In a move aimed at simplifying and expediting the divorce process, Maryland is implementing a no-fault divorce law, set to take effect soon. The state’s General Assembly passed this significant measure on April 7, and it was signed into law by Governor Wes Moore on May 16.
This new legislation is expected to have a substantial impact on divorce proceedings in Maryland. Notably, it will reduce the time and financial resources typically required for the legal process, making it more accessible and less burdensome for individuals seeking divorce. One of the key changes is the elimination of court-supervised “limited divorces” during child custody battles, streamlining the process further. Continue reading →
Discovering that your spouse is having an affair is a devastating blow. You might even consider taking legal action, especially if you’re residing in North Carolina, which still recognizes claims for alienation of affection and criminal conversation. But how can you navigate these emotionally charged waters legally? A recent North Carolina Court of Appeals case, Beavers v. McMican, offers some insights that may be helpful for anyone in this unfortunate situation. Continue reading →
A Judge in New York imposed sanctions on two attorneys and their law firm for submitting a legal brief containing six fictitious case citations generated by an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot called ChatGPT.
The judge, P. Kevin Castel, found that the lawyers acted in bad faith, consciously avoiding the truth and presenting misleading statements to the court. Consequently, they were fined a total of $5,000.
The law firm, in response, expressed their disagreement with the court’s assessment, claiming their mistake was a result of a good-faith error, that of underestimating the possibility for a technology like ChatGPT to fabricate cases. Continue reading →
Equitable distribution cases involving high-net-worth parties and spouses with significant assets require careful consideration to classify, valuate, and distribute property. Each piece of property must be classified as marital, separate, or divisible as a first step in equitable distribution. Determining which category each asset belongs to can be a lengthy process when there is a significant number, and valuating all the property presents further complexities. Continue reading →
Co-parenting can be a challenging journey, but when done successfully, it can provide stability and support for children growing up in a separated or divorced family. Effective co-parenting requires cooperation, communication, and a commitment to putting your child’s well-being first. Here are seven valuable tips to help you navigate the path of successful co-parenting. Continue reading →
Clute v. Gosney, 2023-NCCOA-______ (2023).
- Facts: In 1994, a couple got married and had two children. In 2006, they separated due to irreconcilable differences. On April 5, 2006, they entered into a separation agreement to settle their marital and property rights. The agreement included provisions for child support, the right to enforce the agreement through legal action, and a clause stating that the agreement would not be incorporated into a divorce judgment. The agreement was signed under seal and notarized. In April 2022, the wife filed a complaint in Mecklenburg County District Court, alleging breach of contract and, in the alternative, seeking child support based on North Carolina Child Support Guidelines. She claimed that the husband had violated the agreement by reducing child support payments unilaterally and failing to fulfill other obligations, such as medical expenses, insurance coverage, and college expenses for their son. The wife requested specific performance of the contract, attorney’s fees, and retroactive child support. In response, the husband filed a motion to dismiss under the North Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure. In August 2022, the trial court granted the husband’s motion to dismiss, denied the wife’s request for attorney’s fees, and dismissed her complaint with prejudice. The wife appealed this decision.
Edwards v. Anderson, 2023-NCCOA-______ (2023) (unpublished)
- Facts: Parents were never married but had one child together. The child custody order contained a provision wherein romantic guests could not stay overnight with the parent with whom custody is scheduled. Overnight was defined as any time after 8:00pm. However, the provision also noted that Plaintiff, at the time of the hearing, was residing with his girlfriend, so that the provision will apply to him should he end that relationship. Other findings established that the live-in girlfriend and Plaintiff had been dating for at least five years, had a good relationship with the minor child, and acted as a parent to the minor child. Defendant did not have any relationship at the time, and no findings were made as to the same. Defendant appealed on the basis that the overnight provision was unfair, inequitable, and implied some kind of equal protection claim, and also that the term overnight is not commonly associated with 8:00pm.
When it comes to family law matters, service members face unique challenges due to the nature of their duty. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) plays a crucial role in ensuring that the rights and responsibilities of military parents are protected during legal proceedings related to child custody and support. Continue reading →
Marecic v. Baker, 2023-NCCOA-______ (2023) (unpublished).
- Facts: The case involved a dispute between the Plaintiff and Defendant, who are the biological parents of a minor child named R.J.M. The parties never married but purchased real estate in North Carolina and Florida during their relationship. Defendant had two older children from a previous marriage. Initially, they lived together with the children in North Carolina. Their relationship ended in January 2017, and Defendant and her two children moved to an apartment while Plaintiff stayed in their property. Despite the separation, they shared custody of R.J.M., with Plaintiff covering most of Defendant’s living expenses and expenses related to all the children. Actions commenced in December 2018 when Plaintiff filed for child custody, child support, attorney’s fees, and alternative dispute resolution. Defendant responded with a complaint for various matters, and the cases were consolidated. Temporary child custody orders were issued in March and July 2019, followed by a permanent child custody order in May 2021, granting shared custody on a rotating schedule. In May 2022, the trial court issued a child support order, and in June 2022, Defendant’s attorney filed for attorney’s fees. In August 2022, the trial court ordered Plaintiff to pay for some of defendant’s legal expenses. Plaintiff appealed.