Family Law

When the family experiences a break-up, it is important to understand all of the legal options available to you. Attorney Chrissy Simmons recognizes that your situation is unique and she is prepared to provide you with competent legal advice in the following areas:

Outer Banks Family Law Firm

Child Custody

The initial determination of custody is decided by the State wherein the child has lived the past 6 consecutive months. In North Carolina, the issue of custody may be resolved through mediation, a Separation Agreement, a Consent Order between the parties, or a trial before a District Court Judge.

Child Support

In North Carolina, child support is determined by the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines after consideration of gross income of both parents, work-related child care expenses, health insurance costs for the benefit of the minor child, and extraordinary expenses on behalf of the minor child. A parent that has joint custody of the child(ren) may still be ordered to pay child support.

Separation Agreements

After separation and prior to divorce, spouses may resolve all the issues related to the dissolution of a marriage through a carefully drafted Separation Agreement. A Separation Agreement is a contract between the spouses that is enforceable through contract law. After a period of one year of separation, a Separation Agreement may be incorporated into the Divorce Decree and enforceable through the contempt powers of the Court.

Post-Separation Support & Alimony

A dependent spouse may be eligible for post-separation support and/or alimony from the supporting spouse upon consideration of detailed financial affidavits containing all the income and reasonable expenses of the parties. A supporting spouse may have an affirmative defense such that he or she will not be required to pay post-separation support or alimony if the dependent spouse has engaged in marital misconduct.

Equitable Distribution

The property, assets and debts of a marriage make up the marital estate and will need to be distributed upon separation and divorce. Title and possession are not the determinative factors of how property and debt will be distributed. In most cases, the marital estate is divided equally between the spouses. Equitable Distribution may be resolved through a Separation Agreement, mediation, a Consent Order or trial before a District Court Judge.


One spouse may file for an Absolute Divorce in North Carolina so long as he or she has lived in the State for 6 consecutive months immediately preceding the filing of the action and has been separated from the other party for 12 months. It is not necessary to prove any allegations of fault, nor does the other party have to “sign” for an absolute divorce.

Termination of Parental Rights & Adoption

Permanently severing the parent-child relationship occurs when a parent’s parental rights are terminated. In most cases, termination of parental rights is required in order for a child to be eligible for adoption. Contact Simmons Law to learn more about these highly sensitive custodial issues related to children.

**The material provided on this website on behalf of C. DeGabrielle Simmons Law Firm, PLLC d/b/a Simmons Law is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice, nor is this information being maintained on this website for the purposes of soliciting clients.