View Post

The Benefits of Volunteering

In Community, Lifestyle by Elizabeth Stephenson

No one lives a perfectly happy, problem-free life. If you are reading this blog, there is a chance that you are experiencing a pretty challenging separation, divorce, or child custody situation. As difficult as the circumstances of our lives are, it sometimes helps to put things into perspective of other people’s lives, or to simply find positive ways of focusing our attention. At New Direction Family Law, our team has a lot of experience volunteering in the community, and we highly recommend you try it. Expand Your Living Experience There are many reasons that people love to volunteer. It allows us to challenge ourselves. By choosing volunteer opportunities that are outside of our comfort zone, we expand our living experience. For example, if you volunteer with the elderly population, you …

View Post

Military Service and Child Custody

In Child Custody by Sarah Hink

If you are in the Military, you make a great many sacrifices in service of our Country. Among the greatest of these sacrifices is the extended time you spend away from your children. You miss milestones, birthdays, and the joy of watching them grow up. If you are separated or divorced from your children’s other parent, or if you have to find alternative care for your children during deployment, the anxiety of that lost time multiplies as you may feel uncertain about jeopardizing your custody of the children in service to our country. If you reside in North Carolina, you have special rights that can protect you during your deployment. North Carolina Adopted the Uniform Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act North Carolina has adopted the Uniform Deployed Parents Custody …

View Post

Animal Cruelty in a Relationship

In Domestic Violence, Relationships by Elizabeth Stephenson

Our pets can be every bit a part of our family as anyone else. We love them, arrange our lives and travel around them, and spend ill-advised amounts of money spoiling them. Remember that $75 dog jacket? We also want our furry family members to be safe, and we regularly attend to their physical and medical needs. But what happens when you observe or suspect that your significant other has abused the family pet? There is no clear-cut answer to this question, but the reality is that difficult choices and conversations are going to have to happen. Animal Cruelty is Wrong If you have directly witnessed your significant other harm a family pet, or if your animal is behaving in an unusually fearful way toward that person, it is important …

View Post

How is Property Divided in a Divorce?

In Separation & Divorce by Sarah Hink

Divorce is a time of incredible anxiety because of the great uncertainty that comes with this major life change. Of the many important questions that must be answered, one of them is this: am I going to leave this process with financial stability? This is a complex question, in which you should speak with a lawyer to advise you based on the details of your specific circumstances. However, we hope the following information can provide you some guidance before your initial consultation. Equitable Distribution of the Marital Estate In North Carolina, “marital property” is generally considered any property that is acquired during the course of a marriage. This includes real estate, personal property, retirement savings and pension funds that have been built during the marriage. In contrast, “separate property” is …

View Post

Mother’s Day and Custody Conflicts

In Child Custody, Domestic Violence, Separation & Divorce by Elizabeth Stephenson

Mother’s Day. A day to celebrate mothers. Their love, their sacrifices, and everything they do for us. Sounds pretty straightforward, right? Unfortunately, when it comes to separated or divorced parents, Mother’s Day is far from a simple holiday. When parents split custody, Mother’s Day can take on a whole new meaning. For the mother, it can mean spending a peaceful day with the kids. It is an opportunity for mom who works so hard to know that her kids love and appreciate her. On the other hand, for the father, it can be a day of nostalgia—of great sentimentality in which he remembers better times with his family. The day can be a reminder of warm memories that he shared and celebrated with the mother of his children. Some Simple …

View Post

What is Discernment Counseling?

In Relationships by admin

Lisa walked out of her fourth couples therapy session with James with the same feeling she had walked in with four weeks ago – confusion and irritation. Their therapist was fine, but it felt so much like they were just spinning their wheels. Even though the therapist seemed to be trying to get them on the same page, Lisa could feel that nagging sense that something wasn’t right. James seemed frustrated that he even had to be going to the appointments, even though he kept saying it was fine. When Lisa confronted him on this at home, he said, “Well, I just don’t know if it’s worth it, really, maybe this isn’t something we can fix.” “What are you saying?” Lisa asked, surprised and with a sinking, sick feeling in …

View Post

Divorce from Bed and Board in North Carolina

In Separation & Divorce by Elizabeth Stephenson

Making a decision to separate or divorce is incredibly difficult. Sometimes it happens quickly and abruptly, while other times the breakdown is a culmination of years of discord. If you are seeking a separation or divorce, you should know that North Carolina offers several legal options to choose from. One of these is a divorce from bed and board. What is a Divorce from Bed and Board? A divorce from bed and board is a legal action between married couples. Contrary to what it sounds like, a divorce from bed and board is NOT a divorce. Instead, it is a legal separation that alters a couple’s marriage status. Unfortunately, this type of separation does not arise from amicable circumstances. Instead, it is a “fault-based” legal separation in which one spouse …

View Post

Withholding Visitation

In Child Custody by Sarah Hink

When parents separate or divorce, one of the many challenges that face them is getting along for the sake of the children. As difficult as this time is for the parents, it is often taken for granted how terrible the experience is for children of any age, and the long-term impact that it has on their emotional development. Unfortunately, parents make poor decisions to spite each other. One of these is the parent with custody withholding visitation from the other parent. There are numerous ways in which this occurs. A Parent Occasionally Withholds Visits It is common that a parent with primary custody cancels occasional visits. Some custody orders will account for missed visits by allowing the deprived parent to have make-up visitation. The best course of action in this …

View Post

Arbitration vs. Trial

In Separation & Divorce by Elizabeth Stephenson

The Drawbacks of Trial We’ve spent our entire lives watching television shows and movies about courtroom battles. There is glamour, conflict, and intrigue that keep us captivated. Unfortunately, real life trials bear little resemblance to what you may envision. If you are going through a divorce or custody dispute, the prospect of trial may be scary and a little exciting. There are some very real risks to consider before proceeding to trial. Trial can be incredibly expensive. You have to pay for costs and fees, including the many hours your attorney prepares for trial and the days your attorney spends in trial with you. Family courts in North Carolina are all overworked and overloaded with cases. It can sometimes take a year or longer to be reached for trial. You …

View Post

Dissipation of Marital Assets

In Separation & Divorce by Sarah Hink

Divorces can get messy. Incredibly, horribly, messy. People are angry and make decisions consistent with this rage. One of these decisions involves getting rid of marital property to punish their former spouse. North Carolina calls this dissipation of assets, which has serious repercussions for the perpetrator. What Constitutes Dissipation? The North Carolina legislature categorizes dissipation as acts of a party “to waste, neglect, devalue or convert the marital property or divisible property, or both, during the period after separation of the parties and before the time of distribution.” In other words, it is the act of depleting property from the marital estate. This is bad because the clear intent of a spouse who commits these acts is to reduce the amount that the other spouse gets out of the divorce. …