Raleigh Family Law Attorney
Sound Advice & Compassionate Representation
We are lawyers for one reason – you. We are here to help you. Our goal is not to maximize our profits or make ourselves look good, and we don’t see this as just a “job.” Instead, we believe our profession is a calling to help people in a time of great need. Because of that, we strive to create a setting in which we provide our clients with sufficient information to help them understand and participate in the planning, development, and strategy of their case. To make that happen, we will listen to you and assess your priorities and goals, then develop a plan to work together towards achieving those goals.
North Carolina Family Legal Services
- Separation Agreements
- Child Custody
- Domestic Violence
- Child Support
- Prenuptial & Postnuptial Agreements
- Equitable Distribution (Property Division)
From court negotiations to trials, we work hard to protect our clients. Every case deserves the development and implementation of effective legal strategies in order to get our clients the results they deserve. We recognize that each case is unique and provides us with an opportunity to serve an individual client’s particular needs and desired outcome. During your consultation, we will discuss all available options, factor in the potential cost, and develop and implement the right plan for you.
Our family law attorneys, devote their entire practice to family legal services and divorce matters in North Carolina. This singular focus renders them especially equipped to assist you through this difficult process. They continually strive to provide compassionate and effective counsel and maintain a team-oriented approach. This approach allows us to keep our clients directly involved in their case. Clients can expect professional guidance, defined strategy, responsible use of resources, and expert representation.
A separation agreement is a private contract between the parties which resolves some or all of the issues arising out of the separation. We review, negotiate, and draft these agreements as a way to avoid expensive litigation and provide clients with the privacy and flexibility afforded by an out of court settlement.
We recommend hiring an attorney assist you in the separation agreement process, even in cases where parties are agreeable. Our attorneys can advise you about your rights and responsibilities, negotiate fairly and firmly, and carefully craft an agreement that will withstand or prevent future court battles. We have the broad expertise necessary to draft effective agreements to accomplish your goals.
Physical and emotional abuse present difficult issues, and we handle all types of domestic violence cases. Our work includes litigating and renewing domestic violence protective orders, defending allegations of domestic violence (including criminal violations), and litigating related issues like child custody, firearms, or therapy, stalking and harassment. A domestic violence order can have serious consequences and should not be taken lightly. If you require a domestic violence order or are defending yourself against allegations of domestic violence, please contact our office today for more assistance.
Prenuptial & Postnuptial Agreements
In some cases, engaged couples may want to enter into an agreement prior to marriage in order to protect their assets in the event of death or divorce. This is called a prenuptial agreement. Another option, for couples who are already married, is to enter into an agreement which to sets forth the distribution of property acquired during the marriage. This is called a postnuptial agreement. Couples may find these agreements beneficial to resolve issues related to business planning, inheritance, tax liability, estate planning, life insurance, and retirement division.
Financial issues are often a root cause of a divorce. Entering into one of these agreements may remove potential conflict in your marriage or, in the event of a divorce, it can protect your rights and prevent a future court battle.
We believe in Mediation. It is often a person’s last chance to maintain control over the result of his or her case because in a courtroom the Judge will dictate the outcome. Additionally, mediation is normally more cost effective than litigation.
Some common misconceptions persist about mediation. Many worry they will have to be in the same room as their spouse. Normally, however, the parties are never brought together in our mediations. If this is a particular concern in your case, we regularly use a mediator who actually has entirely separate buildings to ensure that the parties will not cross paths. Many also worry they cannot be represented by counsel at mediation. This is not the case. We will attend the mediation with you to represent your interests while a neutral third-party acts as the mediator. Others wonder whether they have to mediate and if mediation is right for them. Some types of litigation require mediation. If you are considering mediation, please contact our office so we can assess whether you should pursue mediation.
Termination of Parental Rights
A lot of folks believe you can simply “sign over your rights.” This is a common misconception. Unless the Department of Social Services is involved, a termination on one’s parental rights must involve litigation and may not be accomplished by consent. Keep in mind: while you can terminate the parental rights of another, you cannot terminate your own parental rights.
Termination of parental rights in North Carolina is governed by the juvenile code. It is conducted as a two stage proceeding, first on the grounds for termination and second on the best interests of the child in question. The most common ground for termination is that there has been a willful abandonment of the child for a period of six months or more. Other grounds include abuse or neglect of the juvenile, leaving the child in foster care or placement for more than one year, incapacity for various reasons such as mental illness, and others as listed in the North Carolina General Statutes section 7B-1111.
Many seek a termination when they have a new partner who wishes to adopt the minor child. North Carolina law requires judges to consider the plan for adoption of a minor child in a termination action. Another common reason for termination is to make an estate plan which does not include the absentee parent. While we have successfully litigated on this basis in the past, these situations are very fact sensitive.
A person has a constitutionally protected right to parent their child or children. Therefore termination of this right is very serious and specialized. This process is best guided and handled by our professionals.
Need Advice on a Family Law Matter?
If you are in need of an experienced, knowledgeable and intelligent family or divorce lawyer in North Carolina, please don’t hesitate to contact Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A. We understand that divorce and family legal issues require a level of compassion and personal attention that goes beyond that expected in other areas of law. At Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A., we are prepared to offer you the level of care in your divorce case that you would expect from a premier legal firm.
You and your loved ones will benefit from the extensive knowledge and experience that the attorneys at Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A., will bring to your case. With our help, you will be able to maximize your chances of receiving the type of outcome that you desire in your family law case.
We welcome the opportunity to discuss your personal situation in greater detail to help you understand how the North Carolina family laws apply to you and your family, as well as your best course of action. To schedule a consultation, call us at (919) 351-8827.
Frequently Asked Questions
Finding the right attorney to assist you with your particular situation and needs begins with finding one that you trust, feel comfortable with and one with which you can clearly communicate issues and concerns. During your consultation, the attorney needs to be able to ask you the right questions and spot potential issues to ensure your rights are fully protected. Good listening skills are another key characteristic you should look for in your attorney. It is extremely important that clients feel that their attorney is listening to them and really hearing their concerns. Before you leave the attorney’s office, you need to be certain that you fully understand their billing practices and how they intend to handle your case. It is a good idea to meet with a few attorneys to be sure you find the right fit for you and your situation.
In order to represent our clients to the best of our ability, it is vital that we are provided with complete, accurate facts concerning each client’s situation. It is important to trust your attorney so that you feel comfortable in making these disclosures. Our firm holds confidentiality in high regard and you can trust that anything you tell anyone in this office is strictly confidential and will not be disclosed without your permission. You should also feel free to discuss the details of your case without fear of judgment. Our firm is here to help you and not pass judgment on any past actions or allegations that have been made in your case.
This is the most commonly asked question by clients and the most difficult one to answer. Each case is different, and as a result the amount spent on attorney’s fees is different. While we can make general estimates of ranges of anticipated fees based on our past experience, you must understand that these estimates are not guarantees. These estimates are for your financial planning purposes and preparation. Our firm charges on an hourly rate basis or a flat fee basis, depending on the type of legal service you are seeking. For claims which seek a judgment of absolute divorce based on one year’s separation and which are not contested, we normally charge a fixed fee. With regard to other claims, we generally charge for our services at an hourly rate, which varies from attorney to attorney. Staff time is also billed at a lower hourly rate. Any specific concerns regarding the fees charged by your attorney should be explained in your legal services contract. You should always contact your attorney if you have questions or concerns about the fee arrangement as soon as possible.
Expenses are about as hard to predict as legal fees, unfortunately, as it depends on the case. If your case is in litigation, you can expect to pay court filing fees that are around $100.00 and service fees that can range from $15.00 to $100.00. If depositions are taken, not only are you paying for your attorney’s time, but you also have expenses related to the court reporter that can range from $300.00 to $600.00. If a psychological evaluation is required related to a child custody matter, this cost can range from $1,500.00 to $6,000.00. Experts are often used related to equitable distribution claims so that if you need your home appraised, for example, that may cost around $300.00. If you need a business appraised, this could cost from $5,000.00 to $10,000.00. You will be responsible for the payment of all these expenses as they are incurred unless you have an agreement otherwise; therefore, it is very important that you are part of the process when determining what expenses you are incurring and if it is is beneficial to you from a cost/benefit standpoint.
My Spouse and I are on great terms; we both want to end the marriage. Can we both hire the same attorney to save on the expenses?
It is not ethical for an attorney to represent two people who have interests that are in actual or potential conflict. In cases of separation and divorce, the spouses’ interests are necessarily in actual or potential conflict. As a general rule, we cannot represent you and your spouse. This does not mean that your spouse must hire their own attorney; however, we cannot give your spouse legal advice because we represent our client’s interests. This can limit what questions we can answer for your spouse. If your spouse does not have a lawyer, and wants to meet to discuss any non-legal questions he/she may have and/or to execute your agreement, we can meet with you and your spouse together to do so.
What can I do as a client to make my case progress in a more cost effective manner (i.e. how can I keep my legal expenses down)?
Always notify your attorney of any change of address, telephone number, email address or employment. Be truthful; if you are not, your attorney may not continue to represent you and this may also create undue delay in your case causing unnecessary legal fees and expenses. Handle your financial commitments to your attorney in a prompt and professional manner. Our firm understands that separation can cause significant financial strain. Thus, it is important to us that we keep our clients informed about the amount of funds left in their retainer and when it is about to be depleted. Before you get to that point, we will advise you in writing of the status of your case, your options toward resolution and the related retainer amount to pursue each option. By doing this, our firm hopes to avoid high outstanding balances that cause strain for both you and the firm.
Dedicated Raleigh Family Law Attorneys
Dealing with family matters such as divorce and custody can be a difficult situation both mentally and emotionally. Let our skilled family law attorneys help you come to an agreement on how to handle your new family set up. We are dedicated to our clients and your best interest is our top priority, call us to speak with someone today.