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Identifying Signs of Domestic Violence in a Relationship

In Domestic Violence, Relationships by Sarah Hink

It is surprisingly easy to lose yourself in a relationship. After a relationship begins, a lot of people find themselves focused on their partner, while naturally pulling away from their daily routines and even from friends. Unfortunately, a lot of us are optimists, so when we find a partner we are attracted to—and who seems to reciprocate our feelings—we tend to overlook red flags. For your health and safety, it is critical not to overlook red flags of domestic violence. Control Control is an enormous part of an abusive relationship, and can include controlling where a person goes, who they can talk to, their access to money, what they can wear, and their daily activities. In other words, abusers seek to limit their partner’s ability to make decisions for themselves. …

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Reclaiming Family Dinners

In Parenting, Relationships by Sarah Hink

Teen addiction is a very real problem. Whether your child is binge drinking with friends, smoking, “vaping”, experimenting with K2, marijuana, or hard drugs, parents should be aware of the short and long-term effects that addiction poses on their children. It is a truly dangerous path to start down at a critical stage of their physical, social, and emotional development. In response to the risks of teen addiction, the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse encourages parents to engage and spend time with their children in order to reduce the risks of substance abuse and other self-harming behaviors. Try Reinstating Family Dinners Parents are therefore encouraged to have dinner with their children. This is based on the common sense theory that when children spend more quality time with their …

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Privacy, Separation, and Divorce

In Separation & Divorce by Sarah Hink

Divorce should be a private matter. The life you knew and had hoped would last forever is changing. In addition to the emotional implications of a divorce, there is a struggle to figure out where you fit in your extended family, amongst your friends, and in your community. In the thick of it all, you want privacy—not only for yourself, but for your children as well. Is There a Right to Privacy? Most civil court hearings are public—unless there is some public interest or existing law that entitles the parties to close the courtroom. In addition, the contents of a clerk’s legal file are generally considered public records. The exceptions to this rule are for cases or information that are sealed or are otherwise limited as permitted by law—examples being …

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North Carolina Defenses Against Alimony

In Separation & Divorce, Wealth by Sarah Hink

The events that lead to a divorce can sometimes be really unpleasant. The distrust, the accusations, and the misconduct that can end a relationship can unfortunately escalate as couples proceed toward their divorce and try to resolve their legal issues. Some couples are surprised to discover that North Carolina is a no-fault state when it comes to obtaining a divorce. This means that to obtain a divorce from a judge, a spouse only needs to prove that the couple has been separated for at least a year. Alimony is different. In fact, under the alimony laws of North Carolina, if a court “finds that the supporting spouse participated in an act of illicit sexual behavior” “during the marriage and prior to or on the date of separation, then the court …

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Trusting the Mediation Process

In Separation & Divorce by Sarah Hink

A separation and divorce can involve numerous issues that must be properly addressed: the division of property, spousal support, child custody, and child support. The legal process to resolve these issues can be costly. This is particularly true if parties cannot resolve these issues between themselves, if the disputes drag on, or if you have to take issues to trial. Because of prohibitive costs, the benefits of amicable agreements, and overloaded court schedules, it is to your benefit to make a good faith effort to resolve your disputes at mediation. We encourage our clients to engage in mediation with an open mind, but we understand that they may have reservations about trusting the mediation process—or the point of trying to reach an agreement. Hopefully, the answers to the following questions …

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Parenting and Healthy Boundaries

In Parenting, Relationships by Sarah Hink

Family dynamics with your parents and other relatives can be incredibly complex. A lot of the parenting decisions and methods that your parents utilized or that you witnessed of extended family—for better or worse—have impacted who you are as an adult and how you raise your own children. When you have children, it can therefore be confusing as you try to balance your own values of how you want to parent your children, versus the unsolicited advice that you receive from your family and friends. When you are a new parent, you will probably experience the gravitational pull that young children seem to have on your parents, your siblings, and your extended family. This is natural as your kids are adorable. However, with this increased exposure and access to family …

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Nasty Custody Disputes: What Not to Do

In Child Custody by Sarah Hink

Disputes over child custody can get highly contested when parents aren’t able to reach agreements. This is unfortunate as everyone involved—especially the children—are experiencing their own unique trauma and have to learn on the fly how to cope. But as experienced family law attorneys, we see the anger, desperation, and poor decision making that can arise in the context of child custody, along with the horrendous consequences. We therefore urge our clients to avoid the following actions at all costs. Don’t Resort to Harassment, Stalking, or Violence Harassment, stalking, or violence have never resulted in a positive outcome for the person responsible. In fact, it is terrifying at best and deadly at its worst. If you resort to any of these actions, then you can count on three legal outcomes: …

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Working and Divorce

In Separation & Divorce, Wealth by Sarah Hink

Everyone wants it all: love, a happy family, children, a sense of greater purpose, community, career success, and wealth. In reality, a lot of people discover that for them, the concept of a work-life balance to be a complete sham. Even the most organized and “put-together” people have trouble meeting their own expectations when it comes to the demands of marriage, children, and career. It becomes even harder to find any sort of satisfactory balance when you are experiencing a separation and divorce. It is, however, possible to take steps to adjust and survive with your career intact. Know your limits. First, it is important to acknowledge that you are in a traumatic process and that you are not at your best. This means that you have permission to do …

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Consequences of Hiding Assets

In Separation & Divorce, Wealth by Sarah Hink

Nobody is at his or her best at the end of a marriage. Honestly, how can anyone be? The once promising, long-term commitment has become unsustainable and painful. Too often, people make a bad situation worse by behaving badly in order to “win” or punish their spouse. One form of bad behavior is hiding assets during equitable distribution proceedings. North Carolina divides marital property through equitable distribution. In an equitable distribution proceeding, each spouse produces an inventory of all property that he or she classifies as “marital” property. This is property—excluding certain gifts and inheritances—that was acquired by either spouse during the course of the marriage. The court takes the total market value of all marital property and divides it in an “equitable” manner based on numerous factors. Of course, …

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Health Insurance and Medical Support for Children

In Child Support by Sarah Hink

Obtaining adequate health care coverage for your children is a big deal as a parent—you always want to be sure that your children are covered if they have pre-existing medical conditions or in the event of a medical emergency. Unfortunately, the cost of health care continues to rise in this country. Further, there is continued legislative uncertainty regarding the Affordable Care Act. It is therefore in your interest to understand how the laws in North Carolina address children’s health care and medical expenses when it comes to child support.  Medical Support By Agreement or Order Under North Carolina General Statute 50-13.11, parents can either agree or a court can order one or both parents to pay for a child’s “medical, hospital, dental, or other health care related expenses.” These can …