Areas of Practice
Whether our clients are seeking help with a divorce, marriage, or child custody matter, they all have something in common: the outcome will permanently impact their lives of the lives of those they love. We welcome the opportunity to use our years of experience and our high quality legal services to help you understand your options and to develop a plan of action for your unique situation, which can in turn reduce the stress and uncertainty that often accompanies a family law matter.
More often than not, child custody is the most emotional and challenging issue in family law cases. Figuring out where your child lives and who and how important life decisions for them are made can be a daunting and complicated process. If parents do not agree how to share legal and physical custody of their child, then a Court of law must decide. This can not only delay a resolution but could turn adversarial and unfortunately, children are often caught in the middle of their parents. We encourage parents to resolve their child custody issues without involving the Court but we are confident if the situation warrants litigation.
We represent individuals in a number of different types of adoptions. From stepparent adoptions, relative/caregiver adoptions, adult adoptions to foreign re-adoptions, our firm can help you through this amazing and life changing process as you grow your family. The law regarding adoptions in North Carolina is complicated and can get tricky if you aren't 100% sure what to do. Attorney Patel has experience handling these types of adoptions to help you and your family.
separation and divorce
We represent clients in all stages of separation and divorce. If you are planning to separate from your spouse, already separated, have represented yourself but need the assistance of an attorney, or are seeking a second legal opinion, we can help. Our firm regularly represents our clients from complex financial and child custody issues to cases that do not involve litigation, such as an absolute divorce or amicable situations where both spouses wish to achieve a settlement through negotiation, mediation, arbitration, or a collaborative process.
Attorney Patel has extensive experience handling different levels of child support issues, including the comprehensive review of incomes of self-employed parents, expenses and other variables that may impact child support calculations. We represent clients in matters involving initial child support determinations, modifications to a prior existing child support order, child support enforcement agencies.
pre-Nuptial and Post-Nuptial agreements
A prenuptial agreement is a contract between two individuals contemplating marriage. There are many reasons to consider a premarital agreement. Whether you have considerable assets you are bringing to the marriage, or you have children from a prior relationship, this type of contract may resolve how important issues arising from the marriage will be handled in the event of separation, divorce, or death. One of the greatest benefits of a prenuptial agreement is that it can create a roadmap for individuals how a marital estate will be distributed if a separation occurs and can include provisions for spousal support. We can advise clients regarding different aspects of prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, whether it comes to negotiating the terms, actually drafting the terms of an agreement, or even reviewing proposed agreements prepared by other attorneys.
The law as it relates to property distribution is as complex as it is vast. Even in the most amicable of divorces, the division of property, assets, and liabilities can be one of the more complicated tasks. Property distribution is also commonly known as Equitable Distribution in North Carolina, where the law presumes a equal division of the marital estate is equitable, or fair. This is the legal procedure of identifying, classifying, valuing, and distributing property to one spouse or the other. The process of equitable distribution takes organization, patience, time, problem solving skills, and the involvement of other competent professionals such as appraisers and family financial planners.
There are two methods that spousal support can be awarded in North Carolina. Post-Separation Support (PSS) is spousal support paid after the date of separation and can be for any amount of time until an alimony order is entered. Alimony is a payment for the financial maintenance of a dependent spouse by a supporting spouse. There are many nuances to determining the right amount of support, how it shall be paid, and when it shall be paid. In North Carolina is intended to assist a former spouse to maintain, as closely as possible, the marital standard of living. Spousal support is not intended to be punitive but marital misconduct under the law may be considered.
Name changes and powers of attorney
We handle both minor child and adult name changes. These matters are before the Clerk of Superior Court in your county and can be done by consent (for minor children) and for adults who currently live in North Carolina but were born elsewhere.
Durable Powers of Attorney and Healthcare Powers of Attorney are ever-changing with the laws. Don't fall for easy traps from 'fill in the blank' forms off the internet. Powers of Attorney for educational and medical purposes for your minor children are also important tools to keep in mind if you foresee a time when you will not be present with your children and need access to their records.
When trusting someone to handle the sensitive and personal aspects involved in a divorce, child custody, or other family law matter, it is important to have the right fit between you and your attorney.
Attorney Patel believes that the best way to ensure a strong attorney-client relationship is for you to meet and provide her with comprehensive information regarding your specific legal issue. This allows Attorney Patel to clearly examine your family law case and also provide you with an opportunity to get to know her and understand exactly how she can help you.
During this initial consultation, Attorney Patel will listen carefully to the details of your legal issues, ask questions to identify the specific family law issues, provide valuable advice regarding your legal rights and legal obligations. Finally, Attorney Patel will also explain the options for moving forward with your particular issue. Attorney Patel wants to help you face the challenges ahead and if the issue is something she feels you can handle then she will provide you with the resources necessary to do so. Initial consultations are also an opportunity for you to learn more about an attorney’s legal knowledge and experience, and ultimately decide whether to hire our firm to help you. To get the most out of a consultation, it is important to be prepared. We suggest providing us with a timeline of significant events related to your matter, as well as copies of any applicable documentation, including pleadings, agreements, contracts and correspondence.
Please contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment with Attorney Manisha P. Patel.