50B – North Carolina General Statutes §50-B-1 and the sections that follow explain that a person may seek a domestic violence order and may ask for an order ex parte; the person has a right to an immediate hearing before a judge prior to the other party being served with the complaint. After the initial hearing, another hearing will be held within 10 days from the date of the issuance of the ex parte order. A final domestic violence protective order (aka a “DVPO” or a “50B”) serves as a restraining order that provides victims of domestic violence protection the from their abuser for up to one year by barring the defendant from being near the plaintiff (work, school, and home).
Absolute Divorce – A no-fault process of divorce that terminates the marriage permanently in all aspects including one’s rights to distribution of marital assets and debts, spousal support, statutory inheritance rights and others. The only requirement is separation for one year.
Alimony – This is also called “Spousal Support” and refers to payments that one spouse makes to support the other spouse after separation usually in a set monthly amount and for a designated period of time.
Arbitration – An alternative option to litigation for people in a family law dispute. Instead of going to court, a third-party arbitrator assumes the role of a judge and makes decisions based upon evidence presented in a less formal setting than a courtroom. Unlike settlement in mediation, arbitration is binding and is not appealable.
Child Support – Ensures that parents who have separated both share the cost of the needs of the child such as housing, food, health, education, etc. till the child turns 18 through one parent paying monthly child support payments. These are determined through multiple factors.
Defendant – The party that the court case is being brought against.
DVPO – Refer to 50B.
E.Q. – Equitable Distribution is how the court divides all martial assets (acquired during the time of marriage) including properties, cars, etc. between a couple going through the divorce process. NC is not a community property state; hence, the split does not have to be 50/50, but instead equitable.
Litigation – The process of taking legal action to defend a right or to resolve an issue between parties through the court system. This is the traditional route and if the alternative options do not work out, litigation and mediation, the matter will go into litigation.
Mediation – An alternative option to litigation where a third party, the mediator oversees and initiates discussion between the parties involved until a common ground is reached for the dispute at hand. This is nonbinding.
Plaintiff – The party that initiates the legal action and files first.
QDRO – QDRO or a Qualified Domestic Relations Order is a court order that fairly divides all retirement and/or pension plans tax free of a couple going through a divorce.
Spousal Support – Refer to Alimony.