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Absolute Divorce: A Year Goes By Faster Than You Think

In Separation & Divorce by Sarah Hink

North Carolina is an absolute divorce state, which does not look at the reasons behind a divorce, but instead focuses on how long the couple has been separated. Under state law, a court can only grant an absolute divorce when a couple has been separated for a full, continuous year. Once that year has passed, either spouse can file a petition with the family law court in their county and seek a decree of divorce. For some people, a year may sound like a long time to wait and may actually dissuade some people from even pursuing a divorce. However, inour experience, a year goes by a lot faster than people think it will, especially when that year is standing between an unsustainable marriage and a new beginning. What Should …

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Budgeting For the Summer with Children

In Child Custody, Parenting by Sarah Hink

With your children’s school winding down, the summer is quickly approaching. For many parents, the thought of summer can give rise to great anxiety. What will the kids do during the day? Who will care for them? What summer camps and activities should I sign them up for? Are they going to lose everything they learned over the year? And finally, what is it all going to cost? In reality, children need to be entertained, intellectually stimulated, and cared for. Unfortunately, childcare and summer camps are more expensive than they have ever been, and many parents feel financially squeezed as a result. Budgeting for the summer is a must to make the most their time. Take a realistic look at your finances to determine what you can comfortably afford to …

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Avoiding Money Mistakes after Separation

In Separation & Divorce, Wealth by Sarah Hink

Separation is an incredibly stressful time in a person’s life. Even the most Zen and disciplined of people can make regrettable decisions during this time. This is especially true when it comes to money and budgeting in the midst of a separation. In North Carolina, married couples must wait for a full year and a day before they can file for divorce in their local Court.  During this time, the couple must live in separate residences. If you think about it, this means that a still-married couple must find a way to make their combined income pay for two residences. In addition, a supporting spouse will generally be responsible for some level of spousal support and child support during this time. Therefore, it is of vital importance to avoid money …

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Understanding Debt and Equitable Distribution

In Separation & Divorce, Wealth by Sarah Hink

When you think of the concept of property division when couples divorce, it is easy to think that it literally refers to the division of property. As in, who takes what property with them when the dust settles? However, property division is far more complex than this and a couple’s debt is a critical aspect that must be properly addressed. Divorce Does Not Absolve People of Debt Almost everyone carries some type of debt. You may have a mortgage, an auto loan, a small business loan, credit card debt, student loans, or medical bills. Unfortunately, creditors are not known to be kind. So if you are facing a divorce, your personal life doesn’t matter to your creditors, who are solely interested in getting back their money. Under the law, debts …

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Understanding STEM Learning for Young Children

In Child Custody, Parenting by Sarah Hink

As a parent, you have probably heard or read the term “STEM learning” on countless occasions. You hear it from schools, you hear it in advertisements for summer camps and after school programs, and you even hear about it from every toy manufacturer when you are shopping for your children. What is STEM Learning? STEM learning refers to a multi-disciplinary approach to teaching the four core areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. These disciplines reflect a skill-set and an applied knowledge base that more and more employers and industries are looking for in employees (i.e. computer science, computer engineers, coders, traditional engineers, mathematicians, and scientists). Unfortunately, the United States, which was once a leader in these areas, was found to be falling behind when American students were entering the …

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Enforcing a Custody Order from Another State

In Child Custody by Sarah Hink

The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) is a uniform set of laws recognized and adopted by 49 states (including North Carolina). The purpose of these laws and their nationwide adoption are to provide guidance when multiple states are implicated in a child custody dispute, to address parental kidnapping, and to preempt dirty tactics in child custody disputes. These laws create a protocol for recognizing and enforcing existing child custody orders, of determining what court has jurisdiction to hear a custody matter for the first time, and for determining whether temporary orders are appropriate under the circumstances. Registration of Another State’s Custody Order If you have moved to North Carolina with a valid custody order from another state, then it would be wise to speak with a family …

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Keeping Your Children Out of the Middle of a Custody Dispute

In Child Custody by Sarah Hink

You adore your children and so does their other parent. Unfortunately, when the two of you are no longer a couple, there can be a great big divide between what you both believe is best for the children. Whether you split up a week ago or years ago, your children love both their parents and are doing their best to cope. They need you at your best and to be kept out of the middle of your custody dispute. Keeping Your Children Out of the Middle Take responsibility for how you choose to interact with your former partner. Regardless of why your relationship ended and how your spouse chooses to behave, you have control over your own conduct and your reactions. Your children will always remember this time period of …

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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 …