Winston-Salem Family Lawyer

At Apple Payne Law, we understand that family legal matters can be incredibly stressful and emotional. That’s why we strive to provide compassionate and personalized service to all of our clients. We work closely with you to understand your unique needs and goals and to develop a strategy that is tailored to your situation.

Our team has experience handling a wide range of family law issues, including divorce, child custody, child support, spousal support, and more. We are committed to helping our clients navigate these complex legal issues with confidence and ease.

Contact a Winston-Salem Family Lawyer from Apple Payne Law to schedule a consultation.

Family Law Matters in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County Courts

Although people routinely think of family court as a place where spouses present their divorce cases, family law is more than that, involving many different legal actions.

Here are a few family matters that judges hear in the Winston-Salem area.

Child Custody

When you’re in a child custody dispute, you may be confused about your rights. In North Carolina, there are two types of custody that need to be resolved: physical and legal. Physical custody refers to where the children live on a day-to-day basis, while legal custody is the ability to make important decisions about the child’s future. These are typically rights that parents gain immediately at birth.

But when couples decide to separate or were never married in the first place, custody disputes can arise. A child custody lawyer can help you determine what custody arrangement and visitation schedule works best for your family and uphold your parental rights in court as well as help ensure that parental rights are maintained where needed through legitimation and/or DNA Testing as needed.

Child Support

Child support is a court-ordered payment made by the noncustodial parent to the custodial parent. In North Carolina, child support is calculated based on the combined income of both parents and the number of children they have together.

An experienced child support lawyer can help you resolve child support issues and fight for a fair outcome for both parents. Whether you’re trying to file for child support or modify or enforce an existing order, our child support attorneys can help. We’ll help you prepare your petition, calculate how much you may be entitled to or responsible for, and represent your interests in court.


Divorce is the legal dissolution of a marriage, which can have significant emotional and financial consequences for all parties involved. In a divorce, the court can determine the division of property, spousal support, child custody, and child support.

The process of getting divorced can be complex and stressful, and it is important to work with an experienced divorce lawyer who can guide you through the process and protect your interests.

While divorce can be difficult, moving on from a relationship that is no longer healthy or fulfilling is sometimes necessary. With the right support and guidance, it is possible to navigate the divorce process and move forward with confidence.

Marital Agreements

Marital agreements, also known as prenuptial or postnuptial agreements, are legal contracts couples enter before or during marriage. These agreements typically outline the division of property, assets, and debts in the event of a divorce or separation. Marital agreements can also address issues related to spousal support and inheritance rights.

While some people view marital agreements as unromantic or pessimistic, they can be an important tool for protecting assets and ensuring that both parties are on the same page about financial matters.


Adoption is a legal process in which an individual or couple becomes the legal parent(s) of a child who is not biologically their own. Adoption can provide a loving and stable home for children who are in need of a family. The process of adopting a child can be complex and may involve working with social workers, adoption agencies, and lawyers.

There are several types of adoption, including domestic, international, and foster care. Adoption can be a wonderful way to expand your family and provide a child with a loving home, and a family lawyer can help you navigate this process.

Spousal Support

Spousal support, also known as alimony or maintenance, is a payment made by one spouse to the other after a divorce or legal separation.

The purpose of spousal support is to provide financial assistance to the spouse who is in a financially disadvantaged position, usually due to a disparity in income or earning potential. Spousal support may be awarded for a set period of time or until certain conditions are met, such as the receiving spouse obtaining employment or remarrying.

The amount of spousal support is determined based on a variety of factors, including the length of the marriage, the earning potential of each spouse, and the standard of living established during the marriage.

Divorce Requirements in Winston-Salem

Like many states, North Carolina law permits ‘no-fault’ divorces, meaning neither spouse needs to have a specific reason to get divorced. These cases are often resolved more quickly because neither spouse blames the other for the dissolution of the marriage.

To proceed under “no-fault: grounds: 1) at least one of you must have lived in the state for six months, and 2) you and your spouse must live apart for at least one year before filing a complaint for divorce.

State law also allows a ‘divorce from bed and board.’ This is not a final divorce but a court order declaring a couple legally separated. In this action, spouses may seek relief similar to that in a final or ‘absolute’ divorce, including spousal support and child custody, but neither is free to remarry.

It is wise to consult an experienced divorce attorney in Winston-Salem to determine if a ‘divorce from bed and board’ is needed in your situation or you can just wait until it is time to file absolute divorce.

The ‘Best Interest of the Child’ Standard in Winston-Salem Custody Disputes

Under North Carolina law, a judge must award custody based on what will “best promote the interest of the child.”

To make this determination, some of the factors a judge may consider are:

  • The child’s safety and well-being
  • Each parent’s ability to care for the child
  • The stability of each parent’s home
  • The child’s relationship with each parent
  • Whether or not anything less than an even custody schedule is appropriate

In some cases, if the child is mature enough, a judge may consider the child’s preferences regarding custody.

North Carolina judges are now being instructed to “default” to a 50-50 custody arrangement and to challenge that as not in your child’s best interests, you’ll need a skilled attorney.

Choose a Dedicated Family Attorney in Winston-Salem

At Apple Payne Law, we understand that family legal matters can be complex, emotional, and stressful. That’s why we are dedicated to providing our clients in Winston-Salem with compassionate, personalized, and effective legal representation.

Our experienced family lawyers deeply understand family law and are committed to helping our clients achieve their goals and protect their interests. Whether you are going through a divorce, seeking to establish a custody agreement, or dealing with any other family law issue, we are here to help.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can assist you with your family law needs.

FAQ: Winston-Salem Family Law

How long does a divorce typically take in Winston-Salem?

The length of a divorce can vary depending on various factors, such as the complexity of the case, the level of conflict between the parties, and the backlog of cases in the court system. In Winston-Salem, a complex divorce involving alimony/support/property distribution can take several months or longer to be finalized, whereas a simple divorce where there’s no property/support/custody issues, can be resolved in as few as 90 days.

Can I modify a spousal support order?

In some cases, it may be possible to modify a spousal support order if there has been a significant change in circumstances, such as a job loss or a significant increase in income. It is important to work with an experienced family lawyer to determine whether a modification is appropriate and to navigate the legal process.

What should I look for in a family lawyer?

When choosing a family lawyer, it is important to look for someone who has experience handling cases similar to yours, who is responsive to your needs and concerns, and who is committed to providing personalized and compassionate service.

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Kernersville Office

900 Old Winston Rd. STE 212
Kernersville NC 27284

Winston-Salem Office

190 Charlois Blvd. Suite 200
Winston-Salem NC 27103