Local family law office located in Fuquay Varina, NC offering empathetic and informative support for individuals going through separation or divorce.

Helping You Achieve a Fresh Start

Whether you are considering divorce or already in the midst of proceedings, our experienced attorneys are here to guide you. We understand the challenges firsthand and will help navigate you from start to finish whether the issues are resolved in mediation or the courtroom.

Divorce can feel like it will define the rest of your life, but it does not have to be. At Pennington Brienzi Law, PLLC, we provide legal support in contested and uncontested divorce cases and believe in helping you see it as an opportunity for growth and new beginnings. 

Expert legal advice and guidance through the divorce process.
Compassionate and personalized approach to understanding your unique needs.

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Our Goal

Empowering You to Make Well-informed Decisions

Our experience spans all aspects of divorce, including separation agreements, spousal support, and equitable distribution. Let us help you understand your rights and legal options, ensuring a supportive and informative approach throughout your family transition.


Find answers to frequently asked questions about divorce and separation matters.

In the State of North Carolina, the only requirements for an absolute divorce is that the parties be separated for a full year and one day before filing for divorce and that one of the parties has been a resident of the state for at least six months prior to the filing.  

A simple, uncontested divorce in which there are no other claims should take about 40-60 days.  However, if the divorce claim is included with claims for equitable distribution or spousal support, the resolution of those claims could take several more months, or even a year from filing the action, depending on the complexity of your individual situation. 

Yes.  You must be living fully separate and apart (in different residences) for a full year and one day prior to filing for an absolute divorce.  But you do not have to be fully separated to file some other types of family court actions such as child custody or child support.  


Circumstances may arise in which neither party will agree to move out of a residence, or example, in order to start that separation process.  You should speak with a licensed NC attorney regarding your rights and options in that situation.

In North Carolina, property is divided according to our state’s Equitable Distribution Act.  

Dividing property is a four step process:

First, you must IDENTIFY what property and debts you and your spouse have that need to be divided.

Second, property and debts will need to be CLASSIFIED as either marital, separate, or divisible.  This is important because, under North Carolina law, only marital and divisible property is subject to equitable distribution. 

“Marital Property” is any real or personal property acquired by either you or your spouse, individually or together, beginning from the date you got married through the day you and your spouse separated.  “Real Property” refers to real estate.  “Personal Property” is all of the rest of your “stuff”- cars, bank accounts, businesses, retirement accounts and pensions, etc.

“Divisible Property” is any increase or decrease in the value of marital property after the date of separation and before the property is distributed to you or your spouse.  It also includes any property or property rights received after separation but that are the result of efforts made by either spouse during the marriage, such as bonuses, commissions, and contractual rights.  Passive increases and decreases in marital debt as well as financing charges and interest on the marital debt may also be classified as divisible property. 

“Separate Property” includes any real or personal property obtained by either you or your spouse before you got married or that either of you inherited or received as a gift during your marriage (although there are some exceptions).

Third, all marital and divisible property must be VALUED as of the date you separated from your spouse.  If there is a long period of time between your date of separation and the day your property and debts are distributed, you may also need to know what the value is on the day these are divided.

Finally, property must be DISTRIBUTED between you and your spouse in the way that is the most “equitable”.  By “Equitable,” we are referring to what is “fair”, not necessarily “Equal”.  While it is presumed that an “equal” division would be the fairest, the court is allowed to divide things unequally after considering various factors and circumstances.

In an ideal situation, you and your spouse will be able to agree on how to divide your property when you separate.  However, if you cannot agree, you will need to file a lawsuit asking the Court to divide your property, which is a lengthy and often quite expensive process, especially if your case involves complex property issues.

The attorneys at Pennington Brienzi Law have experience helping clients divide their property with their spouse, by negotiating or mediating with your spouse until you are both able to reach an agreement, or, if necessary, by going to Court to have your property divided by a judge.  If you and your spouse have property you need to divide, we will be happy to help.

Divorce can be as simple as filing an uncontested divorce after you have been living separate and apart for one year and a day.  Or, if you have children, debts/assets, a need for spousal support and/or child support things could be contested and more complicated.  If domestic violence is an issue in your case there may be more steps involved in starting the process. 

Speak to a knowledgeable attorney about your specific situation and circumstances to put together a plan taking into account all of your needs.  Some actions such as equitable distribution and spousal support must be requested and pending at the time a divorce is obtained or you will lose your ability to ask for those things in the future.  Make sure you know all of your rights prior to filing for an absolute divorce to be sure you do not inadvertently waive your ability to obtain what you need and may be entitled to.

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