A Look At Divorce

By Autumn Byas, Gorman Law Firm Paralegal Intern            

            Divorcing a spouse is one of the most stressful and tragic things that can happen to a family.  Whether it is only affecting the couple who once was in love, or a couple who has a child(ren), a divorce is an extremely stressful situation for anyone in the family to be in.  If you are seeking information about divorcing a spouse in North Carolina it is a good idea to start educating yourself on the laws surrounding divorce in our state.  They can be found here:  http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/gascripts/Statutes/StatutesTOC.pl?Chapter=0050.  Chapter 50 of the North Carolina General Statutes outlines the laws surrounding a divorce proceeding, and also about custody and alimony matters.  The Chapter has 100 sections and is filled with a lot of information; therefore, it is wise to seek out help from an attorney who is experienced in divorce law.  Gorman Law Firm is experienced in handling these sensitive issues.

            Why do people get divorced?  There are numerous reasons as to why.   A blog posted by  Divorce Source News & Information entitled “Problems that can wreck a marriage” goes into some of these reasons. (Divorce Source Editorial Staff. “Problems that can wreck a marriage.” Web blog post. Divorce Source news and information. Divorce Source, Inc., 2 May. 2014. Web. 4 Mar. 2015.)  Marriage infidelity is one major cause of a broken marriage. Infidelity is defined as “1) Lack of belief in a religion 2) A: unfaithfulness to a moral obligation: disloyalty B: Marital unfaithfulness or an instance of it.” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary online. March 2015).  A collaborative divorce coach, psychotherapist, author and parent, Micki McWade stated “marital infidelity is a symptom of underlying issues in the relationship.” Read the entire article at the following website:  http://www.divorcesource.com/blog/problems-that-can-wreck-a-marriage/  (Divorce Source Editorial Staff. “Problems that can wreck a marriage.” Web blog post. Divorce Source news and information. Divorce Source, Inc., 2 May. 2014. Web. 4 Mar. 2015.)

In the article, Problems that can wreck a marriage, McWade discusses four problems that can destroy a marriage:

 “Partners cease to be partners: The marital dynamic withers when one partner becomes the parent of the other who is “immature, irresponsible, untrustworthy or selfish.” The parent partner tires of this routine, sexual attraction fades, and in time he or she detaches from the marriage. “Once the emotional break has happened, marriage counseling is far less effective. It takes two to keep a marriage alive. A marriage counselor can’t manufacture connection. We can enhance it, but we can’t create it.”

 Failure to resolve problems: Resentment builds and erodes a marriage when spouses bicker and needle one another because they cannot resolve difficulties to each other’s mutual satisfaction. In a marriage, discussion and compromise that solves a problem is “much more important than being right.”

 Narcissism: Excessive self-love can choke a marriage because in time   one or both partners cannot empathize with and support the other. For example, if one spouse carries the financial weight and the other nurtures the children at home, each may not understand the other’s contribution. Both think the other has it easier, and neither feels understood. In time this regime feeds on itself and kills intimacy.

 Addiction: Marriage to an addict challenges and overwhelms even the most devoted partner. The addict appears functional outside the home but privately, he or she becomes a slave to alcohol or drugs which only serves to intensify the demand for them.  For the addict, the focus of life becomes their drug of choice – rather than on the marriage and family. Alcoholism has been called “narcissism in a bottle.” The partner becomes angry and embarrassed and though he or she often tries to keep it together for a while, and even a long time if there are children, eventually, when there’s no recovery, the addict’s partner will ultimately give up. Once that happens, there is little chance to save the marriage. It’s like trying to revive the dead.” (Divorce Source Editorial Staff. “Problems that can wreck a marriage.” Web blog post. Divorce Source news and information. Divorce Source, Inc., 2 May. 2014. Web. 4 Mar. 2015.)

 Seeking help from a professional is important if it has come to the point where there is no spark and no willingness to work things out.  If possible, a marriage that can be saved should be saved.  “Marriage should be honored by all”  (New International Version Hebrews 13:4)  A marriage is a very important contract you make with another individual; however, if it cannot be saved the Gorman Law Firm can help make the process as painless as possible.  In North Carolina, you must be separated from your spouse for at least a year before you can file for absolute divorce (see chapter 50 in the North Carolina General Statutes).

            Children of a divorcing or separating couple should be especially thought of during this difficult time.  When parents separate their child(ren) are divided into two new separate families for the rest of their lives.  If parents cannot come to an agreement on custody arrangements then a judge will have to determine what is best for the child(ren).  In North Carolina, judges may review a number of factors before determining the best custody arrangement for the child if parents cannot agree.  Some of the issues a North Carolina Judge may consider include the following:

  • “the child’s wishes or preferences provided that he or she is mature enough to make such claims;
  • the child’s safety, education plan, religious training, and other needs and the parents’ ability to provide such needs;
  • the child’s relationship with his/her parents, siblings, and other family members;
  • the nature of the relationship between the parents;
  • the parents’ work schedules, availability, distance, parenting skills, and financial capability;
  • any history of domestic violence, child abuse, negligence, or substance abuse;
  • the safety of the other parent in situations involving domestic violence;
  • the mental or physical health of the parties involved in the proceedings.”

(North Carolina Child Custody. “Child Custody in North Carolina.” Web blog post. Divorce Source news and information. Divorce Source, Inc., Web. 6 Mar. 2015.)

The Web site this information can be found at is:


If you are thinking about getting a divorce and there are child(ren) involved then contact someone who is experienced in custody matters.  What is more important the wellbeing of a child that you brought into this world?  Gorman Law Firm is experienced in custody matters.  You can find their contact information at: https://www.gormanlawpractice.com/contact-us.

A child can be emotionally scarred from a parents’ divorce.  The February 2015 issue of the American Bar Association Journal article entitled “Soothing the Split” highlighted numerous studies which showed children whose parents divorce may be affected in the following ways:  They are less likely to graduate from high school, twice as likely to be prescribed Ritalin, and they are more likely to smoke, and they’re more likely to end up divorced themselves.  Because of a child’s emotional turmoil during a divorce, parents must be understanding and aware of their child’s needs. (Filisko, G.M. “Soothing the Split.” ABA Journal 101.2 (2015): 48-55. Print.)

A 2013 study done in Greece evaluated children who came from a home with both parents and children who came from a home with a single parent.  According to the findings of this research, the children who came from a single parent family appeared to have significantly more behavioral problems than children who still lived with both parents.  (Babalis, Thomas, Konstantina Tsoli, Vassilis Nikolopoulos, and Panagiotis Maniatis. “The Effect of Divorce on School Performance and Behavior in Preschool Chrildren in Greece: An Empirical Study of Teachers’ Views.” Psychology 5.1 (2014): 20-26. Print.)

Alternative ways of resolving disputes in a divorce or separating proceeding have been created.  In the above mentioned ABA Journal article, “Soothing the Split”, the author points out how some people in Denver Colorado saw the need of an alternative way of resolving difficult issues in a divorce or separation.  (Filisko, G.M. “Soothing the Split.” ABA Journal 101.2 (2015): 48-55. Print.).  These individuals created a program called “Resource Center for Separating and Divorcing Families.” The creators of this program saw it could be more beneficial resolving issues outside of a court setting than going to a court house.  The article also points out how difficult a divorce can be on the entire family, and how the court system can be intimidating. .  (Filisko, G.M. “Soothing the Split.” ABA Journal 101.2 (2015): 48-55. Print.)

The University of Denver launched the program, Resource Center for Separating and Divorcing Families, in 2013.  This program is a multidisciplinary, nonadversarial pilot program that allows divorcing and separating families to receive counseling on the legal and psychological aspects of dissolution by interns from the school’s graduate psychology and social work programs, along with its law school.  This program helps family’s deal with a divorce in an open and non intimidating setting.  Once a family is admitted into the program there are support groups available for everyone.   The support groups are segregated by gender and age, with men’s and women’s adult groups and three age levels of children’s groups. (Filisko, G.M. “Soothing the Split.” ABA Journal 101.2 (2015): 48-55. Print.)

The Resource Center for Separating and Divorcing Families program started with 100 families in its first year and another 100 in the 2014-15 academic year.  When a couple separates or divorces it affects not only them but the child(ren) they had during the marriage; therefore,  the counseling this program offers for the entire family is beneficial.  In my opinion, I believe programs that are geared towards helping the whole family get through a separation or divorce would ultimately have its advantages in the long run.  A couple may even find that their marriage can be saved through counseling, or programs like this.  A couple who is accepted into this program may be asked to go to a counseling session in order to keep the process as amicable as possible.  The founders of this program are looking to replicate it at universities and in communities nationwide. (Filisko, G.M. “Soothing the Split.” ABA Journal 101.2 (2015): 48-55. Print.)

Robert Hyatt is a volunteer for the Resource Center for Separating and Divorcing Families in Denver.   Mr. Hyatt is a former chief judge of the Denver District court and has seen how the court system affects everyone involved in a separation. Mr. Hyatt stated “Here’s what doesn’t work in the family law court…. When people go to court and judges take the bench, it’s litigation with all the acrimony and anger that accompanies litigation.  I asked myself over the course of years:  Is this really the right venue for the bulk of people getting a divorce who just need a plan to co-parent their kids?” (Filisko, G.M. “Soothing the Split.” ABA Journal 101.2 (2015): 48-55. Print.)

The Resource Center for Separating and Divorcing Families in Denver has its fans and its critics. The program has been beneficial for many families taking advantage of it.  Jonathan Terbush, a participant in this program, estimates that he and his now ex-wife paid around $700.00 for all the center’s services.  Dr. Steven Singer, another participant, stated in the article that he and his ex-wife spent less than $3000.00.  Both those participants in the program had a good experience and when you consider how expensive court costs and attorney fees can be this was a great way to keep the costs down.  The program also gives counseling options for divorcing couples, and their child(ren), as well as support groups they can join. This is a great resource for divorcing couples in Denver Colorado. (Filisko, G.M. “Soothing the Split.” ABA Journal 101.2 (2015): 48-55. Print.)

Some of the criticisms of the program are:

  1. Support groups didn’t always have enough participants to provide maximum benefit to families.
  2. Some of the mental health students were too inexperienced to be of much help.
  3. Concerns about domestic violence victims getting intothe program inadvertently and becoming
  4. Participants not knowing their legal rights.

In the article it points out things that challenge these criticisms:

  1. More families are participating in theprogram and the support groups now that more people know about it.
  2. Participants have an understanding that the students working with them arenot graduated professionals yet.
  3. There is a good screening process to make sure only eligible participants are accepted into the program.
  4. Today more people are representing themselves in family law cases. (Filisko, G.M. “Soothing the Split.” ABA Journal 2 (2015): 48-55. Print.)

North Carolina may not have this specific program in the area for people who are divorcing or separating but it never hurts to get a consultation from a legal professional, such as an experienced attorney at the Gorman Law Firm.

The Gorman Law Firm, located in Charlotte NC, recognizes the importance of family.  The family law team is headed by licensed North Carolina Attorney Emily Edwards.  Emily is “dedicated to serving the needs of Charlotte and surrounding communities with a holistic approach to family related issues. The Gorman Law Firm strives to provide empathetic, efficient, zealous, and cost effective representation regarding: 

  • Divorce and Separation Agreements
  • Child Custody Agreements and Modifications
  • Child Support
  • Termination of Parental Rights
  • Temporary and Permanent Spousal Support
  • Property Division
  • Guardianship
  • Domestic Violence Protective Orders
  • Adoption (COMING SOON!)”

 If you are looking for guidance from an experienced attorney regarding Family Law call Emily Edwards for a consultation.


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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/02/divorce-rate-declining- n 6256956.html





If you are currently facing a family law related issue, contact Gorman Law Firm, PLLC. Our office can be reached by phone at 800-583-6602 or by completing our online contact form. Our office is open normal business hours during the week, but we provide office hours on Saturday and are available around the clock through our website. We accept all major credit cards as payment and offer services in English, Spanish and Portuguese.

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