In North Carolina, a stipulation, in the legal context, is an agreement between the parties in a lawsuit. It is most commonly used by parties to extend deadlines for responding to discovery or to agree on a factual finding that is uncontested. It can be done to minimize costs in litigation, because there is no need to spend time proving something that is agreed upon. Good practice dictates that stipulations are written and signed by the parties and/or attorneys and then presented to the court. Continue reading →
2020 Formal Ethics Opinion 5
In recent years, there has been a marked increase in the number of attempts to defraud attorneys of their clients’ funds in trust accounts. Now con artists are stealing from clients directly by using “inside information.” These scams are constantly evolving and are becoming much more sophisticated, as many processes that attorneys use are now digital. This includes sensitive data about an attorney and their office that may be used as part of a scam. Continue reading →
Angelina Jolie recently experienced a small victory in her contentious custody dispute with Brad Pitt. The California Court of Appeals has disqualified the private judge, John Ouderkirk, from further ruling on the matter. Jolie and Pitt selected Judge John Ouderkirk to handle the custody dispute in the hope that a private judge would further promote the privacy of the case. However, last year, Jolie asked Ouderkirk to disqualify himself for failing to sufficiently disclose his business relationships with Pitt’s attorneys in a timely manner. A lower court initially ruled that Jolie’s filing seeking disqualification came too late, but Jolie’s attorneys appealed from that order. The California Court of Appeals then ruled that Ouderkirk’s business relationships with Pitt’s attorneys raised concerns for his impartiality. Continue reading →
M.E.G. v. C.P., unpublished (2021).
It is not unheard of for one parent to move out of state. If the parties have minor children together, then the question is which parent is primarily going to have custody of the children. Many factors may come into play when making the determination. One set of parents in New Jersey tried to negotiate a relocation in an agreement. In this case, we see just how a court treats such agreement. Continue reading →
Lewis v. Lewis, No. COA06-599
Benjamin Lewis (“Ben”) and Gina Lewis (“Gina”) married on January 1, 1994 and had two children. Ben and Gina divorced on August 17, 1998. On June 26, 1998, Ben and Gina executed a separation agreement wherein they agreed to exercise joint custody of the minor children. The separation agreement was incorporated in the divorce judgment and stipulated that the children would reside primarily with Gina and spend every other weekend and summer vacation with Ben. They further agreed that Ben would pay half of the children’s uninsured medical and dental expenses and $200.00 each month as additional child support to Gina. Both Ben and Gina went on to remarry, and as a result of Gina’s remarriage she moved to Yuma, Arizona. On August 14, 2000, Ben filed a motion in the cause seeking a modification of his visitation schedule with the minor children, asserting that a substantial change in circumstances had occurred due to Gina’s move to Arizona. Continue reading →
Desai v. Desai, No.COA20-435 (July 2021) (unpublished)
An interim distribution is an order of the court that can be entered anytime after the filing of the equitable distribution (ED) claim and before the final judgment on equitable distribution. In these interim orders, the court can classify, value, and distribute certain assets or debts. This partial distribution can also provide for a distributive award that one party pays the other in exchange for the distribution of an asset or debt. So how does this affect the final judgment? Below is a case that explains simply what should happen. Continue reading →
The world of law frequently intersects with the world of finance. Although it may not seem like it, this intersection also includes family law. Income is almost always a factor in any type of financial support case. Valuation is critical to property distribution. Family law attorneys need to be financially literate to understand this intersection. Part of understanding is vocabulary. It may seem elementary, but vocabulary is often the first and biggest hurdle to becoming financially literate. Many simple concepts are often concealed behind terms of art that are not in common spoken English. One such concept is paying back a loan, a.k.a. amortization. Continue reading →
In my 3-4 years of serving legal documents, I have found that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all method for serving legal papers. Rule 4(j) of the North Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure outlines the service of a Civil Summons, Rule 5(b) of the North Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure outlines the service of pleadings and other papers, and Rule 45(b) of the North Carolina Rule of Civil Procedure outlines the service of a subpoena. Service of legal documents can be completed in different ways – mailing, telefacsimile, publication, personal service – with each of them having unique ways to reach their intended recipient and effect service. Personal service is the most interesting because many things can happen either to your benefit or detriment. Below we look at two situations when using a Process Server for serving your legal documents. Continue reading →
Desai v. Desai, No.COA20-435 (July 2021) (unpublished)
Often in matrimonial cases, one party might question whether jewelry gifted to a spouse can be taken back in the property division phase of a separation and divorce. Jewelry and other assorted gifts often represent everlasting love and affection between spouses, so it is always slightly peculiar when one spouse requests the gift be returned. Below is a case about a special necklace given as part of a Hindu marriage celebration, and how our courts handled the issue. Continue reading →
Crews v. Paysour, 261 N.C. App. 557 (2018)
- Facts: Plaintiff and Defendants are the parents of a minor child. In 2012, Plaintiff filed an action for custody and child support. A temporary order for child support was entered in August of 2012. The parties were both in medical school at that time. Once they graduated and completed residency, their incomes increased. In 2014, Defendant filed notice for a permanent custody and child support hearing. In September 2014, the trial court heard evidence towards child support. No written order came from that hearing. In December 2014, a “rendition of judgment” was issued to the parties in a letter. In October 2015, the parties scheduled a conference to go over proposed orders and objections. In December 2015, the trial court finally entered an order for Plaintiff to pay child support prospectively and $23,529.00 in arrears for the period from December 2014 through October 2015. In a previous appeal, the Court remanded, based on a misapprehension of law, and allowed the trial court to consider more evidence. On remand, the trial court did not consider new evidence but accepted the Defendant’s arguments made in his appeal. Plaintiff appealed.