Articles Tagged with family law

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December 30th is National Bacon Day. I assume it is a day to glorify and celebrate the many epicurean triumphs that bacon has brought to our society. Well, bah humbug. I for one, shall not be celebrating such a day. Continue reading →

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Clark v. Clark and Barrett, 2021-NCCOA-653 (2021)

  • Facts: The Clarks were a married couple in North Carolina. In 2016, Husband began an affair with Ms. Barrett, in Virginia. That same year while home in North Carolina, Wife discovered text messages between Husband and Barrett. Husband finally left the marital home after Wife threatened to call Barrett and ask about the affair. Husband’s intimate relationship with Barrett went as far as conceiving a child with Barrett via in vitro fertilization. Things became contentious. In March of 2018, Wife began to interact with Husband on a social network named Kik, wherein Husband was using an alias. Husband, using the alias, sent a message to Wife containing a topless photo of Wife, and saying that this photo was being circulated in internet chat rooms. In May, Wife discovered the same photo on a Facebook “weight loss” advertisement, but with the nipples censored. Wife sued Husband for violating the revenge porn statute, NCGS 14-190.5A. Husband was found to have violated the statute. He appealed.

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Salvadore v. Salvadore, 2021-NCCOA-680 (2021 unpublished)

  • Facts: Wife and Husband married in 1989. During their marriage, Husband would frequently change his job. Husband had a peculiar habit every time he changed jobs that required relocation to another state. He would stay in hotels and campgrounds in the new state while Wife would stay at the marital residence at the old state. Husband would also regularly return to the marital residence on weekends. This would continue until the couple bought a new home in the new state. When Husband accepted a new job in New York, he continued this habit. However, before he left, he asked for a separation on April 17, 2017. But true to habit, he stayed in hotels in campgrounds in New York, while returning to the marital residence in North Carolina on weekends. This happened until July 16, 2017—the last night he spent in the marital residence with Wife. As part of his appeal of an equitable distribution order, he argued that the date of separation should have been April 2017, not the July 2017 date.

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We’ve all experienced trying times during the pandemic. From school and business closures throwing a wrench in our daily plans to mask-wearing as the new normal, the pandemic has brought about many disputes and concerns, especially among divorced parents who share custody of their children. One Washington State father, Richard John Burke, is paying the price of his actions related to the pandemic after pleading guilty to three counts of first-degree custodial interference in late August.

Burke shares three sons aged 6, 7, and 10 with his ex-wife. On March 24, Burke was supposed to return his three sons to their mother pursuant to a court-ordered parenting plan.  Instead he communicated to his ex-wife that he would be keeping his three sons for an additional four days.  Then, on March 28, Burke failed again to return the children to their mother. On March 29, the children’s school called the mother to let her know Burke had contacted them to state the children would no longer be attending school and to unenroll them immediately.

Burke pushed conspiracy theories about masks and the COVID-19 vaccine. He believed that the children’s school’s masking policy was “an absolute crime,” and also stated that one of his sons “will never be vaccinated again.” Upon deciding that he needed to take extraordinary measures to “protect his boys,” Burke fled with the three children. A judge authorized a $500,000 warrant for Burke’s arrest, and he was eventually taken into custody in Santa Rosa, New Mexico.

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Clark v. Clark and Barrett, 2021-NCCOA-653 (2021)

  • Facts: A married couple, the Clarks, lived in North Carolina. In 2016, Husband began an affair with Ms. Barrett, in Virginia. That same year while home in North Carolina, Wife discovered text messages between Husband and Barrett. The couple argued and Wife ultimately had to be hospitalized due to the stress. More texts and explicit photographs were discovered on Husband’s phone a few months later. The photos were clearly taken in the Clark home. In September 2016, Husband finally left the marital home after Wife threatened to call Barrett and ask about the affair. In January 2017, Husband and Wife acquired some land in which to build a house. A few months later the couple executed a separation agreement. Husband and Wife at one point in 2017 reconciled and resumed an intimate relationship. However, during this time, Husband was still carrying on an intimate relationship with Barrett. That relationship went as far as conceiving a child with Barrett via in vitro fertilization. Wife filed an Alienation of Affection lawsuit against Barrett. Barrett was held liable, and she appealed.

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For some who are freshly separated from a spouse, the holidays can be difficult. There are a lot of emotions at play, and the holidays are generally a time to be with friends and family. When you are in the middle of a separation, all those traditions and memories are reminders of how things used to be. Everything is upended as you begin splitting your former lives. It may be a lonely time, but there is a reason why the separation was necessary. Never forget that this choice was made for long-term happiness. One great way to get that feeling of a fresh start is to begin some new traditions. Continue reading →

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North Carolina’s statutes include a provision, chapter 50B, for an individual who is in a personal relationship to apply for a protective order. The name given is domestic violence protective order, and it is an Order of the court that accomplishes three things; the defendant must avoid certain acts, they must avoid specific locations (such as a the plaintiff’s home), and awards temporary custody of minor children to the nonoffending party. However, 50B actions are only applicable to parties that are in a personal relationship. That means spouses and former spouses, dating partners, current and former household members, parents, and a few more categories. The rule is that the parties share a personal history. Continue reading →

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Friday December 17th is going to be National Underdogs Day. What is an underdog and why is it so fun supporting them? An underdog is the predicted loser in a competition. It stems from Old English, referring to the “beaten dog in a fight.” Presumably, the “fight” is a dog fight—once a betting spectacle, but now illegal and inhumane. In modern usage, it just means the team or competitor who is not the betting favorite. Continue reading →

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Scott v. Scott, 2021-NCCOA-636 (unpublished).

In North Carolina, contempt is the avenue to enforce many domestic court orders, including those that were part of a separation agreement, but only if the agreement is later incorporated into a court order/judgment. That is the situation in the case below, where the father had agreed to pay $2000 a year toward a college fund for the minor child, but later ceased payment. He was found in contempt, and later appealed. Continue reading →

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Jackson v. Jackson, 2021-NCCOA-614 (2021)

  1. Facts: Mother and Father had an unincorporated child support agreement for their three children. Custody was shared between the parties. Later, one child aged out. Mother then relocated, and one child moved with her. The other remaining minor child moved in with Father. For this period, Father sought temporary child support and termination of his previous child support obligation because of the change in custody situation. Mother then filed a breach of contract for Father’s lowering and subsequent cessation of child support payments. At trial the court considered Father’s bonuses and commissions as part of his income. His base salary was $58,000, but he testified that he expected to get commissions even though he had not yet received any. The court found that father’s income was $71,000 annually.

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