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Defending Against False Marital Misconduct Claims

In Separation & Divorce by Sarah Hink

To state things mildly, separation and divorce can be an intense and bitter experience. Whatever sequence of events or acts that led to the separation, some spouses are absolutely set on taking the other spouse down and having their “day in court.” Unfortunately, this sometimes leads to spouses getting carried away and making false marital misconduct claims against the other spouse. So the question of the day is: should you let a false claim stand or is there a way to defend yourself? What is Marital Misconduct? Marital misconduct is defined in the North Carolina as improper acts that occur before or on the date of a married couple’s separation including: sexual infidelity; a spouse’s criminal act; abandonment; “malicious turning out of doors;” cruel treatment that endangered the other spouse’s …

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Making the Most of the End of Summer

In Child Custody, Parenting by Sarah Hink

As your children get older, it becomes painfully clear how fast time flies. This rings particularly true if you share custody of your children with their other parent—and therefore have a lot more limited time with them than you would like. And while many parents joke that they can’t wait for their kids to be back in school, most realize that these times are precious. Therefore, as summer comes to a close, it is really important to live in the moment and to make the most of the end of summer. Here are a few friendly suggestions to really make these last weeks count: Have a barbecue with all of your kids’ friends and their parents. Make it a potluck while you supply the meats for grilling. Buy a giant …

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Why Would a Court Reject an Agreement?

In Child Custody, Child Support, Separation & Divorce by Sarah Hink

When it comes to family law matters that arise when couples decide to divorce—such as property division, alimony, child custody, and child support—there are several scenarios in which a resolution can be reached. This includes: (1) abiding by an existing prenuptial or postnuptial agreement; (2) reaching a separation agreement; or (3) filing a lawsuit and asking a court to issue an order resolving the issues. Further, even when filing a lawsuit, the parties can reach an agreement for the court’s approval before the matter actually goes to trial. In North Carolina and across the country, it is far more common for couples to reach some form of agreement than to take issues to trial. This is because lawsuits and prolonged legal battles are incredibly expensive, as are the trials themselves. …

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Explaining Marital Torts in NC

In Separation & Divorce by Sarah Hink

North Carolina is an absolute divorce state. This means that after a year of living separate and apart, a spouse is entitled to petition a court for a no-fault divorce. In other words, the court does not need to find “irreconcilable differences” or “adultery” or any other finding that you’ve heard of or read in tabloids whenever celebrities divorce in a different state. Instead, a North Carolina court just needs to find that it has jurisdiction and that a year has passed since the date of separation. This does not mean, however, that marital misconduct plays no role when couples separate and divorce. In fact, there are two areas that misconduct may play a role. The first is alimony, where marital misconduct is a factor that the court can consider …

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What Say Do You Have Regarding Your Child’s Education?

In Child Custody, Parenting by Sarah Hink

Your children’s education provides critical academic knowledge and socialization that really lays a foundation for their future success. As a parent, you take your child’s education very seriously, knowing that it is both an investment and an opportunity. Further, you understand that you have to advocate for your child and to help your child find the motivation to achieve academic success. When parents separate, the issue of education can be a very delicate one. First, parents often fight over who can have physical custody of the child, so the geographic location of the child’s school is a big deal. In addition, if your child has been in a school for a long time, then there is the factor of normalcy for the child and allowing them to stay at a …

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Can My Parents Seek Visitation from the Courts?

In Child Custody by Sarah Hink

When parents separate, the issue of child custody can naturally become passionately contested. Both parents want to maintain their time and relationships with their children and draw their lines in the sand. Sometimes, grandparents see this battle and may come to the conclusion that they are going to end up with severely limited access to their precious grandchildren. This can lead to legal challenges by grandparents. If you are a grandparent, or a parent who believes that a grandparent intends to fight over your children, it will interest you to know some of the rights afforded to grandparents in North Carolina. The Right to Visitation in a Custody Order North Carolina General Statute Section 50-13.2 allows a court to grant visitation rights for grandparents under certain circumstances that are more …

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Annulments and Void Marriages in North Carolina

In Relationships, Separation & Divorce by Sarah Hink

You’ve seen it in movies for years: people go to Las Vegas for a weekend of fun, get intoxicated, and wake up to find they got married to a complete stranger! Luckily, there is always a narrative device that allows the protagonist a way out of this messy situation: an annulment. This has created a widely-held misconception that annulments are a convenient way for anyone to get out of a short marriage. Unfortunately, life isn’t like the movies, and people are in for a rude awakening if they are relying on an annulment. Annulments are Not Common An annulment is an order from a court that voids a marriage—as if the marriage never existed. Annulments are not common at all. In fact, annulments are not magic erasers that are available …

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The Impacts of Changes in Your Employment

In Child Support, Separation & Divorce by Sarah Hink

Life is fluid. Our best-laid plans are subject to this fluidity and for better or worse, and we have to make adjustments in our lives when things change. One big area of our lives that can create havoc—or can be really positive—is when there is a significant change in our employment status. Our jobs are our lifelines. We rely on our careers as a part of our identities and rely on the income to make ends meet. If you are divorced and are in the role of a supporting spouse, you also rely on your income to make alimony and child support payments. So what should you do, then, if you experience a significant change in income? Alimony Can be Modified Alimony orders can be modified upon the demonstration of …

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Second Chances and Modifying Visitation

In Child Custody by Sarah Hink

If someone tells you that they’ve never made a mistake as a parent, they’re lying to you. Every parent makes mistakes, because being a parent is hard. There is so much emotion that comes with being a parent—happiness, sadness, pride, disappointment, and guilt. This is all in addition to the other stressors, responsibilities, and traumas we experience. Predictably, there is a wide range of mistakes that we can make as parents as we try to balance it all. Sometimes, we stumble as parents; and things line up at exactly the wrong time and results in the limitation or restriction of your access to your children. Before giving up, first repeat to yourself that to err is human. And part of what distinguishes our humanity is our desire to improve ourselves …

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Abandonment versus Separation

In Separation & Divorce by Sarah Hink

Everyone handles the deterioration of their marriage differently. Some couples try for years to work things out through couples therapy and varying levels of effort on the part of each spouse. Other couples end things quickly—ranging from an amicable to explosively contested separation. Another possible scenario involves a spouse abandoning the other spouse. To become legally divorced in North Carolina, a couple must be separated for a full year before they can obtain a no-fault divorce. However, just because divorces are no-fault does not mean that marital misconduct is irrelevant. It is important to understand that separation and abandonment are not the same things, and that abandonment can actually have a significant impact on spousal support and child custody awards. Abandonment and Alimony A spouse can demonstrate that abandonment occurred …