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Stock options can be offered to employees as an incentive or reward for a job well done. They are typically offered up front as a future benefit after working at a company for a set amount of time and can be purchased at an option price that was previously set. Every company will have a different policy and set of requirements. Some require vesting. In North Carolina, in most circumstances, the court will consider a stock option as a form of deferred compensation. The label is important because it opens up the possibility of stock options to equitable distribution. If they are acquired or received during the course of marriage and before separation, they are very likely marital property, even if the option cannot be exercised until after a judgment of divorce. Likewise, they can be divisible if acquired as a result of employment during the marriage, but not received until after separation. Continue reading →

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Once again, Hollywood has been hit with another devastating breakup rumor. Although not yet confirmed, many sources report that George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin are in the process of calling it quits. Many sources say that Clooney is upset because he may have to pay around $500 million to Alamuddin if they follow through with a divorce. The $500 million is essentially a distributive award since the couple did not sign a prenuptial agreement before tying the knot.  Many couples in North Carolina sign prenuptial agreements before marrying to delineate how to handle specific assets should the marriage fail. If it is your intention to enter into a prenuptial or premarital agreement, you should keep the following in mind.  Continue reading →

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To say the coronavirus has thrown a wrench in many couples’ divorce plans would be an understatement. With courthouses in and around Guilford County having to shut down repeatedly due to reported positive cases within the courthouse, obstacles abound when it comes to the dissolution of marriage nowadays. It is vitally important to practice patience. Although this may be hard given that divorce is a stressful and emotional process, trust that your attorney is doing everything possible to move your case along.  Continue reading →

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People all over the United States are suffering from the long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic – emotionally, physically, and especially financially. The CARES Act § 2202 has authorized special distribution options for retirement plans and has expanded loans from certain retirement plans. Under the CARES Act, the IRS will not deduct the 10% additional tax from early distribution of a retirement account for individuals directly affected by COVID-19. The explanation of the benefits of this specific section of the CARES Act is outside the subject of this blog. What happens if you are affected by COVID, you and your spouse are separated, and you withdraw money from your retirement under this program? Continue reading →

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A common question that often asked during consultations and discussions between attorneys and potential or current clients is: Can I date during my divorce case? The answer depends on the specific facts of your case. Factors to consider include: Are you separated; how long have you been separated; are there minor children affected by dating; have martial funds been used to support the new relationship; and, probably most importantly, when did you start seeing this new person? Continue reading →

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Crowell v. Crowell, 809 S.E.2d 325 (2018).

In North Carolina, Equitable Distribution (ED) is one of the mechanisms by which former spouses separate their personal and real property. Sometimes property can be mingled in with third parties, such as in cases where either a trust or a third-party business entity is involved. The case below discusses how a court may handle such an issue. Continue reading →

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Dycus v. Dycus, ____ N.W.2d ____ (October 2020).

Once upon a time in North Carolina, the concept of a no-fault divorce was unheard of. In fact, some of this state’s earliest granted divorces stem not from the courts, but rather the legislature. In those days past, a spouse would have to apply for a divorce before the General Assembly, and then take up valuable legislative time by having the legislature investigate the grounds for a divorce. These days, divorces are much easier to come by, requiring only a resident spouse to show a one-year separation. Surprisingly, from time to time a spouse does not seem to “let it go” and some states have had to adjudicate appeals from divorces based on constitutional grounds. Below, we discuss a peculiar appeal on those grounds from Nebraska stemming from a no-fault divorce. Continue reading →

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In Jordao, the North Carolina Court of Appeals reviewed N.C.G.S. § 50-13.2 and how the statute requires the trial court to evaluate all relevant factors, including domestic violence in determining if custody and visitation is in the best interest of a child. Continue reading →

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In North Carolina, there are various methods for an alimony order to terminate. One such way is by cohabitation by the dependent spouse (the spouse receiving alimony). But what exactly is cohabitation, and how does it impact an alimony order? Continue reading →

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Toussaint v. King, COA19-851 (2020) (unpublished).

In North Carolina, a court has the ability to incarcerate a party for not following a court order. This procedure is called civil contempt. In order to send a party to jail for noncompliance, the court first must find specific facts. For one case of civil contempt for failure to make child support payments, the court did incarcerate the father. Continue reading →