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Identifying and Proving That a Spouse is Cheating

In Separation & Divorce by Sarah Hink

As a parent, you have probably heard or read the term “STEM learning” on countless occasions. You hear it from schools, you hear it in advertisements for summer camps and after school programs, and you even hear about it from every toy manufacturer when you are shopping for your children. What is STEM Learning? STEM learning refers to a multi-disciplinary approach to teaching the four core areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. These disciplines reflect a skill-set and an applied knowledge base that more and more employers and industries are looking for in employees (i.e. computer science, computer engineers, coders, traditional engineers, mathematicians, and scientists). Unfortunately, the United States, which was once a leader in these areas, was found to be falling behind when American students were entering the …

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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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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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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. …

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Understanding Stepparent Adoption

In Child Custody, Parenting by Sarah Hink

When a parent who has primary custody of a child remarries, that stepparent becomes a significant part of that child’s life. For some children, that stepparent becomes that child’s caretaker, provider, stability, and emotional support. Legally though, that stepparent is not the child’s parent. This means that the stepparent lacks significant decision-making ability regarding that child and does not have custody of the child. This is where stepparent adoption comes into play. In the increasingly common circumstance of a stepparent who has taken on a true parental role of a child in his or her home, the North Carolina General Statutes allows for such stepparent to legally adopt a child, if specific conditions exist. The Stepparent Must Be Married to a Biological Parent For a stepparent to seek adoption of …

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Frequently Asked Questions: Alimony in North Carolina

In Separation & Divorce, Wealth by Carly Baker

For many couples who divorce, alimony is an important and potentially hard-fought issue. Designed to provide for the maintenance and support of a spouse following the dissolution of a marriage, alimony can be hard to understand because there are so many factors that a court can weigh when deciding the duration and amount of this spousal support. Below are the answers to some frequently asked questions we encounter regarding alimony. How Long Will I Receive Alimony? There are no one-size fits all answers to this question, as judges are afforded broad discretion when it comes to alimony awards. However, many courts will heavily weigh the duration of the marriage in determining whether to award temporary or indefinite alimony to a spouse. The way that many courts consider the duration of …

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Top Five Reasons to Consult with a Family Law Attorney

In Child Custody, Separation & Divorce by Elizabeth Stephenson

We are often asked if you are required to have an attorney when going through a divorce. The simple answer—no. However, there are several reasons that having a family law attorney is very beneficial. Consider these top five reasons to consult with a family law attorney if you are considering a separation or currently going through a divorce: You may fail to preserve your legal rights on your own. Legal proceedings regarding property, spousal support, child support, and custody are governed by rules of procedure, the rules of evidence, local court rules, and the North Carolina General Statutes. There are strict deadlines and pleading requirements when it comes to these issues. Failure to meet critical deadlines, or filing improper pleadings can irreparably damage your ability to obtain legal relief that …

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Seeking a Higher Education After You Divorce

In Separation & Divorce by Sarah Hink

Attaining a college degree, a professional license, a masters degree, or other certification is part of the American Dream for a lot of people. Not only is there a sense of pride and accomplishment in this achievement, but it can also be an essential step toward career advancement and higher salary. For some, dreams of a higher education were put on hold, or did not even start, due to marriage and family. In fact, staying home with children or supporting another spouse’s career advancement is a decision that many people face. Therefore, the spouse that puts aside their educational goals for the sake of family or marriage may find themselves at a disadvantage should their marriages end. Fortunately, there may be relief for spouses in this position. Alimony Supports Further …

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How a Criminal History May Play Into Your Divorce

In Separation & Divorce by Elizabeth Stephenson

North Carolina is a no-fault state when it comes to divorce. This means that for a spouse to obtain an “absolute divorce” from another spouse, the spouse does not need to prove the other spouse engaged in any sort of misconduct that resulted in the divorce. Instead, courts may grant a divorce upon a finding that the couple has been separated for a full year. Nevertheless, this does not mean that a spouse’s actions during a marriage have no bearing on the issues relating to a divorce. In fact, many people make mistakes and have some form of criminal history, which makes it important to understand the ways that this history may play into a divorce. Criminal Activity Can Bear on Alimony Judgments One of the significant aspects that a …

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The Legal Ramifications of Adultery

In Separation & Divorce by Elizabeth Stephenson

Adultery is an incredible breach of marital trust that many marriages simply cannot survive. Beyond the massive emotional toll and the dissolution of a family that can result from adultery, there are very real legal consequences. If your spouse has engaged in this violation or if you are being accused of it, then it is worth your time to explore these legal consequences. Alimony Accounts for Adultery North Carolina is a no-fault divorce state, which means to obtain an absolute divorce, a spouse does not need to prove anything other than a year-long separation. However, when it comes to spousal support, courts are not only free to consider adultery, but a judge may be required to consider it. Under the North Carolina General Statutes, the court weighs “illicit sexual behavior” …