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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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Child Support When a Parent Has a Disability

In Child Support by Sarah Hink

Despite a parent’s desires and intentions to work and maximize their earning potential, living with a disability can stand in the way of those goals. When combined with a parent’s legal obligation to financially support their children, the issue of disability raises some interesting questions. In other words, what impact does a parent’s disability have on their child support obligation? All Parents Have a Duty to Support their Children Under North Carolina laws, all parents have a legal duty to support their children. This duty exists even if a parent is disabled or becomes disabled. What courts look at is based on an “income shares” model, which considers both parents’ relative incomes, the needs and expenses of the child, and the number of nights the children spend at each parent’s …

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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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Supervised Visitation and Safe Custody Exchanges

In Child Custody by Elizabeth Stephenson

When family courts enter custody and visitation orders, they do so based on what is in the best interest of the children. This is an open concept that can encompass many different considerations. Sometimes, courts end up hearing evidence that concerns them to the extent that they limit a parent’s custody or visitation. This may include evidence of domestic violence, a criminal activity, substance abuse, child neglect, emotional abuse of a child, or physical abuse of a child. In other words, if the court feels that a parent poses some physical or emotional risk to the child or the other parent, then a court will make decisions it feels necessary to protect them. However, it must also balance the underlying public policy that children should spent time with both parents. …

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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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Keeping Your Kids Active with Sports

In Lifestyle, Parenting by Carly Baker

The Center for Disease Control estimates that the obesity rate of children in America is at least three times higher than it was in the 1970’s. This is not hard to understand. The world has become scarier, in that parents no longer let kids leave the house alone on their bike, go on unknown adventures all day, and come back at night. In addition to having less outdoor time, children have a plethora of electronic devices to ensure a sedentary lifestyle that did not exist prior to the 1990’s. In addition, kids are eating more and sleeping less. As parents, it is important to understand the negative impact that obesity and an inactive lifestyle can have on children’s current and future physical and emotional health. While we cannot go back …

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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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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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Can a Man Obtain a Domestic Violence Protective Order?

In Domestic Violence by Carly Baker

Women are not the only victims of domestic violence. According to the latest statistics released by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, about 25% of the victims of domestic violence in North Carolina are male. Further, it is estimated that 1 in 4 men have experienced some form of domestic violence. Sadly, some male victims of domestic violence are hesitant to report their own abuse or to seek help. This may be due to embarrassment, a perception of “weakness” that runs contrary to “manliness,” or even a lack of awareness that help is available. In fact, men have the same legal rights to seek protective orders as women. Domestic Violence Protective Orders Domestic violence occurs when one or more of the following acts is committed by a person with 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 …