Despite the name, a final judgment from a trial court is not always the end of a case. Appeal of the trial court judgment is often the next step in the timeline of a case. On appeal, typically, the Courts of Appeal are only restricted to the issues and factual record that were present in the trial court. That means no new evidence can be presented, and outside of a few exceptions, no new legal issues can be presented. Sometimes the appeal is based in a misinterpretation or a misapplication of law. Thus, many appeals focus on legal arguments and rely on old legal cases to argue how the law was misapplied. But at other times, the appellate court has an opportunity to set a new precedent or to distinguish the application of law to a set of facts. In these instances, there lies potential for far-ranging consequences of the Court’s decision. In such cases, interested organizations and attorneys will often want to weigh in on the matter, and attempt to persuade the Court. Remember that on appeal it is still plaintiff versus defendant, so these outside parties’ opinions may not always have any effect. Continue reading →
Neitzer v. Comm’r, T.C. Memo. 2018156, 2018 WL 4519997 (2018)
(a) Facts: Husband owned and operated two businesses. The wife, who was trained as a nurse, was totally disabled after a series of spine and hip surgeries. Her income came primarily from disability benefits.
The couple separated in 2010. Their 2012 joint tax return was prepared by the husband’s business accountant. The wife was notified of the return only two hours before she was expected to sign it. The accountant had been told to disclose nothing to the wife about the husband’s personal or business finances. The wife signed the return without reading it. Continue reading →
In our practice in Greensboro, North Carolina, it is not uncommon for the parties in a divorce to agree verbally to a change in child support payments. Read on to see how such an apparent show of comity may not hold up in the eyes of the court.
Facts: A husband and wife filed joint returns. The returns were prepared by the wife. The returns understated the amount of tax due, mostly because they wrongly double-counted certain gambling losses incurred by the husband.
The IRS assessed a deficiency. The wife filed a petition for innocent spouse relief, the IRS denied it, and the wife appealed to the Tax Court. Continue reading →
Recently, the North Carolina Court of Appeals has taken steps to hold medical professionals accountable when they become involved in legal proceedings. Family law attorneys in North Carolina are familiar with the process of a custody evaluation performed by a licensed psychologist. The Court of Appeals recently held that these licensed psychologists can be disciplined by their licensing board if their performance of the evaluation negatively affects clients, or even attorneys involved in a case. Continue reading →
Timing, as they say, is everything, and if you are appealing an Order in North Carolina, this is particularly true. Slaughter v. Slaughter, No. COA16-1153 was decided by the North Carolina Court of Appeals on July 18, 2017. While there were multiple issues on appeal, the issue that sticks out is the timing and issues allowed on cross-appeal. Continue reading →
At the heart of many family law related disputes lie arguably the most difficult decisions regarding the children and their futures. At times it may seem unlikely that individuals in the midst of a divorce will ever agree on anything; fortunately, ensuring that any children involved receive a quality education is usually a top priority for everyone. Setting aside differences for what is in the children’s best interest saves not only time but may also preserve important financial resources that may be reallocated to ensuring the children’s futures are preserved. Continue reading →
King v. Giannini-King, 784 S.E.2d 237 (N.C. Ct. App. 2016).
Facts: In October 2001, Plaintiff (father) and Defendant (mother) were married and then separated, about seven years later, in early June 2008. Two minor children were born to the parties’ marriage. After the separation, Defendant relocated with the minor children. Subsequently, to Defendant’s relocation, Plaintiff brought an action for divorce from bed and board, child custody, and equitable distribution. Defendant filed a motion to dismiss, a motion to strike, in addition to a counterclaim for custody, child support, alimony, etc. Continue reading →
Chafin v. Chafin, 791 S.E.2d 693 (N.C. Ct. App. 2016)
Facts: In late 1988, Plaintiff and Defendant entered into a marriage that lasted about twenty years before the parties separated in June of 2008. During the years of the marriage, Defendant was an owner of a close to non-profiting auto-sales company in North Carolina. Continue reading →
Kelley v. Kelley, T.C. Memo. 2017-798, 2017 WL 1251018
Facts: Husband and wife were married in 1982. They later entered into a Separation and Property Settlement Agreement upon their separation in 1994 (the “1994 agreement”). The two later divorced in 1999. The 1994 agreement resolved several issues between the two such as child support, alimony, and equitable distribution, but most importantly, the agreement contained a “Modification and Waiver” clause. In 2003, approximately nine years after the parties separated and four years after their divorce, the parties allegedly signed a document titled, “Amendment to Settlement Agreement.” Continue reading →