View Post

Keeping Your Kids Active with Sports

In Lifestyle, Parenting by Carly Baker

The Center for Disease Control estimates that the obesity rate of children in America is at least three times higher than it was in the 1970’s. This is not hard to understand. The world has become scarier, in that parents no longer let kids leave the house alone on their bike, go on unknown adventures all day, and come back at night. In addition to having less outdoor time, children have a plethora of electronic devices to ensure a sedentary lifestyle that did not exist prior to the 1990’s. In addition, kids are eating more and sleeping less. As parents, it is important to understand the negative impact that obesity and an inactive lifestyle can have on children’s current and future physical and emotional health. While we cannot go back …

View Post

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” …

View Post

Privacy, Separation, and Divorce

In Separation & Divorce by Sarah Hink

Divorce should be a private matter. The life you knew and had hoped would last forever is changing. In addition to the emotional implications of a divorce, there is a struggle to figure out where you fit in your extended family, amongst your friends, and in your community. In the thick of it all, you want privacy—not only for yourself, but for your children as well. Is There a Right to Privacy? Most civil court hearings are public—unless there is some public interest or existing law that entitles the parties to close the courtroom. In addition, the contents of a clerk’s legal file are generally considered public records. The exceptions to this rule are for cases or information that are sealed or are otherwise limited as permitted by law—examples being …

View Post

North Carolina Defenses Against Alimony

In Separation & Divorce, Wealth by Sarah Hink

The events that lead to a divorce can sometimes be really unpleasant. The distrust, the accusations, and the misconduct that can end a relationship can unfortunately escalate as couples proceed toward their divorce and try to resolve their legal issues. Some couples are surprised to discover that North Carolina is a no-fault state when it comes to obtaining a divorce. This means that to obtain a divorce from a judge, a spouse only needs to prove that the couple has been separated for at least a year. Alimony is different. In fact, under the alimony laws of North Carolina, if a court “finds that the supporting spouse participated in an act of illicit sexual behavior” “during the marriage and prior to or on the date of separation, then the court …

View Post

Trusting the Mediation Process

In Separation & Divorce by Sarah Hink

A separation and divorce can involve numerous issues that must be properly addressed: the division of property, spousal support, child custody, and child support. The legal process to resolve these issues can be costly. This is particularly true if parties cannot resolve these issues between themselves, if the disputes drag on, or if you have to take issues to trial. Because of prohibitive costs, the benefits of amicable agreements, and overloaded court schedules, it is to your benefit to make a good faith effort to resolve your disputes at mediation. We encourage our clients to engage in mediation with an open mind, but we understand that they may have reservations about trusting the mediation process—or the point of trying to reach an agreement. Hopefully, the answers to the following questions …

View Post

Suicide Prevention Awareness

In Health by Carly Baker

Suicide is not an issue that most people want to think about, much less talk about. Unfortunately, suicide is an ever-present and real problem that can impact nearly everyone—whether they are having suicidal thoughts or have loved ones who are having suicidal thoughts. At New Direction Family Law, we feel it is important to have access to the appropriate information and resources regarding this very serious topic. Suicide Rates Are Rising According to a research studies conducted by the University of California, Department of Sociology and the National Longitudinal Mortality Study, people who have experienced a separation or divorce are at a “much higher” risk of suicide—by nearly three times. This makes sense as the emotional trauma and turmoil that comes with the end of a significant relationship can be …

View Post

How a Mortgage May Be Addressed When You Separate

In Separation & Divorce by Elizabeth Stephenson

Besides your retirement accounts, your marital home is likely the most valuable piece of property you own. You’ve likely invested a massive share of your savings and income to build equity in this important investment. When couples separate and divorce, this home becomes one of the big issues in settling the division of marital property. One of the important details, however, when figuring out how the home will be divided is what happens to the mortgage? That’s right. While a house is a giant asset, your home mortgage is one of your biggest monthly expenses. Therefore, it is important to understand the options available to address the mortgage in an equitable distribution proceeding. One Spouse Gets the Home A common scenario is for parties to agree, or for a court …

View Post

Working and Divorce

In Separation & Divorce, Wealth by Sarah Hink

Everyone wants it all: love, a happy family, children, a sense of greater purpose, community, career success, and wealth. In reality, a lot of people discover that for them, the concept of a work-life balance to be a complete sham. Even the most organized and “put-together” people have trouble meeting their own expectations when it comes to the demands of marriage, children, and career. It becomes even harder to find any sort of satisfactory balance when you are experiencing a separation and divorce. It is, however, possible to take steps to adjust and survive with your career intact. Know your limits. First, it is important to acknowledge that you are in a traumatic process and that you are not at your best. This means that you have permission to do …

View Post

What to Bring to Your Initial Consultation

In Child Custody, Separation & Divorce by Sarah Hink

Beyond the emotional toll that comes with a separation or a dispute over child custody, there is the practical aspect of reaching a legal and enforceable resolution that will help you move forward with your life. In reaching this resolution, many people find it critical to retain the services of an attorney for advice, for information, and for advocacy. It really does you no harm to at least consult with an attorney. In fact, failing to utilize an attorney regarding property division, alimony, or child custody can be detrimental to your financial future or even your parent-child relationship. This is due to the risks of missed deadlines, waiving legal rights, and getting taken advantage of by your spouse’s attorney. What to Bring to Your Initial Consultation On that note, if …

View Post

Anti Stalking Laws in North Carolina

In Domestic Violence, Relationships by Elizabeth Stephenson

Stalking is terrifying, dangerous, and sometimes deadly for victims. Beyond the invasion of privacy, stalking creates a virtual prison and constant threat for a victim—possibly leaving lasting psychological damage. Because of the emotional trauma, extreme danger, and the “strong connections” between stalking and domestic violence and sexual assault, stalking is a crime in North Carolina. The Crime of Stalking Specifically, under North Carolina General Statute § 14-277.3A, a person commits the crime of stalking if: the person “willfully on more than one occasion harasses another person without legal purpose or willfully engages in a course of conduct directed at a specific person without legal purpose”; and the person “knows or should know that the harassment or the course of conduct would cause a reasonable person to” fear for their safety …