We all love a good Mulan-esque warrior story with a happy ending. Family law attorneys have seen it all and are the warriors and champions of family law related issues. Delving into the chaotic family disputes that clients present daily means almost nothing could come as a surprise. Yet, when a Kansas man challenged his Iowa ex-wife to a trial by sword fight to settle their child custody dispute, it appeared that there may indeed be something new under the sun.
Devine v. Devine, (No. COA19-913) (unpublished)
Here in Greensboro, business owners are not immune to unhappy marriages. Divorces can be long and complicated messes, especially when the fortunes of the family rest upon the fortunes of the business. Child support and alimony are based partly on the income and expenses of the parties going through divorce. In the case below, we discuss how one court, which presumably lacked business experience, incorrectly calculated a party’s income. Continue reading →
All too often in the divorce process, couples become so focused on dividing marital assets, locating funds, and getting back at the spouse that has wronged them that their focus on the most critical part of their marriage gets overlooked. Children, the one part of the couple’s marriage that should be the central focus, get lost. Most people have heard that children are resilient, they bounce back quickly, and they adapt to change well. While all of those can be true, nothing in the equation of divorce is the fault of a child, and parents should remember that children have feelings too. Continue reading →
School starts soon, and parents in the Piedmont Triad area are understandably worried about their children’s exposure to COVID-19. Do I send my child back to the classroom, home school them, or opt for online classes? Fears over the lack of social distancing, schools enforcing mask policies of older students, and not requiring mask wearing for younger children are just a few of the concerns. Many parents’ fears, when faced with the threat of exposure and further spread of COVID, are only made worse when the parents are no longer together and cannot agree on how to address the situation. If you find yourself dealing with whether your children should return to school, with or without a court-ordered custody order in place, an experienced family law attorney can assist you. Continue reading →
The rules of Jenga are simple. First, you stack the 54 wooden blocks to create a tower; then, you slowly begin removing blocks from the tower and move them to the top of the tower. The player who removes a block from the tower, causing it to topple over, loses the game. Practicing family law is akin to playing a game of Jenga. In Jenga, the tower structure continually evolves throughout the game. Sure, there may be a gap in the tower here and there as blocks are removed, but the game’s primary goal is despite the gaps, the players work to keep the tower intact. Quite often in family law the established nuclear familial unit is changing. Gaps become evident with a separation or divorce as one household evolves into two. Despite these changes, family law attorneys strive to counsel clients to embrace the gaps and work to create a new normal in the children’s best interests without ultimately toppling over. Yet, just as in Jenga, sometimes toppling over is inevitable. Luckily, many resources are available for clients who find themselves in need of rebuilding their tower. Continue reading →
If you plan to file a child custody action in North Carolina, you will be required to participate in a Custody Mediation Program. Each district in North Carolina has specific operational procedures laid out in their local rules, and the rules for each county can be viewed online at www.NCcourts.gov. Continue reading →
We’ve all seen videos such as this one on the highly addictive TikTok app depicting parents dropping their kids off at Grandma and Grandpa’s house to achieve some much needed alone time. Ever since the Piedmont Triad began experiencing the monumental effects of COVID-19 in early March, both kids and parents alike are eager to experience a change of scenery from the all too familiar rooms of their own home. However, staying at home has become the new norm. It appears we will have ample time to become even more acquainted with our home offices as Guilford County Schools recently announced the 2020-2021 academic year will begin with remote learning through at least October 20, 2020. Continue reading →
Steele v. Steele, 36 N.C.App. 601 (1978).
In North Carolina and nationwide, character evidence is generally inadmissible in civil trials. Evidence of character and past conduct is not indicative of future conduct and cannot be used to prove that a party acted or will act in conformity with that character trait or past conduct (save for some exceptions). But in a trial for custody, can the court admit evidence of one parent’s character and past acts to show they are better suited to be the custodial parent? In the case below, the appeal court held that a trial court must make findings as follows:
- Facts: Mother and Father had a claim and hearing on child custody, among other matters. The child custody order as drafted by the trial court judge was deficient in findings of fact and conclusions of law. Mother actually conceded that indeed that order was deficient and joined in the appeal seeking remand and further findings.
In North Carolina, a parent can lose custody over their minor children to the children’s grandparents. One way this can happen is by Order of the Court in a child custody proceeding. Child custody is never permanent, and below we discuss a way for parents to regain custody by motion to the Court. Continue reading →
Davis v. Davis, 748 S.E.2d 594 (N.C. App. 2013)
Here we examine a North Carolina Court of Appeals case where the Defendant appealed the trial court denial of a motion to modify custody and a motion to hold the Plaintiff in contempt of court. For this article, we will focus only on the denial of the Motion for Contempt. Continue reading →