Articles Posted in ClientVille

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Hitchcock v. Rupert, 2022-NCCOA-268 (2022) (unpublished).

In North Carolina, domestic violence falls under Chapter 50B of the General Statutes. It serves to protect a party who is or was in a relationship with the perpetrator. Harassment can rise to a level where a domestic violence order of protection is proper. Below is an example of conduct that rises to that level. Continue reading →

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In re JBD, 2022-NCCOA-353 (unpublished).

In North Carolina, termination of parental rights (TPR) cases exist to remove one parent’s complete rights to their child. The grounds for doing so include abuse and neglect of the minor child. The evidence must prove those grounds by clear and convincing evidence, a burden above a preponderance and below beyond reasonable doubt. There are some procedural steps as well. For example, in response to a TPR, the respondent can deny the allegations. If so, the court must appoint a guardian ad litem for the minor child. Another instance of a peculiarity of TPRs is that the trial court essentially enters two orders: one for adjudication on grounds for TPR, and one actually terminating rights (called the disposition order). This is because there are two major steps for TPR: one to find the grounds, and the other to determine whether it is in the best interest of the minor child to terminate a parent’s rights. Below is a case where a respondent did not follow procedure. Continue reading →

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Blue v. Bhiro, 2022-NCSC-45 (2022)

In North Carolina, our Rules of Civil Procedure govern many aspects of civil trials. This includes the vast majority of the actions you will see incident to divorce and separation, such as child custody, child support, alimony, and equitable distribution. Under these rules, there are a few preliminary hurdles a complaint may cross before a trial court will hear the matter. Two such hurdles are a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted (colloquially called a 12(b)(6) motion), and a motion for summary judgment. Both will dispose of the complaint, albeit for different reasons. Interestingly, because of the effect, sometimes a 12(b)(6) motion can be converted into a motion for summary judgment. Below is a case about one such conversion, or lack of conversion. Continue reading →

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Oops, she did it again. It’s official: Sam Asghari and Britney Spears are husband and wife. The two began dating after meeting on the set of Britney’s “Slumber Party” video in 2016. On September 12, 2021, the couple revealed their engagement to the world. Just two months later, Britney was released from her conservatorship after nearly 14 years. On April 11, 2022, Britney announced she and Sam were expecting their first child together. A month later the couple announced her miscarriage. The couple experienced ups and downs before their big day, so it is no surprise that drama ensued on the actual wedding day.

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Part 8: Supporting your LGBTQIA+ Child When Others Won’t

As a good parent, you love your child no matter what, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation. Watching your child face discrimination and rejection is heartbreaking, and of course you want to protect them from that pain as much as you can. But what happens if that rejection is coming from your child’s other parent? How can you protect your child when the threat is so close to home? If getting full custody of your child, discussed in Parts 6 and 7 , isn’t an option, there are still steps you can take to minimize the damage of their other parent’s rejection. Continue reading →

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Part 7: Trans Children in Custody Battles

In Part 6 we talked about gender affirming treatment for trans children. Unfortunately, gender affirming treatment, and even the idea of trans children at all, can be controversial. If you have a trans child, you and your child’s other parent may have very different ideas about whether and how to support your child’s gender identity. If you find yourself in that situation, you may also be facing a custody case, even if you are currently with the other parent. You certainly wouldn’t be the first parent to leave a spouse or partner because of their awful treatment of a trans child! Continue reading →

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June brings us National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month. Stress can be a major cause of headaches, and few things are as stressful as a family law case. For most, family law cases affect the most important aspects of their lives – their children, their marriage, and their home. This month, we are talking about some remedies for those stress headaches caused by your case.

Reducing Stress Can Help Stop Headaches

Minimizing stress is the best way to stave off headaches before they even begin. When you enter into a family law case, be sure to take steps to de-stress, for both your mental and physical health. Life during a major change like a divorce can be hectic. It is important to prioritize your time to decompress. Having a space where you can relax and separate yourself from your case is always good. Maybe put on some soothing music, make a cup of tea, and curl up somewhere comfortable with a book or podcast for a while. Continue reading →

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Part 6: Trans Kids and Gender Affirming Treatment

Gender transition can be a tricky prospect for transgender adults, but it is even more complicated for transgender children and their parents. Parents of transgender children may be confused about what gender affirming treatment even means for a minor.

Children can start to identify as transgender very young. Children who are allowed to freely express and explore gender may go through different phases of gender expression, but it is important for a child’s future mental health that you believe and support them, no matter what gender they may be identifying as at the time. Continue reading →

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Part 5: Custody Cases Involving LGBTQIA+ Children

Parenting LGBTQIA+ kids can be difficult; trying to protect your child from bullies and bigots is enough to give any parent a sleepless night. Supporting your child, especially if you aren’t familiar with the LBTQ community, can mean working hard to expand both your and your child’s horizons as you help find resources and mentors. Depending on the environment you were raised in, you may also be working to unlearn years and years of your own biases, both conscious and unconscious. It can all be incredibly overwhelming. It may seem like the added stress of a custody battle is the last thing you or your child needs, but if your child’s other parent is unsupportive of your child’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, using the law may be your only recourse to protect your child’s wellbeing. Continue reading →

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Part 4: Palmore v. Sidoti (466 U.S. 429 (U.S. Apr. 25, 1984))

In custody battles between straight/LGBTQIA+ couples, one of the most common arguments that is brought up against the LGBTQIA+ parent is the concern that the child will face social stigma or bullying because the child resides with a gay parent. At first glance, this may seem like a legitimate fear, especially to parents or judges who themselves grew up in less tolerant areas or who were bullied as children. Fortunately for LGBTQIA+ families, social stigma is lessening every day, and studies have found that children with LGBTQIA+ parents don’t tend to get bullied any more than other children. Continue reading →