“My marriage has fallen apart…I must be a failure as a spouse.” Perhaps that thought that has run through your head while enduring the divorce process. These intrusive thoughts have a name: cognitive distortion. They are inaccurate, overly broad thoughts that reinforce negative thinking. It is thought that people developed these distortions as a coping mechanism for negative events they experience. An interesting evolutionary theory suggests that early in human history it was a useful shortcut to analyzing for threats, thereby increasing the likelihood of survival. Obviously in the modern age, this quick-thinking threat analysis has much reduced benefit. Some common types of distortions are below: Continue reading →
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.
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 →
In Equitable Distribution, we often ask clients about the debts that they accrued during the marriage and the value on the date of separation. This is because the judge is required to classify, value, and distribute marital property. But it may not always include debts incurred during marriage. The debts acquired by a spouse can be classified as marital, separate, or divisible, but only by showing that the debt has certain elements, required by law, can a debt be classified as marital. Continue reading →
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and here at Woodruff Family Law Group, we are cognizant that the ongoing pandemic has caused much harm to our collective mental health. The school closures and loneliness associated with social distancing are major factors. A remarkable Harvard study following 224 children found that 66% of the children were showing clinical signs of depression or anxiety. Similar studies in Europe and Asia also show the same trend: COVID-19 likely contributes to rising depression and anxiety rates. It is an alarming trend that may not be visible on the surface. Continue reading →
Vonhall v. Vonhall, (No. COA20-466) (unpublished)
In equitable distribution, clients often ask whether gifts to one spouse during the marriage is going to be subject to division. Below, we see a simple case example of how the law treats these gifts and the evidence that supports the legal conclusion: 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 →