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Gastonia Family Law Attorney

Are you looking for the best Gastonia family law attorney? Well, Waple & Houk, PLLC should be your first choice for family law cases in Gastonia, NC. We are experienced in handling different types of family law cases such as divorces, child custody, legal name changes, alimony agreements, and filing restraining orders. Call us today at (704)954-8697 and get a consultation with the top family law attorneys serving Gastonia, North Carolina.

Table of Contents

What Qualifies As a Family Law Case?

At our law firm, we are ready to handle any of the following cases that fall under family law, among many more.

Gastonia Family Law Infographic


Whether it is a contested or an uncontested divorce, we are here to help. We understand that you might be at loggerheads with your spouse and can’t agree to anything so we can help navigate the rough waters. We know that divorces can be messy but we will work with your spouse’s attorney to make sure that everything goes off without a hitch.

Parental Rights, Child Custody, and Child Support

After divorce, you might have a hard time determining child custody, child support, and parental rights. We are here to help. We have worked on numerous cases like these before and know that we have to be careful when children are involved. Your children are always the top priority so we will make sure that every parent understands that.

Spousal Support and Alimony Agreements

After leaving your spouse, you might be a little reluctant to pay spousal support or alimony, especially if your relationship ended on the worst terms possible. Therefore, we can help come up with the right amount to keep your ex-spouse comfortable and avoid further disagreements after your marriage has ended.

Legal Name Changes

Are you planning to change your legal name? Regardless of the reason for changing your name, we can help the process go smoothly. We can help you filing the relevant paperwork to change your name successfully.

Restraining Orders

Are you suffering from domestic violence? Do you have a stalker? Whether it’s someone you know or a stranger who is threatening you, we can help you file a restraining order against them. We understand that you might be a little anxious at the moment because of the situation but a restraining order should help you feel a little comfortable about things.

What Are the Grounds for Divorce in North Carolina?

If you live in Gastonia, North Carolina and are wondering whether or not you can file for divorce, you must understand the following grounds for divorce.

Separation for One Year

You and your spouse have been living apart and separately for at least one year. At least one of the spouses should have the intention to remain separate and apart. You don’t have to file the legal separation to begin the one-year period.

Incurable Insanity

One of the spouses should show incurable insanity and you should both be living separately and apart for 3 consecutive years even at the time when the petition for divorce is filed.

Note that, a lot of petitions for divorce are often dismissed in Gastonia, NC if they don’t meet these grounds. However, by working with the experts from Waple & Houk PLLC, we can make sure that you meet the legal grounds of divorce in North Carolina.

Husband and wife sign divorce papers, Gastonia family law attorney concept

How Do You Start the Divorce Process in North Carolina?

If you are planning to file for divorce in North Carolina, you should follow these steps.


First, you must be separated if you have to file for divorce. You must not cohabitate. Note that there are different grounds for obtaining a legal separation before a divorce. If your spouse abuses drugs, abandons you, engages in cruel treatment, or commits adultery, you can file for divorce from bed and board.

If you are physically separated, you can’t be legally separated unless one of you files divorce from bed and board.

File a Divorce Complaint With the Clerk of Court in Your County

As your attorneys, we can file this divorce complaint on your behalf. It should be file in the county of your residence and the other spouse will receive it from a county sheriff or deputy. It can also be delivered through certified mail. If both of you have lived separately and apart for at least 12 consecutive months, you can file for a legal divorce.


If you think it will be an amicable divorce, you can go for mediation. It is cost-efficient and provides a short and confidential resolution to your separation or divorce.

Judge Hears Testimony and Issues Final Divorce Order

Before the final decision, the judge will take recommendations from each spouse’s lawyer. A divorce will end a spouse’s right to alimony and equitable distribution of property. These rights should be asserted before the divorce and the couple should come to an agreement before going before the judge.

Separation Agreement

If there are pending matters such as child custody and asset division, a separation agreement is much better than divorce. These matters are often settled through mediation. Once the agreement is signed and notarized it will be enforced in any court.

If you are thinking about filing for divorce in Gaston, NC, Waple & Houk, PLLC should be your first choice. We will guide you through the process to make sure you are protected and can move on with your life without looking back.

How Does Division Of Property Work in North Carolina?

The courts in North Carolina will divide property in an equitable and fair manner. For example, marital property will be divided 50/50 unless the court determines that doing this is not actually fair. Note that, marital property is all property acquired by either party or both of them after their marriage but before separation. It excludes separate property.

Wooden puzzle blocks with images of children, pets, money, division of property, Gastonia family law attorney

How Is Child Custody Decided in North Carolina?

In North Carolina, judges will decide child custody based on the child’s best interests. The decision will be determined by various factors such as the living arrangements of the parents and their ability to take care of their child. It will also be decided based on each parent’s ability to take care of the child, the relationship with the parents, and any other essential factors that affect the welfare of the child.

Yes, it’s important to make things fair for the parents too but it doesn’t come before the child’s welfare. If one of the parents’ shortcomings as a spouse to the partner will carry some weight if it affects their parenting abilities. At Waple & Houk, PLLC we can advise you on the best way forward when it comes to custody for your children after you choose to separate or file for divorce.

What Is Alimony and How Is It Decided in North Carolina?

Alimony refers to payments awarded to a spouse after a separation or divorce as ordered by the court. The reason behind alimony payments is to provide financial support to the spouse with a lower income or no income. In Gastonia, NC, alimony will be calculated depending on a few factors such as the following.

• Length of marriage

• The reasonable needs of the spouse

• The ability of one spouse to pay alimony

• The dependent’s spouse standard of living

• The dependent’s spouse educational background

• Marital misconduct

If the marriage was longer, the alimony awarded will be for a longer period. Also, if a spouse earns a higher income than the other one, he/she will pay a higher amount of alimony. The judge can exercise discretion when it comes to alimony payments. With regard to marital misconduct, alimony can be awarded in cases of adultery, excessive use of drugs and alcohol, abandonment, and much more.

If you are seeking alimony in your separation or divorce, it’s a good idea to work with the best family lawyers in Gaston, NC. Having worked on previous divorce and separation cases, we can make sure that your divorce goes off without a hitch. Call Waple & Houk, PLLC today to get the best information on your case.

Choose the Best Gastonia Family Law Attorneys

Family law is wide but most of the common cases include divorce, separation, and child support. At Waple & Houk, PLLC we have more than 20 years of experience and have worked on numerous family law cases. We can help you with the legal advice you need for the best results.

We can give you a consultation to understand your case better and look for the best way forward for everyone involved. Call us today at (704)954-8697 to talk to the best family law attorneys in Gastonia, North Carolina. We are here to help!