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Helping Your Teen Through Dating Violence

In Domestic Violence, Parenting by Sarah Hink

Domestic violence isn’t just a problem that affects adult relationships, it also exists in teen relationships and is considered by the Center for Disease Control to be widespread. This is a difficult situation for parents, since it comes at a time when kids want their privacy, communicate less, and may try to hide things from you. Violence in early relationships is something that is far beyond children’s maturity levels, and it takes strong and vigilant adults to notice what is happening and to intervene. Helping Your Teen Through Dating Violence Address violence in your own relationships through counseling, classes, or legal intervention. Domestic violence is “cyclical”, which means that children who are exposed to domestic violence have a higher likelihood to be in violent relationships themselves. This is because violence …

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Preparing Your Equitable Distribution Inventory

In Separation & Divorce, Wealth by Sarah Hink

When a couple ends their marriage, they must undergo the important process of dividing their property before they can move forward into their separate futures. In North Carolina, this process is conducted by equitable distribution, which involves the court dividing the fair market value of all marital property between the spouses. This process can be a legitimate tug-of-war with each spouse operating under a sincere belief that they are entitled to more property than the other. Because there is so much at stake, it is critical to seek the advice of an experienced family law attorney when it comes to equitable distribution. An attorney can help you with taking the necessary steps to preserve your legal rights, to properly classify property, and to use accepted methods to appraise property—all so …

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The Legal Impacts of Reconciliation

In Separation & Divorce by Sarah Hink

North Carolina is an absolute divorce state, which is a no-fault form of divorce. To obtain a divorce, a spouse needs to demonstrate that the couple has been separated for no less than one year. This means that a couple must live “separate and apart” from each other for one uninterrupted year before either spouse can file a petition seeking the dissolution of their marriage. A lot can happen in a year, especially when it comes to ending a marriage. The decision is a big deal and can be really confusing to process. Some people change their minds and try to work it out again or even rekindle their intimacy while still intending to divorce. It is therefore important to understand what constitutes reconciliation and how it can impact your …

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Thinking About Materialism

In Lifestyle, Wealth by Sarah Hink

In the past few years, Japanese author Marie Kondo has authored numerous worldwide bestselling books, like Spark Joy and Life-Changing Magic: A Journal. These books present Kondo’s multi-step method of tidying up and de-cluttering your space, which have amassed her a huge and loyal fan-base who hang on every word she writes. “KonMari” mania has recently reached dizzying heights in the last month as Netflix has released its first season of “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.” In this show, Kondo travels to American homes, where she helps individuals and families whose lives have become messes due to the unmanageable piles of clothes, books, baseball cards, and Nutcracker statutes that have grown throughout their homes. If you have binge-watched episodes of Kondo’s show like so many others, you may feel inspired …

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When Does Court Ordered Child Support End in North Carolina?

In Child Support by Sarah Hink

While child support is a legally and morally necessary obligation that parents must contribute to their children’s expenses, it can represent a significant amount of a paying parent’s paycheck. Therefore, if you have been ordered to pay child support, there is nothing wrong about wanting to understand how long this obligation is going to last. In fact, the question of when a child support obligation ends matters a great deal to your financial security and future. Generally, a parent’s child support obligation ends upon the child’s 18th birthday. However, there are scenarios where an obligation may end before or after this 18th birthday. Termination of Child Support BEFORE the Child’s 18th Birthday The North Carolina General Statutes allow for a court to terminate a child support order if a minor …

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Remaining Civil in an Uncivil Time

In Lifestyle, Relationships by Sarah Hink

We are living in a remarkably uncivil time. A vitriol that was once relegated to anonymous people saying terrible things on the internet has escalated. Now, people do not seem to have much problem putting their names behind horrible words online; or even worse, some people are emboldened to say or act in an extremely offensive manner in public. Lines that were once completely taboo, involving common courtesy, gender, age, race, religion, disability, and nationality seem to be crossed on a daily basis on Twitter, in the news, or in a trending viral video. To make matters worse, some of us find friends and family members shocking us with closely held opinions that we wish had stayed hidden. Unfortunately, at work, at school, on social media, while shopping, at family …

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Understanding Stepparent Adoption

In Child Custody, Parenting by Sarah Hink

When a parent who has primary custody of a child remarries, that stepparent becomes a significant part of that child’s life. For some children, that stepparent becomes that child’s caretaker, provider, stability, and emotional support. Legally though, that stepparent is not the child’s parent. This means that the stepparent lacks significant decision-making ability regarding that child and does not have custody of the child. This is where stepparent adoption comes into play. In the increasingly common circumstance of a stepparent who has taken on a true parental role of a child in his or her home, the North Carolina General Statutes allows for such stepparent to legally adopt a child, if specific conditions exist. The Stepparent Must Be Married to a Biological Parent For a stepparent to seek adoption of …

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Guiding Children Through Political Turbulence

In Parenting by Sarah Hink

It isn’t controversial to say that we are living in an era of extraordinary political divisiveness. Communities, friendships, relationships, and even families are being tested as neither side of the political spectrum seem willing to find common ground on virtually any issue. Unfortunately, with politics being served to us in real time via social media and through a non-stop news cycle, it is increasingly difficult to shelter our children from an incredibly negative time in our country. Children hear the news when the television is on, they hear it on the radio, they witness incredibly negative campaign ads, and they hear it from friends. And if you think about it, you have probably had numerous conversations about your political views within earshot of your children. While it simply isn’t possible, …

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Best Interest and a Father’s Rights

In Child Custody by Sarah Hink

Fathers often get a bad rap when it comes to public perceptions of parental responsibility and child custody issues. While there may be historic truth to mothers serving as primary caregivers of children, and there are certainly parents who shirk their responsibility to their children, it does not help that we have become accustomed to caricatures of men on the Maury Povich Show who are actively seeking to deny paternity to children. These men who dance and celebrate when they are declared not the father are a far cry from the many men we see as family law attorneys who are seeking to maximize their parental rights to their children. It is an indisputable fact that times have evolved regarding careers and parenting roles; and with this evolution, there are …

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Ways a Family Lawyer Cannot Help You

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

Separations and divorces encompass a broad array of issues that must be resolved. This includes emergency protective orders, separation agreements, property division, post separation support, child support, child custody, and absolute divorce. It can be incredibly reassuring to have an attorney to skillfully guide you through these issues into the future. Attorneys have a duty to follow the direction of their clients and to zealously fight to achieve clients’ goals. However, as you enter an attorney-client relationship with a family lawyer, it is critical that you understand that there are limits to what an attorney can do when representing you. Ways a Family Lawyer Cannot Help You Advise a client to commit a crime. The rules of professional conduct prohibit an attorney from assisting a client to commit a criminal …