The blame for divorce rates being higher than ever may lie with the coronavirus pandemic. Many lawyers are reporting that the weeks leading up to the holidays have been hectic for them. According to one report, courts have handled a much higher number of divorce filings than usual. Typically, the weeks before a holiday are quiet, as many couples do not wish to disturb family traditions, which generally include traveling and visits with extended family. However, with traveling and large family gatherings strongly discouraged this year, couples are opting not to wait until the start of the new year to cut ties.
Think of all the personal data that is collected by your smartphone. Voicemails, text messages, messaging apps, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and dating apps. These can all contain, if not confidential, highly personal and private information you may not want your spouse to have if you are going through a divorce. Thankfully, not all of the above can be readily accessed or requested by your spouse absent some strong showing of necessity. However, there still is some data that can be obtained by subpoena, that requires only a showing of relevancy to your case. Continue reading →
Estes v. Battiston, ___ N.C. App. ___ (2020).
In North Carolina, Alienation of Affections and Criminal Conversation are common law torts called “heart-balm” torts that put civil liability on a third party for causing a breakdown in a marriage. In recent years, attempts by defendants to challenge the tort have relied on numerous constitutional bases. Below, we discuss one avenue attempted by a defendant to bring his constitutional challenges before a court. Continue reading →
The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has made fundamental changes in how people interact with the world around them. Businesses immediately felt the impact. Small businesses of all kinds were forced to shut their doors in order to protect the public and their employees. The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), among other emergency relief funds, was offered as a remedy. It was designed to provide needed cash flow in order to continue paying some of the necessities in running a business, such as employee payroll, mortgages/leases, and utilities. It has been almost ten months since the beginning of the pandemic. In this time, life carried on. Unhappy spouses still sought divorce. And as part of those divorces, businesses still required valuations, including businesses that utilized the PPP. But how can the PPP affect the value of a business? Continue reading →
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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →