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A New Year Doesn’t Require Big Changes

In Health, Lifestyle by Carly Baker

Have you ever noticed that whenever a new year rolls around, there are non-stop television, radio, and internet ads for gym memberships? Or that your physical and email mailboxes are filled with “exciting limited offers” on expensive trend diets and meal plans? The fact is companies try to capitalize on people’s New Year resolutions of diet and exercise during the early months of a new year. To avoid the traps and quick ends to resolutions that we often suffer, consider a more maintainable approach such as this: Choose goals that are sustainable. Treat your healthier life as a marathon and not a sprint. You are unlikely to find long-term success if you haven’t regularly exercised in years, then set a sudden goal of working out 5 hours every single day. …

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Separation and Your Child’s School

In Child Custody by Elizabeth Stephenson

A separation is not only hard for you, but it represents a significant event in the life and development of your children. This is not lost on family courts or on child development experts, who recommend parents create as safe, stable, and amicable a situation for their children as possible. With this in mind, it is critical to address how to create normalcy for your children when it comes to the place they spend the majority of their week—their school. Communicate With Your Child’s School One of the tough aspects of a separation or divorce is that you have no control over the rumor mill. It is not much different for children in school, as they deal with other children who spread information or rumors about each other. When it …

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Thinking About Materialism

In Lifestyle, Wealth by Sarah Hink

In the past few years, Japanese author Marie Kondo has authored numerous worldwide bestselling books, like Spark Joy and Life-Changing Magic: A Journal. These books present Kondo’s multi-step method of tidying up and de-cluttering your space, which have amassed her a huge and loyal fan-base who hang on every word she writes. “KonMari” mania has recently reached dizzying heights in the last month as Netflix has released its first season of “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.” In this show, Kondo travels to American homes, where she helps individuals and families whose lives have become messes due to the unmanageable piles of clothes, books, baseball cards, and Nutcracker statutes that have grown throughout their homes. If you have binge-watched episodes of Kondo’s show like so many others, you may feel inspired …

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Raising a Defense Against False Allegations

In Child Custody, Separation & Divorce by Carly Baker

Divorce and child custody disputes are among the most passion-inducing legal issues that civil attorneys face. Sometimes, in the heat of the situation and with a desire to win at all costs, we see people make bad decisions. One of those decisions is to make false allegations against the other party. Whether these allegations involve domestic violence, infidelity, fraud, or child abuse, it can all be incredibly damaging. While North Carolina is an absolute divorce state—which is a no-fault method of divorce—there are several areas in which misconduct can still play a role in the court’s decision-making process: Protective order—a spouse can get a domestic violence protective order against the other spouse, which can restrain the allegedly violent spouse from the home and the children. Divorce from Bed and Board—a …

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Frequently Asked Questions: Equitable Distribution

In Separation & Divorce by Elizabeth Stephenson

When it comes to the end of a marriage, couples have to find a resolution about their children and their money. Naturally, these issues can be sources of incredible tension and conflict. If you are considering a divorce, then it is of great importance that you take an informed, smart approach before agreeing to anything. Otherwise, you may be leaving a considerable amount of money on the table or waiving important legal rights. Therefore, we recommend that you contact an attorney and review some of our most frequently asked questions. What Property Will I Get When I Divorce?  The answer essentially depends on when the property was acquired. If it was acquired or earned prior to your date of marriage, then you will likely take it with you when your …

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When Does Court Ordered Child Support End in North Carolina?

In Child Support by Sarah Hink

While child support is a legally and morally necessary obligation that parents must contribute to their children’s expenses, it can represent a significant amount of a paying parent’s paycheck. Therefore, if you have been ordered to pay child support, there is nothing wrong about wanting to understand how long this obligation is going to last. In fact, the question of when a child support obligation ends matters a great deal to your financial security and future. Generally, a parent’s child support obligation ends upon the child’s 18th birthday. However, there are scenarios where an obligation may end before or after this 18th birthday. Termination of Child Support BEFORE the Child’s 18th Birthday The North Carolina General Statutes allow for a court to terminate a child support order if a minor …

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Avoiding Costly Mistakes When You Divorce

In Separation & Divorce by Carly Baker

The end of a marriage is a major life event that can completely rattle the strongest people. It is therefore natural that people in the midst of a separation may make decisions and say things they normally wouldn’t say. Anger and sadness are incredibly powerful emotions that can overtake the frontal lobe of our brains, leading to poor and impulsive choices. To put it mildly, these bad decisions can be costly when it comes to a divorce. If you are considering separating from your spouse, or if you are already separated and headed for divorce, these are some of the critical mistakes to avoid. Engaging in harassment, stalking, or domestic violence against your spouse. These actions can result in arrests, protective orders, criminal charges, and criminal convictions—which comes at the …

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Is it Possible to Get Attorney’s Fees For Divorce Proceedings?

In Child Custody, Child Support, Separation & Divorce by Elizabeth Stephenson

It is exceedingly common for a financial imbalance to exist between couples that are divorcing. This can lead to fundamentally unfair situations where the spouse with greater resources can afford to retain an attorney while the other spouse cannot. This can create inequitable outcomes to critical legal issues like child custody, property division, alimony, and child support. To address this imbalance and to offer both sides an opportunity to a just resolution, the legislature has made it possible for a dependent spouse to obtain attorneys fees in certain situations. Post-Separation Support and Alimony — The North Carolina legislature has given the court the discretion to award attorneys fees in alimony and post-separation support suits. This makes logical sense as a spouse who is financially dependent on the other spouse probably …

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Remaining Civil in an Uncivil Time

In Lifestyle, Relationships by Sarah Hink

We are living in a remarkably uncivil time. A vitriol that was once relegated to anonymous people saying terrible things on the internet has escalated. Now, people do not seem to have much problem putting their names behind horrible words online; or even worse, some people are emboldened to say or act in an extremely offensive manner in public. Lines that were once completely taboo, involving common courtesy, gender, age, race, religion, disability, and nationality seem to be crossed on a daily basis on Twitter, in the news, or in a trending viral video. To make matters worse, some of us find friends and family members shocking us with closely held opinions that we wish had stayed hidden. Unfortunately, at work, at school, on social media, while shopping, at family …

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When is an Alimony Claim Barred?

In Separation & Divorce by Carly Baker

Alimony. One simple word can ignite passions rarely seen in other areas of the law. This can be attributed to the fact that North Carolina is an “absolute divorce” state, which does not consider the element of fault when legally severing a marriage. As a result, a couple’s opportunity to have their “day in court” and establish who misbehaved during the marriage generally comes in the context of a lawsuit for alimony. Like any great drama, alimony can encompass issues like infidelity, marital misconduct, a couple’s standard of living, and money. However, before a court can hear any of this evidence, parties will provide evidence as to the threshold questions of whether the spouse requesting alimony is entitled to it, or whether that spouse is barred from receiving alimony payments. …