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Keeping Your Faith When Facing Adversity

In Separation & Divorce, Uncategorized by Christopher R. Hicks

The end of a marriage can push the strongest person in the world to their emotional limit. Divorce shatters peoples’ long-term plans, their routines, and their sense of stability—it can feel like a trap door has instantly opened beneath them. While facing this intense level of adversity, it is easy to get angry and to make decisions that are out of line with your character. But no matter how far you feel that you have fallen, always remember that you are not alone. There are friends, family, mental health professionals, and your faith to turn to. Keeping (Or Finding) Your Faith Through Adversity While religion will not necessarily give you your answers, it can offer you comfort. Beyond speaking to friends, family, or professionals, it can also be comforting to …

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How are Trust Funds Treated During Equitable Distribution Proceedings?

In Separation & Divorce, Wealth by Elizabeth Stephenson

Trust funds are a financial mechanism in which money or property are legally owned by a separate entity (a trust), and proceeds are distributed in accordance with the intentions of whoever created the trust. Trusts are one way that families distribute wealth amongst younger generations. If you are the beneficiary of a trust, or your spouse is a beneficiary of a trust, then the following question may interest you greatly: How are trust funds treated during equitable distribution proceedings? Trust Funds are Generally the Separate Property of the Beneficiary Spouse Generally speaking, the answer is that trust funds are considered the separate property of the beneficiary. Under North Carolina’s laws of Equitable Distribution, “separate property” is defined as “all real and personal property acquired by a spouse before marriage or …

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Helpful Tips in Preparing Your Post-Divorce Tax Return

In Separation & Divorce, Wealth by Christopher R. Hicks

When you get divorced, one of the absolute last things you want to think about is your taxes. Nevertheless, you know that you are legally required to file a tax return, and many people rely on a tax refund as additional financial cushion each year. Unfortunately, many Americans have been shocked this year by far lower tax refunds than they are accustomed to. This is due to significant changes in tax laws that have taken effect for 2018 tax returns and moving forward. If you have recently divorced or are going to finalize your divorce this year, there are big changes that you should be aware of for preparing your post-divorce tax return. Alimony Tax Implications Have Changed In the past, one of the more palatable features of paying alimony …

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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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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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What Healthy Self-Care Looks Like When You Separate

In Health, Separation & Divorce by Elizabeth Stephenson

It is hard to feel like yourself when you separate from your spouse. This is a completely natural consequence of the end of a significant relationship, the complete disruption in your daily routine, and the process of coming to terms with these major life changes. While separation and divorce are fairly common, it is also unfortunately common to see people fail to properly take care of themselves during this time of need. It is worth taking care of yourself during a difficult separation. In the future, when you are in a better place and look back at these times, you will not regret it. Proper self-care includes stepping back and considering the combination of your mind, body, and soul. Mind — Separations are a traumatic experience. It is important to …

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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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Co-Parenting with Class

In Child Custody, Parenting by Elizabeth Stephenson

If you keep up with celebrity gossip—like many of us secretly do—then you may have recently read that Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck finalized their divorce after several years of separation. While celebrity divorces are nothing new, their path to divorce is notable because of the remarkable amount of cooperation that Garner and Affleck displayed when it came to putting their children first. This is in stark contrast to Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, who have aired many of their parenting grievances against each other through the media. For Garner and Affleck, their path to divorce began with Affleck’s infidelity. Despite this, both were able to live their separate lives in the public eye without uttering a single negative word about one another. Additionally, when Garner saw that Affleck was …

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Facing Your Feelings When You Separate

In Health, Separation & Divorce by Elizabeth Stephenson

Separating from a partner is a sad and painful time in anyone’s life. No matter how many relationships someone has been through, experience does little to dampen the pain that person feels when faced with the reality that it is really over. The way a person copes when facing these intense feelings matters a great deal, as avoidance just prolongs the process of moving forward; and worse, unhealthy coping mechanisms like substance abuse can lead a person into a long-term spiral that can be tough to overcome. Therefore, any professional counselor or mental health specialist will tell you that it is important to face your feelings when you separate. Allow Yourself to “Feel” Your Feelings Try journaling your emotions. Sometimes it is easier to identify that something is wrong by …

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Common Misconceptions About Divorce in North Carolina

In Separation & Divorce by Elizabeth Stephenson

The legal process of a divorce can seem like an intimidating concept for many people. It represents an unknown and unfamiliar concept that seems prohibitively expensive and complex. These misconceptions have an unfortunate consequence of keeping spouses in marriages that should have ended long ago. If you are seriously struggling with your marriage, are considering a separation, or are already separated, we urge you not to put your life on hold for the mere reason that the legal aspects of divorce seem scary or expensive. Instead, we hope to dispel some common misconceptions about divorce in North Carolina. Absolute divorce is not based on fault. One common misconception about divorce is that a spouse has to prove that the marriage is ending because of the other spouse’s acts or omissions. …