As many families gear up for Halloween with their children, religious concerns about the holiday have led to an increase in “Fall Festivals” or “Trunk or Treats” to provide more religious families with an alternative to a traditional celebration full of ghosts and ghouls. During this time of year, religious tensions about acceptable activities for kids can come up between divorced parents with different religious beliefs. What is a parent to do when they can’t agree with their ex about their child’s religion? Continue reading →
KEENAN V. KEENAN, 2022-NCCOA-554.
Facts: Plaintiff and Defendant were divorced. In August of 2022, Plaintiff alleged that Defendant came to her home to cut some grass despite Plaintiff telling Defendant not to do so. Defendant then refused to leave the home when Plaintiff asked several times. It should be noted that Plaintiff communicated to Defendant that Plaintiff’s brother had already made plans to address the lawn. Plaintiff alleged that she was very afraid of Defendant due to his past acts of emotional/physical abuse and past text messages. A temporary ex parte domestic violence protective order (DVPO) was granted. At the return hearing, the trial court granted the DVPO against Defendant. Defendant argued that he had a reason to cut the grass, as he thought the long grass was dangerous and sought to protect the children and their best interests. Defendant appealed. Continue reading →
The divorce struggle between Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt continues, despite Angelina filing for divorce approximately six years ago. It has currently come to light that major disputes abound that surround Chateau Miraval. Pitt and Jolie officially bought Chateau Miraval in France in 2012. The couple had been leasing the Chateau for years prior. The property includes olive groves, a vineyard, a private lake, and a chapel. Pitt and Jolie were married at the chapel in 2014.
In Part 1, we talked about how adult adoptees can find out information about their adoptions and birth families. However, for some adoptees, particularly older adoptees, adoption agencies may no longer have detailed records – or any records at all – of their birth families, making it harder to get information. Fortunately, each county’s court keeps the court records of adoptions that go through that county, and the Department of Social Services has all adoption records that have gone through the state. Court adoption records are sealed, which means they usually can’t be accessed, but there are court proceedings that can unseal those records in some situations. Getting court adoption records unsealed is a time-consuming and uncertain process, but if you have already tried contacting the adoption agency, working with a post adoption intermediary program, or genetic testing options and haven’t found the information you are looking for, the courts are available as a last resort. Continue reading →
Many adopted children grow up wondering, “Where did I come from?” Until the last 20 years or so, the only way to answer that question was to ask a court to unseal your adoption records, which rarely worked. However, as society has gained a greater understanding of the possible psychological and medical impacts of adoption, new options have opened to help adult adoptees learn their personal histories. There are four different ways for an adoptee to get information about their adoption and birth family: through their adoption agency, through a post-adoption intermediary program, through the courts, or through genetic testing. Going through the courts can be costly and time consuming, so it is usually best to try another option first. Continue reading →
Lawrence and Schanda Handley married in 2006. At the time, Lawrence was a self-made millionaire living in Louisiana. He made his millions through his endeavors in the technology industry and by launching several supplement companies. Despite his monumental success – or perhaps in conjunction with it – Lawrence used and abused alcohol and cocaine. By 2015, allegations of domestic abuse, stalking, and drug abuse surfaced in the midst of the couple’s divorce. Continue reading →
Divorce is difficult, and even more so with children involved. It can be especially difficult when the children have unique needs. The stresses of divorce can have an increased impact on these children, and their special needs can have a major impact on custody and child support. As a parent, you are in the best position to know what your child needs, and it is your job to show the court what those needs are and to be honest with yourself about your ability to meet those needs. Continue reading →
How often have you heard someone claim their grandmother was Native American? What about Italian? More people around the world claim to be Irish than there are people in all of Ireland! The lure of knowing where you come from has led to an explosion in commercial testing services like 23 & Me. As technology has advanced and databases of genetic profiles have grown, so has the information that those commercial genetic tests can provide. This includes health information and wide nets of genetic relatives you may have never known about. Everyone is familiar with genetic testing in custody and child support cases, but learning one’s genetic parentage can lead to a host of issues beyond custody and child support. Continue reading →
For a non-legal parental figure in North Carolina, custody of a child is a complicated issue. North Carolina doesn’t have statutes that specifically address custody for a non-related, non-adoptive parental figure, so the courts have to rely on case law – cases that have been decided and explained by the Court of Appeals or the NC Supreme Court – to determine what the rules actually are for granting custody to a third party, such as a non-legal parent. Continue reading →
“Objection – Hearsay!” From Perry Mason to Saul Goodman, anyone who’s watched a courtroom drama has heard it said, but what does it really mean? The technical definition of “hearsay” sounds like complicated nonsense to most people: “an out of court statement used to show the truth of the matter asserted.” The important thing for you to remember on the witness stand is that hearsay is second-hand information, and it’s usually not allowed in court except in special circumstances. Continue reading →