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Seeking a Prompt Resolution to Your Divorce

In Separation & Divorce by Christopher R. Hicks

When a marriage ends, there is a lot that a couple has to pack up both literally and figuratively. Couples must resolve questions about arranging child custody schedules, selling or refinancing the marital residence, dividing marital property when spousal support is going to be paid to a dependent spouse, and supporting the children financially including providing their health insurance, school tuition, and extracurricular activity expenses.. All of these issues are legally separate, yet intimately inter-related. While these issues are complex, our practice strives to provide clients with prompt, thoughtful, and effective resolutions to the issues surrounding a divorce, so our clients can move forward efficiently. Trial is Expensive AND Risky New Direction Family Law consults with many men and women seeking guidance about what the path of divorce may look …

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A Child’s Best Interest: From a Lawyer’s Perspective

In Child Custody by Carly Baker

When family courts decide issues relating to child custody decisions, the law requires that they do so in a manner that “will best promote the interest and welfare of the child.” This is also referred to as the “best interest of the child” standard. If you are looking for a definition of this term, it doesn’t exist. Instead, it is an intentionally undefined term premised on the notions that every child is different and courts need flexibility when making critical decisions about their futures. As family law attorneys with decades of combined legal experience, we have a proven track record of helping clients resolve child custody disputes by agreement and in the courtroom. While courts are allowed to consider “all relevant factors” relating to a child’s best interest, we understand …

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Modifying Court Orders When Your Circumstances Change

In Child Custody, Child Support, Separation & Divorce by Sarah Hink

When a marriage ends, couples typically obtain court orders that resolve issues like property division, alimony payments, child custody arrangements, and child support obligations. These orders serve as a snapshot of that moment in time. The orders should reflect the financial conditions of each spouse at the time, the spouses’ living situations and needs, and the children’s ages and needs. These orders typically do not last forever. Often, they are more of a starting point in establishing the parameters of a divorced couple’s separate lives. Because change is constant and life continues to ebb and flow in the years following a divorce, courts allow for parties to seek modifications of certain orders to reflect a new status quo.                 Alimony Alimony, a type of spousal support, can be modified or …

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Domestic Violence and Children: Protection & Safety Goes Beyond the Classroom

In Domestic Violence by Jennifer Bordeaux

Trees are sprinkled with rich hues of auburn, burnt orange and gold. Front porches begin to glow with iconic Halloween images, and children (and adults) are excited to dress up as their favorite super hero, TV character or movie star—you’ve realized it’s October. Now imagine for a moment that instead of planning for fun Fall activities, you and your child(ren) live in daily fear of a controlling and abusive significant other or parental figure. All you wish for is finding safety for you and your family, but you don’t know where to turn or who can help. Feeling stuck, you decide that as long as you can protect your children from direct physical abuse, they’ll be ok. You hope and pray that school will be a safe escape for them, …

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Five Things to Know About Equitable Distribution in North Carolina

In Separation & Divorce by Elizabeth Stephenson

When a marriage ends, couples must sort through numerous complex issues before they can move forward with their lives. One big issue is determining how property will be divided between the former spouses. In North Carolina, this is accomplished through a method called “equitable distribution.” This method allows courts to take the fair market value of all of a couple’s “marital property,” then divide it between the spouses in an “equitable manner.” If you are considering a prenuptial agreement or a divorce, these are five things you should know about how equitable distribution works. The Date of Marriage is Critical When a married couple separates, their property is classified as one of two categories: marital property or separate property. This classification is of critical importance as a court can only …

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Supporting a Struggling Child

In Parenting by Christopher R. Hicks

As difficult as divorce and child custody issues can be for parents, it is worse for their children. Even if they had witnessed arguments and tension between their parents, they still had the stability of living under the same roof and the normalcy of spending time together as a family. As much as parents work toward easing the transition and co-parenting thoughtfully, children still suffer as a result of this major life event. Providing Supportive Parenting While there is no way of “fixing” your child’s pain, there are ways to support them in their struggle. Help yourself. Too often, we see parents trying to stay strong by focusing their attention on their jobs and their children while putting their own needs to the side. However, absolutely no one is at …

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The Advantages of Filing for Divorce in North Carolina

In Separation & Divorce by Sarah Hink

There are a lot of factors to consider when it comes to getting divorced. There is the emotional toll, the uncertainty looking forward, the timing, the impact on children, how property will be split, and the costs of getting divorced. If you are weighing a divorce and becoming educated on how divorce works, it is also worth learning some advantages of filing for divorce in North Carolina. North Carolina is an “Absolute Divorce” State In North Carolina, divorces are treated as no-fault proceedings. This means that the court cannot consider the reasons for the end of a marriage when granting an order that dissolves a marriage. Instead, courts must grant a divorce if there is sufficient evidence that the couple has been separated for at least one year before the …

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Parental Kidnapping and North Carolina

In Child Custody by Elizabeth Stephenson

Our children are a source of great happiness and joy in our lives. They are also a unique source of worry and anxiety. When parents are separated, they often find themselves with competing ideas about what is best for their children and have disagreements rooted in those differences. Those differences can drive some parents to make ill-advised (and sometimes dangerous) decisions when it comes to their children. One bad decision that immediately comes to mind is parental kidnapping. What Constitutes Parental Kidnapping? Parental kidnapping occurs when a parent willfully defies the conditions of a child custody order. This may include a parent taking a child from school when it isn’t that parent’s time to have the child and fleeing with the child. It can include refusing to return a child …

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Alimony and a New Partner

In Separation & Divorce by Carly Baker

Alimony payments are intended to financially support dependent spouses after a marriage has ended. These payments recognize the duration of a couple’s marriage, their marital standard of living, the disparity in wealth and opportunity between the spouses, and the numerous contributions that the dependent spouse has made to the home, education, and career of the supporting spouse. For many spouses paying alimony, these ongoing payments can be a real source of bad feelings; while in contrast, dependent spouses feel like they deserve this support in recognition of their contributions to the family. Our firm routinely gets questions from clients and prospective clients alike about when and how alimony can be modified. One of these circumstances includes when a dependent spouse moves on with a new serious partner. Remarriage or Cohabitation …

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Addiction, Divorce, and Child Custody

In Child Custody, Separation & Divorce by Christopher R. Hicks

Addiction to drugs or alcohol are serious, lifelong struggles that can consume a person’s entire being unless they can find a path to recovery. Unfortunately, addicts do not struggle in a vacuum and it is their families and children who often suffer from the lies, poor choices, unreliability, wastefulness, and misconduct that come with a dependence on substances. As a result, there are correlations between addiction issues, divorce, and child custody cases. Divorce from Bed and Board Contrary to its literal title, a “divorce from bed and board” is not a divorce, but a court-ordered separation. It is an involuntary order sought against a spouse who is harming the other spouse and will not agree to a separation. This includes a spouse who “[b]ecomes an excessive user of alcohol or …