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Top Reasons Not to Ignore Legal Pleadings

In Separation & Divorce by Elizabeth Stephenson

As children, most of us learn that ignoring problems do not make them go away. Unfortunately, as adults we don’t always take this lesson to heart. Sometimes, ignoring problems as adults really comes back to bite us. This bears particular truth when it comes to lawsuits, as there can be serious and long-term consequences if you fail to properly respond. Ignoring Civil Lawsuits If you are served with a lawsuit from a collection agency, foreclosure, or another civil matter, you need to read the materials and speak with an attorney. The consequences of failing to act can be a ridiculous monetary judgment against you, a lien on your property, seizure of property, or garnishment of your wages. These are judgments that are incredibly hard to shake and may not even …

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Temporary Orders Can Provide You Safety and Certainty

In Separation & Divorce by Carly Baker

When you separate with the intent of divorcing, you are required to wait a full year before you can obtain a divorce under North Carolina law. During this time, a lot can happen and you probably feel like you have a lot more questions than answers. Fortunately, if you speak with a family law attorney, there are proactive steps that can be taken to get some answers. If you and your spouse are unable to come to an agreement regarding the issues that accompany a separation and divorce, then it may be in your interest to pursue temporary orders to provide you safety and certainty. Temporary orders are exactly what their name implies: temporary. They are meant to fill the gaps until final orders are entered after parties either reach …

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How Service by Publication Works

In Separation & Divorce by Sarah Hink

Separations are not often clean events where spouses maturely exit the relationship with a sense of closure. In fact, there are circumstances where spouses completely lose contact with each other. Whether this is because they drifted apart or one spouse simply doesn’t want to be found by the other, this can create a challenge when it comes to legally ending a marriage. People Must Be Served with a Lawsuit For a court in the United States to enter valid orders that affect a person, that court must have personal jurisdiction over her or him. This is a Latin term that has long meant that a court must be able to speak the law as to a person to bind that person to its orders. To gain this jurisdiction, a person …

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How a Criminal History May Play Into Your Divorce

In Separation & Divorce by Elizabeth Stephenson

North Carolina is a no-fault state when it comes to divorce. This means that for a spouse to obtain an “absolute divorce” from another spouse, the spouse does not need to prove the other spouse engaged in any sort of misconduct that resulted in the divorce. Instead, courts may grant a divorce upon a finding that the couple has been separated for a full year. Nevertheless, this does not mean that a spouse’s actions during a marriage have no bearing on the issues relating to a divorce. In fact, many people make mistakes and have some form of criminal history, which makes it important to understand the ways that this history may play into a divorce. Criminal Activity Can Bear on Alimony Judgments One of the significant aspects that a …

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What If I Don’t Want a Divorce?

In Separation & Divorce by Elizabeth Stephenson

The end of a marriage is a sad, and often stunning, change in people’s life circumstances. Their hopes, their expectations, and their sense of normal are thrown into flux. Sometimes, one spouse wants a divorce while the other doesn’t. Whether this is based on hope, personal beliefs, denial, anger, or some other reason, it presents a big dilemma for both spouses. Therefore, a key question in this situation is: What if I don’t want a divorce? North Carolina Is a No Fault State North Carolina is an absolute divorce state. This is a no-fault divorce that a spouse can seek after a married couple has been separated for a period of at least a year. In other words, if two spouses have lived separate and apart for a year, then …

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The Legal Ramifications of Adultery

In Separation & Divorce by Elizabeth Stephenson

Adultery is an incredible breach of marital trust that many marriages simply cannot survive. Beyond the massive emotional toll and the dissolution of a family that can result from adultery, there are very real legal consequences. If your spouse has engaged in this violation or if you are being accused of it, then it is worth your time to explore these legal consequences. Alimony Accounts for Adultery North Carolina is a no-fault divorce state, which means to obtain an absolute divorce, a spouse does not need to prove anything other than a year-long separation. However, when it comes to spousal support, courts are not only free to consider adultery, but a judge may be required to consider it. Under the North Carolina General Statutes, the court weighs “illicit sexual behavior” …

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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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Where Can Our Divorce Be Filed?

In Separation & Divorce by Elizabeth Stephenson

The decision to get a divorce is a difficult one, but it can also be an opportunity to head in a healthier direction with your life. In seeking a divorce, however, finality is critical to moving forward. In other words, you want to have a final, enforceable court order that dissolves your marriage or you will be stuck in legal limbo. This can only happen if the court that enters your final order has jurisdiction to do so. What is Jurisdiction? In essence, only courts with jurisdiction can hear and enter orders regarding your divorce. Jurisdiction is a Latin term that translates to “law speak” or “to speak the law.” It is an important concept, because without jurisdiction over a subject matter and the people involved in a lawsuit, a …

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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 …