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Can I Receive Alimony Even If I’m Working?

In Separation & Divorce by Sarah Hink

Alimony, or spousal support, is designed to provide financial support and stability for a spouse who has fewer resources than the other spouse. If alimony cannot be agreed to, it can become a highly contentious aspect of a divorce, especially as it is one of the few places that the court can actually consider a spouse’s marital misconduct, such as adultery. A jury can even be requested as to whether marital misconduct occurred. In short, alimony proceedings can be emotionally charged, even after the dust of trial has settled. Alimony Factors Account for Working Spouses North Carolina General Statute Section 50-16.3A governs alimony awards paid by a “supporting spouse” to a “dependent spouse”. Naturally, many supporting spouses do not want to pay alimony, and therefore want to fight an alimony …

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Children and Domestic Violence

In Domestic Violence, Parenting by Elizabeth Stephenson

Childhood should be a time of wonder, when the world seems big, new, and amazing. It should be a time of learning, of observation, and of exploration. Even more significantly, children have basic needs, which include stability, trust, and safety. Unfortunately, when children are exposed to domestic violence, all of these needs are sacrificed. Consider the following effects of violence on children. Domestic violence is dangerous to children. Even if the conflict is between the adults, they know it is happening. Children will hear the violence, see the violence, or even get caught in the crossfire. Any veteran child protection advocate can tell you stories of children getting injured trying to protect their victim parent, or of abusers attacking mothers while they hold their babies. In worst-case scenarios, children can …

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Valuing Property for Equitable Division

In Separation & Divorce by Sarah Hink

Property division is one of the most frequently disputed issues when couples divorce. The reasons are obvious. First, both members of any marriage contribute to the marital relationship, household, and family, and each is therefore entitled to his or her fair share of accumulated property. Second, property division helps each person to attain some sense of financial stability at a time of great personal upheaval. North Carolina is an equitable distribution state. This means that unless there is a pre-nuptial agreement or other agreement in place, courts in this state are permitted to take all marital property that a couple has accumulated between the time of their marriage and separation and to equitably divide and distribute that property between the couple in accordance with numerous statutory factors. Marital and Divisible …

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Healthy Boundaries After a Separation

In Separation & Divorce by Elizabeth Stephenson

North Carolina is an absolute divorce state, meaning that couples must wait a year and a day to file for divorce. This year can be a confusing and troubling time, as you are still married but are expected to live separate and apart from one another. This is much easier said than done, as life is fluid and we fondly remember the good times. Or sometimes you simply miss your former partner and want to get back together. Reconciliation is not at all uncommon. However, when you have made a final decision that you want a divorce, it is important to take a thoughtful approach to staying separated and limiting your contact with your former partner. Follow these suggestions to establish and enforce healthy boundaries. If you don’t have a …

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What to Do When Your Child Custody is Challenged

In Child Custody by Sarah Hink

If you are a parent, the prospect of losing custody or access to your children can be a terrifying one. Rest assured, however, that North Carolina is a pretty parent-friendly state and generally recognizes the value of parents remaining involved in their children’s lives. However, if you have been served with a lawsuit for custody, or someone is threatening legal action regarding your children, it is important to take a deep breath, read the following, and speak with an experienced family law attorney. No Prior Order or Agreement Exists If you and the child’s other parent have never reached an agreement, or obtained a custody order from a court, then there is nothing for law enforcement or a court to enforce regarding child custody. Therefore, if you have the child …

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Distinguishing Marital Property from Separate Property

In Separation & Divorce, Wealth by Elizabeth Stephenson

When couples divorce, one of the big issues that must be resolved is how to divide property. In the absence of a pre-nuptial agreement that addresses property division, the law entitles spouses to seek an equitable division of marital property. In short, this means that a court will take the total fair market value of all of a couple’s marital property and divide it in an equitable manner in consideration of numerous statutory factors. Significantly, property that is considered “separate” property is not subject to division. Therefore, the classification of property as marital or separate is a critical one for both parties. What is Marital Property? Marital property is defined as “all real and personal property acquired by either spouse or both spouses during the course of the marriage and …

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How Do I Enforce a Post-Separation Agreement?

In Separation & Divorce by Sarah Hink

In North Carolina, married couples who seek a divorce are required to live separate and apart for a full year before filing for divorce. This presents a slew of logistical problems as life keeps moving and there are a great many changes that happen during that year. A year is a very long time to live in a state of uncertainty. With this in mind, many couples opt to enter into post-separation agreements to bridge the gap between when they separate and when permanent orders are entered. A post separation agreement is a legally binding instrument that may address issues such as property division, living arrangements, spousal support, debt, expenses, child custody, and child support. If parties can reach this agreement, it can be an incredible relief for everyone involved, …

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Is it Possible to Appeal a Child Custody Order?

In Child Custody by Elizabeth Stephenson

Most child custody cases are resolved by agreement. This is best for the parties and best for the children as an agreement is harmonious and indicates a greater likelihood that parents can learn to co-parent their children. Unfortunately, there are cases where parents “dig in” and there is a gap between parents that is too great to overcome, even through court ordered mediation. In these cases, it becomes necessary for a case to go to trial and for a court to resolve the matter. Predictably, when courts enter orders following a dispute, one or both parties may walk away unhappy with the resolution. This presents the question: Is it possible to appeal a child custody order? The answer is yes. In order to appeal a child custody order, a party …

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What Information Do I Need to Seek Equitable Distribution?

In Separation & Divorce, Wealth by Sarah Hink

North Carolina is an “equitable distribution” state. This means that when a couple separates and divorces, spouses are entitled to seek an order from the court that adds up the fair market value of all of the couple’s marital property and divides that property in an equitable manner. Property division is a critical part of the divorce process and it is therefore important to have a complete accounting of your financial interests. Even if your spouse is the person who handles the “money side” of your marriage, there are numerous records that you should seek out prior to your separation. As family law attorneys with years of experience, we have seen everything. We cannot understate how important it is to have a full picture of your family’s finances, as this …

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How Can I Prepare for a Divorce?

In Separation & Divorce by Elizabeth Stephenson

First, it is critical to understand that North Carolina is an absolute divorce state. This means that a couple must live separate and apart for at least a year before they can obtain a divorce. This is different from most states and anyone who has obtained a divorce in North Carolina will tell you that a year is a very long time to wait. Preparation is therefore a must when it comes to pursuing an absolute divorce and addressing all of the issues that come with divorce. Speak with a family law attorney. Divorce in North Carolina and the surrounding issues of property division, alimony, child custody, and child support are challenging and complex. Laws regarding these issues are always evolving due to new legislation and case law. It is …