Articles Posted in Divorce

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A lawsuit is initiated the day it is filed with the court. But the rules of law usually require that before your requested relief can be granted the other side gets their day in court. This is the fundamental basis of our legal system. It is one predicated not only on the laws and statutes developed, but also on providing fair and adequate notice for the party being complained of to come to court and answer the allegations. Therefore, the first big hurdle for getting legal remedy is giving the defendant notice that they are the subject of a lawsuit. This first hurdle is often called process and service of process. Continue reading →

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Recently, I have been giving thought to how increases in separate property values through the active work of a spouse is considered during equitable distribution. As a refresh, the goal of a trial court in divorce is to classify all property owned on the date of separation, value it, and then distribute it between the parties; only marital property is distributed. Generally, increases in value to separate property during the course of a marriage are still separate property. However, the analysis does not end there. Continue reading →

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Dechkovskaia v. Dechkovskaia, 232 N.C. App. 350 (2014)

Equitable Distribution is a mechanism by which former spouses separate their personal and real property. Sometimes the spouses may have some marital (or divisible) interest in a third party’s property. One example is when a couple resides at one spouse’s parent’s residence, and the spouses make some improvement on the land that increases property value. That likely creates an interest in the improvement on the home, which can be attributed to one or both spouses in some manner. Continue reading →

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“Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change.” – Mary Shelley.

Change can be positive or negative. Everyone will experience it, and everyone grows from it. Divorce and separation are very big changes. For some, it is an upheaval of life itself, and of personal identity. For others, it may be welcome relief. Moving forward after a big change can be difficult, even if positive. While nothing can replace trusted professional care, some tips can help the mind process the change. Continue reading →

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Brackney v. Brackney, 682 S.E.2d 401 (N.C. App. 2009).

  • Facts: Plaintiff and Defendant had a child with severe neurological needs. To accommodate the child’s needs, they chose to build a single-level home that was accessible. The child unfortunately passed. The parties then separated a year later. The home’s construction was not yet finished and the parties had not yet closed on the home. Per the contract with the home builder, if the home did not close on a specific date, the down payment for the home would be forfeit. The Plaintiff was allocated the home in an interim distribution, and thereafter closed on the home. In the preceeding years, the property value on the home skyrocketed by $181,000. At trial, Plaintiff made an argument that this increase was his own separate property. The trial court did not agree, classified it as divisible property, and Plaintiff appealed.

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TLC’s 90 Day Fiancé television show has been an unexpected reality TV hit – so much so that there are now countless spin-offs involving the hijinks of favorite cast members. The culture shock is very engaging, and reality TV is all about entertainment, but there is a kernel of legal truth to the show and that is the K1 Visa. It is an avenue for immigration to the US for fiancés of American citizens. Once they arrive in America, the couple needs to legally marry within 90 days or risk removal procedures. The premise of the show is simple. Many things can go wrong in those 90 days, and it never fails that something does—it is almost always a train wreck waiting to happen, and viewers get front row seats to watch the carnage. Continue reading →

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Are you recently separated or divorced and have started receiving bills for unpaid medical expenses of your former spouse?  Are these bills for medical treatment your former spouse received after you separated? The Doctrine of Necessaries, which creates a legal duty for the husband to provide for the expenses of his wife, is still recognized in North Carolina. The most common necessary expense is unpaid medical bills of the other spouse. When the spouse receiving treatment cannot pay for services, the service provider will often sue the other spouse to satisfy the outstanding debt. Continue reading →

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In recent celebrity news, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West have decided to get divorced. Undoubtedly, the couple signed a prenuptial agreement that handles much of the property division claims. But one aspect that is interesting about their eventual property settlement, is the issue of royalties. It is likely that the couple have a provision about their royalties and other intellectual property (IP) in their prenuptial agreement, but let us consider how it would play out in North Carolina if they did not. Continue reading →

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We are all keenly aware of the emotional effects that separation and divorce can have on our families and ourselves. People at the beginning of a separation or divorce often overlook the physical effects of this process. While the issues listed in this article mostly mirror the issues experienced by women, the focus of this article will be on men. Continue reading →

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Gribble v. Medcat Enters., (No. COA19-1092) (unpublished)

In North Carolina, some issues can be settled with a pre- or post-marital agreement. This is a contract. In such contracts, spouses can agree to certain terms and conditions, as well as insert an Arbitration Clause. There are certain advantages to arbitration, such as time and cost, that make it an attractive alternative to court. Our laws have reflected that trend and enacted the Family Law Arbitration Act. It is a default set of rules governing arbitrations arising from marital separation and divorce. Below is a case that reflects how a court may handle objections over the outcome of arbitration. Continue reading →