Durham Family Law Specialist, Barri Payne

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Separation and Divorce

Unfortunately recent statistics show that more than half of first marriages end in divorce within the first 10 years. Statistics are higher for second marriages. While no one plans to get a divorce and often great effort is given to avoid it, unfortunately there are those circumstances where divorce is inevitable and may be even necessary to get out of an unsafe or unhealthy relationship where there is domestic violence, substance abuse, mental or psychological abuse. As a result, governments nationwide have responded by setting up specialized courts to fairly and efficiently deal with family law matters. In fact, Durham is one of about 22 counties in N.C. that has a special Family Court.

Irrespective of how commonplace divorce may be, it is still among the most stressful events that occur in the course of a lifetime. Many times, the divorce process is only the end result of an extensive period of unrest and anxiety, which often includes financial distress. It is often the case that by the time a couple settles on divorce, the relationship has become so emotionally charged that the parties are no longer communicating effectively and common ground becomes challenging to find.

While every divorce is as unique and individual as the people involved, to deal with the number of divorces that take place, courts are guided by laws developed to streamline the process. In contrast to the emotions you might be feeling, courts take a very business-like approach to dissolving a marriage. Absent special circumstances, marital debt and assets are distributed equally and the issue of child custody is often viewed by the Court today with a goal of joint legal and physical custody between both parents.

Because courts are aware this one-size-fits all approach is probably not the best solution for most families, courts require parties to participate in creating their own solutions through processes like mediation and negotiated settlement.

Barri Payne Family Law & Mediation

North Carolina Board Certified Specialist in Family Law

Certified Family Financial Mediator


By and large, studies show that when the couples participate fully in finding creative solutions to their unique circumstances, the resolutions that come out of the process are longer lasting and provide greater satisfaction for everyone involved. Barri Payne is a Board Certified Specialist in Family Law and a Certified Family Financial Mediator. She has the experience to help you create lasting agreements through negotiated settlement and mediation. For the statistically low number of divorces that cannot be resolved through this well respected process, Barri is an experienced trial lawyer. She brings twelve plus years of courtroom experience to assist and guide her clients through litigation in Durham, Orange or Wake counties.

Mediation and negotiation cover every facet of marriage dissolution, including child custody, child support, distribution of marital property and debt, and, sometimes, temporary spousal support and long term alimony.

The High Net Worth Divorce

While the pain and angst of divorce is similar across the board, divorces that strike families who are privileged to have high incomes, large investments, family businesses, and professional practices are often complex and require additional analysis of financial documents and the use of experts such as CPA’s, business evaluators, and forensic accountants to analyze and value the assets. . Because of the complexity of these matters, retaining a lawyer with sophisticated legal training and experience in these types of divorces can be invaluable.

Barri is dedicated to effectively and efficiently investigating and resolving asset-based disputes. She offers high-quality legal services and is personally attentive to her clients’ needs and concerns. She has extensive experience working with the kinds of prominent professionals the Triangle is so lucky to have, including doctors, lawyers, academicians, business owners and entrepreneurs. She also has established relationships with experts such as those listed above who she can and will utilize for your case if that is necessary and helpful to the mediation or negotiation process or to the Court.

Barri can help you assess your current position and clarify your long term goals so that the best solutions can be found to fit a client’s individual circumstance. Call Barri’s office in Durham, North Carolina, to schedule your consultation regarding divorce.

Board Certified Legal Specialist in Family Law
NC DRC Certified Family Financial Mediator