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What is a Child Support Consent Order?

In Child Support by Elizabeth Stephenson

When separated parents can agree to the critical issues of child custody and child support, their children benefit. Both public policy and common sense tell us that it is far better for children to see their parents act in a mature, harmonious manner than it is to see their parents fight during an already difficult period of time. We encourage our clients to attempt to reach amicable agreements and believe that it is important to understand their options when it comes to agreements. Separation Agreements One option to effectuate an agreement regarding child support is a separation agreement. This is a legally binding contract between parents following their date of separation in which they can agree to property division, child custody, spousal support, and/or child support. With such an agreement, …

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Never Agree to Spousal Support Without an Attorney

In Separation & Divorce by Sarah Hink

Separation and divorce can be expensive. One or both of you have to move out of your home, you have to pay rent and utilities at a second place while also paying the mortgage of your home, and you have to furnish your new place and have furniture for your children when they visit. In addition, you are facing the looming reality of paying spousal support, child support, and dividing marital property. You therefore seek to save money wherever you can. Sadly, some people choose to save money by representing themselves when it comes to issues like spousal support. This is a mistake, as some spouses end up agreeing to ill-advised spousal support agreements. For example, if your spouse has an attorney, you need one too. Your spouse’s attorney only …

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North Carolina Child Custody Myths

In Child Custody by Elizabeth Stephenson

Child custody disputes can be complicated and stressful. One way of feeling more confident, however, is to become well-informed about how child custody works in North Carolina. A big part of this process is learning about myths and misconceptions that can lead parents to making bad decisions. Myth 1: Fathers Don’t Get Custody of Children We must first dispel the biggest myth in child custody: that fathers do not get custody of their children. This is completely untrue. This misconception derives from the century old “maternal preference” that countries used to implement—which presumed that children should be with their mothers during their tender (early) years. North Carolina did away with maternal preference decades ago in favor of the best interest of a child standard. So instead of presuming that a …

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Is it Possible to Request a New Judge?

In Child Custody, Separation & Divorce by Sarah Hink

When you are going through a separation and divorce and are unable to come to agreements regarding the important issues of child custody, property division, child support, or alimony, then you will need to file a lawsuit to ask a court to make these decision. Unfortunately, people sometimes feel that they got a “tough” judge, or feel like their judge doesn’t like them and will therefore give them an unfavorable ruling. For people who are unhappy with the judge in their case, it is natural to ask whether it is possible to request a new judge. While it is possible to request a new uudge, it is neither common nor is it advisable unless very specific circumstances apply as to your judge. As a preliminary matter, you must first understand …

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True or False: My Wife Can’t Touch My Retirement

In Separation & Divorce, Wealth by Elizabeth Stephenson

Divorce is the worst. It really is a shock to the system in a lot of ways. There is an enormous emotional toll that accompanies the end of your valued relationship. If you are a father and your family’s breadwinner, there is the uncertainty of what will happen with your children, whether you have the strength to guide them through this experience, and the prospect of seeing them a lot less than you ever have before. Further, there is a financial toll. If you have traditionally been the primary source of income for your home, then you understand that you are about to spend a lot of money on attorneys fees, will have to split marital assets in half, and will likely have to pay alimony and child support. With …

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The Nuts and Bolts of an Equitable Distribution Proceeding

In Separation & Divorce by Sarah Hink

When couples separate with the intention of a divorce, one of the big issues that couples must resolve is property. Property division is handled through an equitable distribution in North Carolina, meaning all marital property is split between spouses in an equitable manner. If you are on the verge of a separation, it will be useful to understand the nuts and bolts of an equitable distribution proceeding. Is An Agreement Possible? The first scenario in which a couple may divide their property is by agreement. If they executed a prenuptial agreement prior to their marriage, then the terms of that agreement are likely to be legally binding on each spouse. If there are any unresolved issues or unaddressed property, then the couple will need to address this following their separation. …

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What Happens to Debt When I Divorce?

In Separation & Divorce by Elizabeth Stephenson

When most people think about property division and divorce, they usually think about money, houses, investments, business interests, retirement, and personal property. This is natural, as the title is “property division” and the ultimate question is: who walks away with what? Despite the focus on property, another critical question that must be resolved when dividing property is: what happens to debt? North Carolina is an Equitable Distribution State Property division in North Carolina is referred to as “equitable distribution.” This means that all property deemed “marital” property is divided in an “equitable” manner—which generally starts off as a split down the middle, followed by the court making adjustments based on numerous statutory factors that make the division fairer. While people don’t like thinking about debt, it is an issue that …

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Defending Against False Marital Misconduct Claims

In Separation & Divorce by Sarah Hink

To state things mildly, separation and divorce can be an intense and bitter experience. Whatever sequence of events or acts that led to the separation, some spouses are absolutely set on taking the other spouse down and having their “day in court.” Unfortunately, this sometimes leads to spouses getting carried away and making false marital misconduct claims against the other spouse. So the question of the day is: should you let a false claim stand or is there a way to defend yourself? What is Marital Misconduct? Marital misconduct is defined in the North Carolina as improper acts that occur before or on the date of a married couple’s separation including: sexual infidelity; a spouse’s criminal act; abandonment; “malicious turning out of doors;” cruel treatment that endangered the other spouse’s …

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Is There an Alimony Calculation?

In Separation & Divorce by Elizabeth Stephenson

When couples decide to divorce in North Carolina, one of the issues that can arise is that of spousal support. This is an entirely separate issue from property division (also known as equitable distribution) and from child support. If a spousal support agreement cannot be reached, a spouse can file a lawsuit asking a judge to award postseparation support or alimony. In our years of experience, alimony proceedings can be a harsh and bitter fight. If you are considering a divorce or are separated with the intention of divorcing, it is a good idea to begin mentally preparing for the issues of alimony. We frequently hear the following questions: How much should I expect to pay or receive in alimony? Is there an alimony calculation that courts implement? Unlike child …

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Making the Most of the End of Summer

In Child Custody, Parenting by Sarah Hink

As your children get older, it becomes painfully clear how fast time flies. This rings particularly true if you share custody of your children with their other parent—and therefore have a lot more limited time with them than you would like. And while many parents joke that they can’t wait for their kids to be back in school, most realize that these times are precious. Therefore, as summer comes to a close, it is really important to live in the moment and to make the most of the end of summer. Here are a few friendly suggestions to really make these last weeks count: Have a barbecue with all of your kids’ friends and their parents. Make it a potluck while you supply the meats for grilling. Buy a giant …