Our lawyers have more than six decades of combined experience in divorce and child custody proceedings. If you face a tough divorce or child custody battle, or if you are served with a restraining order, speak with one of our attorneys to learn more.

A practice experienced with all areas of family law

Our attorneys are well versed in all areas relating to domestic family law and can answer any questions you might have about your situation or our services. Many of our clients are referred to us by other attorneys who trust our guidance. We offer counsel in a wide array of proceedings, including:

  • Divorce and separation — Most marriages today end in separation and eventually divorce. However, divorce proceedings can be contentious and ugly — especially when fault is alleged. An experienced lawyer increases the odds of a favorable resolution to your divorce. We have a team of private investigators and experts at our fingertips.
  • Child custody and visitation — Disputes over custody and visitation rights are often the most emotionally difficult proceedings. Our principal attorney, Robert G. Scott, has argued more than 500 child custody hearings. Knowing what the other side will probably argue and the unique preference of various judges are just a few of the attributes that Mr. Scott possesses.
  • Child support and alimony — A fair child support or alimony agreement is critical to your financial future, as well as to the well-being of your children. Make sure that your lawyer secures an amount that makes sense for your situation.
  • Domestic violence and restraining orders — If you need to file a restraining order or have been notified that one was filed against you, our attorneys can lead you through the requirements to protect your rights.
  • Marital assets and property distribution — The division of property between a couple going through a divorce or separation often results in bitter legal fights. It’s not uncommon for one spouse to try and hide or steal marital assets. Our attorneys can protect you.
Every client receives our full and personal attention so that you can feel confident in your legal representation. If you face a divorce, you need a lawyer who can give your case undivided focus. We also help clients with related services, including wills, trusts, powers of attorney and other matters. If you are separating or divorcing, your estate plan needs to be updated immediately to ensure your wishes are carried out should unforeseen events happen.

Contact us for a consultation on family law in High Point

.Scott Law Offices helps residents in Guilford and Davidson counties with divorce, child custody, child support and prenuptial agreements, as well as other types of legal services. Speak with one of our lawyers to learn more about what we can do for you. Contact us at 336-887-8111 or online to schedule a consultation at our office in downtown High Point.

High Point, NC Attorneys Fighting for You When You Face Separation or Divorce

A tough fight needs a seasoned divorce lawyer

Some couples are able to reconcile when faced with problems in their marriage, but many others are not. Those who have determined that they cannot work through their differences must follow distinct legal procedures in North Carolina in order to end their marriage. These procedures include a mandatory six-month residency requirement and a year-long separation period before the divorce complaint is even filed.

The attorneys of Scott Law Offices guide clients through the separation period and divorce proceedings and fight hard to have your case concluded in your favor. If you are interested in pursuing a divorce and have questions about how to file or how property is divided, our lawyers can answer all of your questions.

What does an absolute divorce require in North Carolina?

North Carolina requires couples to separate for at least a year before they can file for divorce. Separation begins when the two parties move to separate residences with the intent to live and remain separate and apart. When parties separate and are able to agree on issues such as the division of assets and debts, it is usually wise to formalize these obligations in a separation agreement. Separation agreements are binding on both parties and can be enforced by the court. Couples who elect to separate can execute agreements relating to:

  • The division of personal property and debts between the former couple
  • Any amount of child support that should be paid
  • The amount of alimony to be paid
  • Child custody and visitation schedules
  • Any other issue except a finalized divorce itself
  • The continuation of medical insurance coverage

How can arbitration and mediation help in a divorce?

Mediation is one way to resolve disputes. An individual mediator works with both parties to reach an amicable agreement. Arbitration is similar to mediation, except both people consent to be bound by the determination that the arbiter makes. North Carolina requires all divorces involving children to undergo mediation. This process can have several benefits, including reduced court costs and an amicable resolution to problems between couples.

How can arbitration and mediation help in a divorce?

Don’t let the name fool you. Divorce from bed and board is a procedure where one spouse requests that a court order the other spouse to leave the residence based upon bad conduct. It is not an absolute that dissolves your marriage permanently. The removal of the other spouse from the residence counts as the start of the separation period before a divorce can be finalized. Someone who files for divorce from bed and board must also allege that their spouse committed some wrong that is the basis for the divorce. The grounds for divorce from bed and board in North Carolina are:

  • Malicious turning out of doors (i.e., throwing their spouse out of the house)
  • Constructive abandonment (still living together but not contributing love and affection)
  • Indignities (degrading actions such as insults, harassment, pornography and neglect that renders the other spouse’s life intolerable)
  • Abandonment
  • Adultery
  • Excessive use of alcohol or drugs
  • Cruel or barbarous treatment (emotional or mental cruelty)

A finding of fault can lead to a court invalidating a prenuptial agreement. Someone whose former partner has filed for divorce from bed and board has several defenses. In North Carolina, they include:

  • Condonation — A spouse who has accepted and forgiven their partner for the behavior, such as the excessive use of alcohol, is said to have condoned that behavior and cannot use it as grounds for divorce from bed and board unless it occurs again.
  • Connivance — Connivance is similar to condonation and describes a situation where a spouse has consented to an act that would otherwise qualify for divorce from bed and board (e.g., adultery in an “open marriage”).
  • Recrimination — Recrimination refers to the accusation that the person alleging fault also committed some act that would qualify for divorce, such as if each spouse cheated on the other
Because divorce from bed and board can evict a spouse, some spouses may conspire to fabricate grounds for divorce from bed and board because they cannot afford to leave the marital residence.

Contact our office for more information on divorce proceedings in North Carolina

Anyone facing a divorce proceeding needs a tough and knowledgeable lawyer. The attorneys of Scott Law Offices have led people through countless divorces and can answer any questions you have. Contact us at 336-887-8111 or online to schedule a consultation at our office in downtown High Point.

Child Custody Attorney Serving the High Point, NC, Area

Attorneys help parents, grandparents and others give children a better home

It is difficult for a parent, grandparent, family member or close friend to watch someone raise children they love in a detrimental way. Child custody disputes are often contentious and bitter. Grandparents may fear that there is nothing they can do if they believe a child is being raised in poor conditions. However, third parties frequently have rights in custody and visitation actions. Grandparents are often granted custody if it is in the best interest of the child.

The attorneys of Scott Law Offices are experienced at child custody disputes. Our principal attorney, Robert G. Scott, has appeared in hundreds of child custody actions. With our assistance, the child at the center of the dispute can be placed in a better environment.

What are a grandparent’s rights to child custody or visitation?

In certain situations, grandparents or other third parties (aunts, uncles, siblings and guardians) may be entitled to bring a claim for custody or visitation of children. In order to bring a claim for custody, these third parties generally must show that the biological parents are unfit, have neglected, abused or abandoned their children or have otherwise acted in a manner inconsistent with their parental rights. Our office has experience litigating these cases in court. Given the changing nature of grandparent and third party custody laws, you need a seasoned attorney to guide you through this process.

Grandparents and other third parties may also be entitled to secondary custody rights in the form of visitation in certain circumstances. North Carolina law provides for certain scenarios where a grandparent or third party can petition the court for these visitation rights. As each of these cases and factual scenarios are different, you should contact our experienced attorneys to determine whether visitation rights are available to you.

These are only a few of the considerations a court may choose when determining custody. To learn more, speak with one of our family law attorneys about child custody and grandparents’ rights.

What types of custody and visitation are available to a petitioner?

There are primarily two types of custody available to someone in North Carolina: sole and joint legal custody. A grant of sole legal custody allows one person to have complete discretion about important decisions regarding the child’s upbringing, including the child’s education, religion, location and health care. A grant of joint legal custody requires both individuals to agree on such decisions. Physical custody, where the child actually lives, is something altogether different from legal custody. One party may be granted primary physical custody of the child while the other is granted secondary physical custody. The party with primary physical custody will house the child more than the secondary physical custody party. Child custody orders are ongoing and can always be changed by the court with the right circumstances and help of a good attorney.

Someone who has secondary physical custody of a child has a right to visitation. The types of visitation available depend on what the parties agree to, based on their own needs. Some families have an agreement with informal visitation periods, while others may opt for a more rigid schedule.

Contact us for a consultation regarding child custody in North Carolina at our High Point office

Scott Law Offices provides legal counsel to family members and others concerned about child custody or visitation rights in Guilford and Davidson Counties. If you wonder whether you can be granted sole custody or if you wish to restructure your visitation schedule, speak with us first. Contact us at 336-887-8111 or online to schedule a consultation at our office in downtown High Point.

North Carolina Lawyers Negotiating Child Support and Alimony Agreements on Behalf of High Point Residents

Child support and alimony should be manageable for all parties

Child support and alimony agreements are important ways that people can maintain their quality of life and their children’s. Child support in particular is critical to maintaining a child’s well-being. However, both agreements must be tailored to the reasonable needs of all parties. Payments that are too high for one party or too low for another require modification.

Scott Law Offices is a law firm based in High Point that can handle any matter related to divorce, child support and other family law issues. If you want a support or alimony order modified, our attorneys can help you find a creative solution.

What factors determine the amount of child support?

North Carolina uses a number of factors to determine how much child support the party without primary physical custody owes. These factors can include:
  • The gross monthly income of each parent
  • The earning potential of the parents
  • Medical expenses
  • Day care expenses and extraordinary expenses such as private school
The state also uses a payment formula dependent on other factors, such as previous child support obligations, the number of children and the level of income the parent can expect. Changes in income or other factors, such as the current child custody schedule, warrant a change in the formula that determines child support. Someone required to pay can petition the court through their lawyer to have the amount reduced.

What happens if a parent fails to pay child support?

A parent who wants to make sure they receive the proper amount of child support from their former partner can file a motion with the court to have a hearing on the matter. The parent who has not paid the full amount then has an opportunity to explain to the court why they did not comply with the order. Someone who refuses to obey the court’s child support orders can be found in contempt of court and arrested. This can also have a distinct effect on future job prospects and credit scores, and the person’s driver’s license could even be revoked.

How is alimony decided in North Carolina?

A court can order alimony to be paid to a spouse who was dependent on another spouse during their marriage. A unique twist in the law in North Carolina bars a spouse who committed adultery from receiving alimony. However, a finding that the supporting spouse was unfaithful requires an award of alimony. By law, courts in North Carolina are required to consider all marital assets as well as other factors, including:
  • Marital misconduct of either spouse
  • The age and physical, mental and emotional conditions of the spouses
  • The length of the marriage
  • The standard of living both spouses enjoyed during the marriage
  • The contribution of one spouse as a homemaker
  • The earning potential of both spouses
  • The amount of savings and potential income of both spouses, including retirement accounts
  • Child custody
  • The contribution of one spouse to the earning power of another
  • The property brought to the marriage by one spouse
There are a number of other factors that determine an alimony award. Speak with one of our High Point attorneys to learn more about your case.

Contact us for a free initial consultation on child support and alimony in North Carolina

Scott Law Offices provides legal support to individuals in Guilford and Davidson counties who are having trouble with child support or alimony. We can help enforce a court order against your former spouse or have your payment amounts modified to fit your needs. Contact us at 336-887-8111 or online to schedule a consultation at our office in downtown High Point.

High Point Attorneys Helping You with Domestic Violence and Restraining Orders

If you need protection, or if you have been served with a restraining order, speak with a lawyer now

A person subjected to domestic violence has a right to seek a restraining order against their abuser. An individual who has been served with a restraining order has a right to a hearing in court. Either person needs a capable attorney to guide them through the process and explain their options.

Scott Law Offices in High Point offers legal counsel to anyone who needs more information about domestic violence and restraining orders. We handle such cases from either side with sensitivity and discretion.

What types of domestic violence restraining orders are available in North Carolina?

Domestic violence in North Carolina occurs when someone with whom you had a personal relationship commits violence against you, harasses you or places your household in fear of imminent harm.

There are two primary types of restraining orders a person can request in North Carolina related to domestic violence:

  • Ex parte or temporary domestic violence protective order — Often called a 50B, this is an immediate court order that protects you or your family if they are in imminent harm. Someone who violates a 50B can be arrested. A complaint for a 50B is filed with a court and a hearing is held within 10 days. The order lasts for 10 days, during which another hearing is held to determine whether a final domestic violence protective order should be issued.
  • Final domestic violence protective order (DVPO) — Also known as a permanent 50B order or simply a restraining order, a DVPO is a permanent restraining order that can last for up to a year. The person named in the order is entitled to a hearing where they may defend themselves against the accusations. A DVPO offers all the protections of a temporary restraining order, and a person who violates its terms maybe subject to arrest.
A violation of a domestic violence protective order is a misdemeanor crime punishable by up to 150 days in jail.

It is common for an individual going through the divorce process or battling over custody rights to face threats of violence. If you need to obtain a protective order or if you have been served with one, speak with one of our attorneys immediately.

Can I get a restraining order for reasons other than domestic violence?

Yes. A civil no-contact order (CNC), also called a 50C protective order, can protect someone who is threatened by a person with whom they have not had an intimate relationship. This includes family members, coworkers, colleagues, neighbors or random strangers who have exhibited threatening, harassing or stalking behavior. Like domestic violence orders, CNCs can be instituted in emergency situations before a hearing is held to determine whether they should be extended for a longer period of time.

Contact us at our High Point office to learn more about domestic violence and restraining orders in North Carolina

If you are considering getting a restraining order, do not hesitate to speak with a knowledgeable attorney and begin the proceedings. Similarly, if you are served with a restraining order, avoid any contact with the other person and talk to a lawyer. Scott Law Offices provides counsel regarding restraining orders and domestic violence in Guilford County and High Point. Contact us at 336-887-8111 or online to schedule a consultation.

High Point, NC Lawyers Explaining Property Distribution During Divorce

Dividing marital assets can be the most difficult aspect of separating

Divorce can be an ugly process. Although some couples separate amicably, dividing property often results in bitter disputes. It is important for anyone facing divorce to understand how property and marital assets are divided before the divorce proceedings begin.

Scott Law Offices is a law firm in High Point that provides counsel in divorce cases. Our attorneys can explain North Carolina law and help you keep as much of your assets as you can.

What property can be divided during a divorce?

In North Carolina, only property acquired during a marriage is eligible for distribution to a separating spouse. Eligible property acquired during the marriage includes a wide variety of categories under North Carolina law, including:
  • Income from work
  • Income from 401(k)s and pension plans, including military pensions
  • Investments
  • Life insurance proceeds that have cash value
  • Savings accounts
  • Vehicles
  • A house or real property
  • A business that is founded in one spouse’s name
Unless a couple had a valid agreement to the contrary, the proceeds from any of those sources are considered assets either spouse can claim during a divorce. However, some property is not eligible for distribution during divorce. This includes:
  • Gifts acquired during the marriage
  • Inheritance acquired during the marriage
In North Carolina, inheritance and gifts to a specific spouse are not pooled with other marital assets even if they were acquired during the marriage. Also, property acquired during a legal separation is not considered part of the marital assets.

How are marital assets divided under North Carolina law?

North Carolina is an “equitable distribution” state. Property acquired during marriage is divided in proportion to what a court considers fair unless a prenuptial agreement states otherwise. The division is usually close to 50/50. Statutes in North Carolina list the factors a court must consider when making a decision regarding how to divide marital assets and allocating a certain percentage of the assets to a spouse. These factors include:

  • Income, property and debts of both spouses
  • Length of the marriage
  • Whether one parent with child custody needs the marital residence
  • Whether one party without title contributed to marital property the other acquired
  • Tax effects of selling marital property
  • Prior marriages for which one party already pays support
  • Age and health of both parties
  • Whether either party has a right to retirement or pension benefits outside of their marital assets
  • Whether either party contributed to the career or education of the other
The court may consider other factors as well as anything it deems to be “just and proper” in making a decision. The broad scope a court can use to divide property requires experienced family law attorneys to fight on your behalf. Scott Law Offices provides seasoned legal counsel to get you the best deal possible.

How can a prenuptial agreement help?

A prenuptial agreement is a contractual arrangement between potential spouses that can allocate how property is to be divided if the marriage ends in divorce. Prenuptial agreements can be highly beneficial and reduce costly litigation. A valid prenup must be in writing and signed by both spouses. It also requires full and fair disclosure of the assets and debts of both parties; neither spouse may conceal their true net worth. The deal must also be reasonable for both parties. Courts may invalidate a prenuptial agreement that is unfair to one spouse, contains language not authorized by North Carolina law or is signed under coercion or duress. Speak with one of our attorneys to find out more about prenups and how they can work for you.

Contact our office for a free initial consultation on how property is divided during a divorce in North Carolina

Filing for divorce in North Carolina means a court must divide a couple’s property if they cannot agree to a division themselves. Someone facing divorce needs a capable family law attorney to protect their property. Scott Law Offices provides family law counsel to High Point, Greensboro and the surrounding communities. Contact our office in downtown High Point at 336-887-8111 or online to schedule a consultation on what to expect during divorce.
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