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Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Divorce Attorney

Solid Advice for Unsteady Times

We're here to help you through difficult times. The emotions of divorce create anxieties and sometimes cloud judgment. Stroud & Panetti, P.C. provides compassionate support and level-headed counsel to help clients emerge from divorce, equitable distribution and custody disputes in the best possible position.

Eleanor Panetti is a 20-year veteran of family law practice. Keith Stroud has practiced domestic law for over 27 years. We represent clients in Winston-Salem, Forsyth County and surrounding counties in North Carolina. See our Family Law FAQ for more information on common issues that arise.

No One Wins a Divorce Battle

We are not simply courtroom litigators. Our goal is to deliver the best advice and course of action for any given situation, and we often educate clients about the pitfalls of a lengthy legal fight. Going to court amplifies the animosity and runs counter to the "big picture" — preserving the greatest amount of the estate for the divorcing parties. Assets are finite, and legal fees only drain the marital estate. We will help you reach a resolution by separation agreement or mediation when possible.

Stroud & Panetti, P.C. vigorously protects the interests of its clients. Ms. Panetti and Mr. Stroud will litigate aggressively when resolution cannot be reached through negotiation or mediation.

Division of Property

Our firm fights for our clients to get their fair share in the equitable distribution of marital assets. We are skilled at valuation and division of business interests, homes and vacation properties, investments, retirement income, and all jointly held assets. Property division settlements also consider allocation of debts and whether one spouse will remain in the home.

Child Custody and Visitation

The court awards custody by making a determination which is in the "best interests of the child." Our job is to prepare clients to make their case for primary custody or joint custody either through litigation or by negotiation.

The State of North Carolina requires parents to try mediation in districts where such programs are established before bringing a custody dispute to court. Our philosophy is to also encourage parents to reach workable arrangements, given that they will share parenting duties for many years to come. However, when negotiation does not resolve all issues, we will vigorously litigate on our client's behalf.

Child Support

Child support is based on child support guidelines. Calculated according to a specific formula, the amount of support a parent must pay or can receive is routinely predetermined unless separation involves a high-income divorce with a combined annual income of $300,000 or more. Support amounts take into account parental incomes, the child's daycare expenses and medical expenses and time spent with each parent. Support payments can be in the form of monthly or lump sum payments and are not taxable income to the receiver or deduction for the payer.

Alimony and Spousal Support

As divorce in North Carolina is no longer fault-based, alimony is needs-based and determined according to sixteen important factors such as marital misconduct, earning capacity, age, amount and sources of income and length of marriage. Spousal support is granted to spouses who were financially dependent on the higher income earner and may be awarded for the dependent spouse to maintain his or her lifestyle as it was during the marriage. In addition to post-separation (temporary) support, the court has discretion to grant permanent alimony for any number of years. Alimony may also be adjusted after the division of marital property to reflect distribution of income producing assets.


Custody, child support and alimony can be modified for a "substantial change of circumstances" affecting the children or either parent. We have represented both sides on this issue.

Our compassionate legal advocates can also assist your family in addressing other concerns involving:

  • Paternity — We represent mothers and potential fathers in paternity actions.
  • Adoption – Our firm represents prospective adoptive parents in private placement adoption.
  • Grandparent Rights — Grandparents in North Carolina may seek grandchild visitation in a family which is not intact. We can help you make your case for access.

Pre-Marital Agreements — We frequently draft prenuptial agreements for couples entering marriage. Aside from protecting the parties in the event of divorce, these agreements can specify separate assets of each spouse, so that children from a previous marriage retain rights to inherit their parent's estate intact without the claims of a subsequent spouse.

Winston-Salem Family Law Lawyer: (336) 724-2600

For compassionate legal advice and strong advocacy in court, contact a North Carolina divorce attorney and family law practitioner whose experience leads to solid solutions. Evening and Saturday consultations by appointment.