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To Appeal or Not to Appeal?

In Separation & Divorce by Elizabeth Stephenson

If you have been in the process of a divorce or child custody dispute that went before a judge, there are probably times that you think the judge got it wrong. When this happens, you should speak with your attorney in order to better understand the process of an appeal. An appeal is the process in which a party to a lawsuit challenges a judge or jury’s order to North Carolina’s Court of Appeals—which is comprise of 15 judges who hear cases as 3-judge panels. In appealing an order, the party appealing must present legal authority, records from the trial court, and argument to demonstrate why the order should be reversed, revised, or the case dismissed entirely. Why Do People Appeal? People appeal a court’s judgment because they have a …

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Keeping Your Faith When Facing Adversity

In Separation & Divorce, Uncategorized by Christopher R. Hicks

The end of a marriage can push the strongest person in the world to their emotional limit. Divorce shatters peoples’ long-term plans, their routines, and their sense of stability—it can feel like a trap door has instantly opened beneath them. While facing this intense level of adversity, it is easy to get angry and to make decisions that are out of line with your character. But no matter how far you feel that you have fallen, always remember that you are not alone. There are friends, family, mental health professionals, and your faith to turn to. Keeping (Or Finding) Your Faith Through Adversity While religion will not necessarily give you your answers, it can offer you comfort. Beyond speaking to friends, family, or professionals, it can also be comforting to …

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Identifying and Proving That a Spouse is Cheating

In Separation & Divorce 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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How are Trust Funds Treated During Equitable Distribution Proceedings?

In Separation & Divorce, Wealth by Elizabeth Stephenson

Trust funds are a financial mechanism in which money or property are legally owned by a separate entity (a trust), and proceeds are distributed in accordance with the intentions of whoever created the trust. Trusts are one way that families distribute wealth amongst younger generations. If you are the beneficiary of a trust, or your spouse is a beneficiary of a trust, then the following question may interest you greatly: How are trust funds treated during equitable distribution proceedings? Trust Funds are Generally the Separate Property of the Beneficiary Spouse Generally speaking, the answer is that trust funds are considered the separate property of the beneficiary. Under North Carolina’s laws of Equitable Distribution, “separate property” is defined as “all real and personal property acquired by a spouse before marriage or …

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Helpful Tips in Preparing Your Post-Divorce Tax Return

In Separation & Divorce, Wealth by Christopher R. Hicks

When you get divorced, one of the absolute last things you want to think about is your taxes. Nevertheless, you know that you are legally required to file a tax return, and many people rely on a tax refund as additional financial cushion each year. Unfortunately, many Americans have been shocked this year by far lower tax refunds than they are accustomed to. This is due to significant changes in tax laws that have taken effect for 2018 tax returns and moving forward. If you have recently divorced or are going to finalize your divorce this year, there are big changes that you should be aware of for preparing your post-divorce tax return. Alimony Tax Implications Have Changed In the past, one of the more palatable features of paying alimony …

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Finding a Mental Health Provider

In Health, Separation & Divorce by Elizabeth Stephenson

Coping with the stress, anxiety, loss, sadness, and anger that come with the end of a marriage is a lot for anyone to handle. No matter how strong you are, or how you have faced prior adversity, there is no telling what emotional impact a divorce can have until you are actually staring it in the face. Mental health counselors exist for a reason. Contrary to outdated stigmas regarding therapy and psychological help, it is incredibly common for people to seek help when they need it. In fact, it takes strength to ask for help. This strength directly benefits you and your ability to find the tools to move forward. It helps your children, as they look to you for guidance and leadership. Therefore, we encourage you to seek a …

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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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Is Trial Worth It?

In Child Custody, Separation & Divorce by Carly Baker

Contrary to what many people believe, divorcing couples rarely end up going to trial to resolve their legal issues. In fact, in the vast majority of cases, issues like child custody, child support, equitable distribution, and alimony are settled between divorcing spouses in the conference room of an attorney or mediator’s office rather than in a courtroom. This is because despite the intense emotions that arise around these issues, attorneys will give their clients a realistic answer to the question: Is trial worth it? If the primary reason that a client wants to take his or her case to court is angerjustice, or vengeance, then the answer is no, trial is not worth it. This is true for a multitude of reasons, including: Going to court is expensive. In addition …

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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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Raising a Defense Against False Allegations

In Child Custody, Separation & Divorce by Carly Baker

Divorce and child custody disputes are among the most passion-inducing legal issues that civil attorneys face. Sometimes, in the heat of the situation and with a desire to win at all costs, we see people make bad decisions. One of those decisions is to make false allegations against the other party. Whether these allegations involve domestic violence, infidelity, fraud, or child abuse, it can all be incredibly damaging. While North Carolina is an absolute divorce state—which is a no-fault method of divorce—there are several areas in which misconduct can still play a role in the court’s decision-making process: Protective order—a spouse can get a domestic violence protective order against the other spouse, which can restrain the allegedly violent spouse from the home and the children. Divorce from Bed and Board—a …