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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
Gribble v. Medcat Enters., (No. COA19-1092) (unpublished)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 →
As anyone that has read my bio on the Woodruff family Law website knows, I am a huge dog lover. My dogs are a large part of our family, as I am sure your pets are too. But what happens with the family pet when you are separating or seeking a divorce?
Although many consider pets family, North Carolina considers pets as property. Like all other property, they could be subject to equitable distribution. North Carolina is an equitable distribution state where the property of the marriage is to be split equitably among both parties. The court may not always split the property evenly, but it must be split equitably between both parties. Under N.C.G.S. § 50-20, the parties’ property must be classified as separate, divisible, or marital, valued, and divided between them. This classification, valuation, and division applies to family pets. Continue reading →
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 →