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How Service by Publication Works

In Separation & Divorce by Sarah Hink

Separations are not often clean events where spouses maturely exit the relationship with a sense of closure. In fact, there are circumstances where spouses completely lose contact with each other. Whether this is because they drifted apart or one spouse simply doesn’t want to be found by the other, this can create a challenge when it comes to legally ending a marriage. People Must Be Served with a Lawsuit For a court in the United States to enter valid orders that affect a person, that court must have personal jurisdiction over her or him. This is a Latin term that has long meant that a court must be able to speak the law as to a person to bind that person to its orders. To gain this jurisdiction, a person …

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Where Can Our Divorce Be Filed?

In Separation & Divorce by Elizabeth Stephenson

The decision to get a divorce is a difficult one, but it can also be an opportunity to head in a healthier direction with your life. In seeking a divorce, however, finality is critical to moving forward. In other words, you want to have a final, enforceable court order that dissolves your marriage or you will be stuck in legal limbo. This can only happen if the court that enters your final order has jurisdiction to do so. What is Jurisdiction? In essence, only courts with jurisdiction can hear and enter orders regarding your divorce. Jurisdiction is a Latin term that translates to “law speak” or “to speak the law.” It is an important concept, because without jurisdiction over a subject matter and the people involved in a lawsuit, a …

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Child Custody When Another State is Involved

In Child Custody by Sarah Hink

The reasons for going before another court are not always nefarious though. Over time, life circumstances change and parents and/or children move to other states. Because of the complexities and potential abuses of the legal system when multiple states are involved, the states had to develop a set of laws for clarity. The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act Jurisdiction is Latin for “to speak the law.” In order for a court to enter valid, enforceable orders, it must have jurisdiction over the subject of the lawsuit as well as jurisdiction over the people in the lawsuit. Otherwise, any order entered is not a legitimate order. When it comes to child custody orders, jurisdiction is a really big deal. Imagine paying lawyers and going through months and months of legal …

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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 is Service of Process and Why is It So Important?

In Separation & Divorce by Elizabeth Stephenson

If you have ever been involved in a lawsuit, or spoken with a lawyer about a legal claim, you have probably heard the term “service of process” thrown around. It is actually a critical element to every lawsuit and not something that an attorney can take shortcuts with. It is therefore important that we explain the concept of service of process and why it is actually a big deal. What is Service of Process? Service of process is the official act of delivering legal pleadings to a person. In North Carolina, service of process is governed by North Carolina General Statutes, Rule 4, which requires: The issuance of a “summons” within five days of the filing of a complaint. The complaint and summons must be delivered to a “proper person” …

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Child Custody When Multiple States Are Involved

In Child Custody by Sarah Hink

When parents cannot agree on child custody arrangements for their children, they will turn to the courts to make a determination. These cases can become complex and highly contested amongst the parties and their attorneys. Imagine then, when courts from multiple states are involved. Most lawyers are licensed to practice law in their own state and are familiar with their own state laws and courts. Further, other states have their own state laws and local rules that may look completely foreign. In order to resolve interstate custody conflicts, states recognize and follow the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) In order for any court in this country to hear a case, it must have jurisdiction. This is Latin for “law speak”, …