The month of May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Each year, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (“NAMI”) joins the national movement to raise awareness about mental health. For the year 2021, the message “You Are Not Alone” is the amplifying theme for the month. This theme is relevant now more than ever, given that the resounding impacts of COVID-19 have left many people feeling isolated and alone during these challenging times. Mental illness affects every aspect of a person’s life, especially if that person is facing divorce and/or a child custody battle. Although it can be difficult to talk about, sharing your struggles with others to get the help you need will be highly beneficial for your family law case. Continue reading →
Utah recently enacted a new statute that denies hunting and fishing licenses to those who are delinquent on child support payments. They have recently began notifying some of those people that they may be denied licenses based on their delinquency. According to their state child support enforcement records, roughly 19,000 are currently behind on payments, and of those 19,000, roughly 9,500 are hunters or fishermen that have applied for licenses in the past. The interesting correlation between hunting/fishing and child support aside, Utah’s new statute is not groundbreaking in any way. In fact, North Carolina has had a similar statute for years. Continue reading →
Fecteau v. Spierer, COA20-532 (2020).
Child custody orders are modifiable under North Carolina law. In order to modify, the party seeking a modification must show a substantial change in circumstances, from those found in previous order, that warrants modification. It may seem obvious that big changes in the custodial parent’s life meet that standard. But in the case below, we discuss how improvements in the noncustodial parent’s life can warrant a modification in his favor, which can grant him more time with his kids and more decision-making abilities. Continue reading →
Fecteau v. Spierer, COA20-532 (2020).
Child custody orders are modifiable. In order modify, the party seeking a modification must show a substantial change in circumstances, from those found in the previous order, that warrants modification. In some cases, primary physical custody is awarded to a nonparent. Most often, this nonparent is a relative, such as a grandparent. Below, we discuss a case where a parent was granted primary physical custody from the grandparents, and we address the legal standard for how to get there. Continue reading →
When it comes to child custody, the court has the authority and discretion to consider a wide array of factors to further the best interest of the child standard. One such factor is the physical and mental health of the parent. Impairment of one parent in a child custody dispute that stems from alcohol or substance abuse may raise a number of legitimate concerns about that person’s ability to parent.
Angel v. Sandoval, COA20-236 (unpublished 2020).
If your ex, or you, lost a job and income and considered modifying child support to a lower amount in response, it may not always mean that the modification will be granted. Here in North Carolina, it depends on the circumstances surrounding the job and income loss. If it was intentional, with bad faith, then the court may impute income based on the parent’s earning capacity rather than actual current income. However, the analysis is nuanced and can be difficult to show. Below is one such case where there simply was not enough evidence to impute. Continue reading →
Alexander v. Alexander, ______ N.C. _______ (2021) (COA19-391).
In Greensboro, Grandparents may be awarded visitation rights if the Court deems it appropriate. Often, it is by intervening in the custody battle being fought by the custodial parents. Even after a final custody order is entered, a Grandparent may seek visitation when the circumstances affecting the child have substantially changed. But what happens when one of the parents passes away before the custody issue is resolved? Continue reading →
Spring in Greensboro brings certain things. Pollen, unexpected rain showers, warmer weather, and taxes. The American Rescue Plan was enacted as part of ongoing Covid-19 relief. This plan provides an additional relief check, subject to income-cap requirements based on either 2019 or 2020 tax returns (most recent filed). The Plan also provides for an advance on half of a potential child tax credit for next year. These payments may both be at issue in a divorce case. Having tax return money in contention between divorcing spouses is hardly a novel concept. But due to the legislation providing pandemic relief, many spouses must find creative ways to divide relief funds when they were based on joint filings. The child credit advance presents a new wrinkle in divorce and custody cases. Continue reading →
Bradley v. Bradley, No. COA20-48 (unpublished)
Plaintiff and Defendant married on May 20, 2006 and divorced on July 15, 2015. The parties had one daughter born March 7, 2011. The parties’ daughter was three years old when the original custody order was entered. Defendant filed a motion to modify child custody on July 13, 2017, seeking primary physical custody of their daughter and permission to relocate with their daughter to Alabama to reside with her fiancé. The trial court entered a judgment on July 19, 2019, awarding Defendant primary physical custody, allowing her to relocate to Alabama. Continue reading →
Suppose that you are recently separated or divorced and have minor children. Should you have a life insurance policy in place to ensure sufficient resources are available to provide for your children if you suddenly die? What factors must you consider before taking out a life insurance policy to benefit your children? Should you enter into any agreement with your former spouse to carry this insurance? The answer to all of these questions is probably no. Continue reading →