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Articles Posted in Divorce

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By: Hannah E. Smith, JD

Divorce is no stranger among the stars and starlets in Hollywood. Lately, it appears that celebrity couples are finding difficulty navigating the unknowns brought about by COVID-19. Divorce rates in the U.S. have spiked during the coronavirus pandemic as couples find themselves together at home around the clock with nowhere to go. The added stress of unemployment, illness, and homeschooling of children has created a significant strain on relationships—especially those that are frequently under the microscope of public scrutiny. Continue reading →

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By: Y. Michael Yin, JD

Rolls v. Rolls, 706 S.E.2d 842 (2010) (unpublished)

In North Carolina, Equitable Distribution can be settled without ever needing to step into the courthouse. Separation Agreements and Property Settlements are common ways to resolve the issues incident to a divorce. They are the will of the parties in a separation, distilled onto paper. They are contracts, and there are very precise rules for formation and enforcement of contracts. As we see below, a separation agreement may have been faulty, but it was the actions of a party that doomed his own arguments.

(a) Facts: Plaintiff wife and Defendant husband married in 1980 and separated in 2007. The parties filed a separation agreement in 2007, where they waived equitable distribution and acknowledged that both parties made full disclosure of all assets and debts. However, during the absolute divorce portion of their case, Defendant pled that there was in fact not a full disclosure of facts, and he requested equitable distribution in a counterclaim. In 2009, the trial court entered a Domestic Relations Order whereby half of Plaintiff’s IRA would be transferred to Defendant in accordance with the 2007 separation agreement. Plaintiff then filed a motion for summary judgment to dismiss the counterclaim, which was granted. Defendant appealed.

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We all know Cam Newton, the football quarterback who used to play for the Carolina Panthers but recently signed on with the New England Patriots.  Back in 2011, the football legend was drafted as the first overall pick by the Carolina Panthers.  He played countless games right here in our home state at Bank of America Stadium. He broke countless NFL records for passing and rushing yards by a rookie quarterback in his rookie year.  More recently, Newton has made the news for a reason other than football.  Newton is currently involved in a child support battle with his ex, Kia Proctor. Continue reading →

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You’ve decided to seek a divorce and perhaps to seek child support for your children, or you’re looking at equitable distribution of your marital assets. You’ve researched, met with, and retained your attorney. Now the attorney or a member of the attorney’s staff is calling or sending emails asking questions and seeking what seems like an endless list of documents. You hired this attorney to represent you; why are they putting so much work on you and asking for all this information? Continue reading →

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By: S. Dean Michaux, JD

In the past, married couples had to show that their spouse committed marital misconduct to get a divorce. In a no-fault state like North Carolina, neither party must show any reason for the request for divorce nor show that the other spouse was at fault.

N.C General Statute § 50-6 states that a marriage may be terminated upon application by either party after the parties have lived separate and apart for one year, and either party has been a
North Carolina resident for at least six months preceding the action for divorce. Continue reading →

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By: Hannah E. Smith, JD

Potential clients often seek an attorney’s help for what they call a “simple divorce.” The circumstances may seem simple because the only claim the potential client wishes to make is one for absolute divorce, thereby choosing to forgo claims for equitable distribution, post-separation support, and alimony. Sounds simple enough, right? Think again. The grounds for divorce under North Carolina statutes are: (1) that the parties must have lived separately and apart for one year with no intention of resuming the marital relationship; and (2) that one party or the other has resided in North Carolina for six months prior to the filing of the action. While these two grounds are not difficult to meet, a lot can happen in the year the parties are living separately and apart and, as a result, the entire trajectory of the action can change. Continue reading →

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Attorneys in the Piedmont Triad are seeing an increase in calls about separation and divorce. This increase may be a result of families forced to spend more time together or of instability due to one spouse or the other losing their employment from the COVID lockdowns. Continue reading →

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The rules of Jenga are simple. First, you stack the 54 wooden blocks to create a tower; then, you slowly begin removing blocks from the tower and move them to the top of the tower. The player who removes a block from the tower, causing it to topple over, loses the game. Practicing family law is akin to playing a game of Jenga. In Jenga, the tower structure continually evolves throughout the game. Sure, there may be a gap in the tower here and there as blocks are removed, but the game’s primary goal is despite the gaps, the players work to keep the tower intact. Quite often in family law the established nuclear familial unit is changing. Gaps become evident with a separation or divorce as one household evolves into two. Despite these changes, family law attorneys strive to counsel clients to embrace the gaps and work to create a new normal in the children’s best interests without ultimately toppling over. Yet, just as in Jenga, sometimes toppling over is inevitable. Luckily, many resources are available for clients who find themselves in need of rebuilding their tower.  Continue reading →

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With many North Carolina families forced to spend more time together as a result of lockdowns or unemployment from COVID-19, some couples are finding they no longer want to be married. Spouses are experiencing fear of being exposed to COVID, fighting over finances, and many other minor issues. If you find yourself in this situation, one of the first steps in the divorce process is to legally separate from your spouse. If you are not sure of how to become legally separated, seek the advice of a family law attorney. Continue reading →

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Cook v. Comm’r, T.C. Memo. 201948, 2019 WL 2011087 (2019)

(a) Facts: An unmarried couple had a child. A New York court awarded custody to the mother. The order was silent on the tax exemption for the child. The parties orally agreed that the father could claim the exemption.

The father took the exemption. The IRS disallowed the exemption and assessed a deficiency. The husband appealed to the Tax Court. Continue reading →