In Ellis v. Ellis, the North Carolina Court of Appeals reviewed N.C.G.S. § 50-16.3A and the lower court’s application of the statute. It considered the sixteen relevant factors included in the statute to determine the amount, duration, and method of payment for an award of alimony when there were acts of marital misconduct condoned by the other spouse. Continue reading →
Suppose you are separated or divorced, or you have recently retired or been placed on disability, and are the parent of a minor child. If you receive dependent benefits through Social Security or the Veterans Administration, your child support obligation may be reduced or eliminated, provided you are not behind or delinquent on your current court-ordered payments. Continue reading →
Horner v. Horner, No. COA19-632 (unpublished)
An alimony claim in North Carolina requires one spouse to be a dependent spouse and the other spouse to be a supporting spouse. A dependent spouse, as defined by statute, is a spouse who is “actually substantially dependent upon the other spouse for his or her maintenance and support or is substantially in need of maintenance and support from the other spouse” (N.C.G.S. § 50-16.1A). It is important to remember that in North Carolina a claim for alimony must be pending when a Judgment of Absolute Divorce is entered. If an alimony claim is not pending when a Judgment of Absolute Divorce is entered, the claimant is barred from bringing the claim in the future.
Gyger v. Clement, ___ N.C. ___ (August 2020) (31PA19)
In North Carolina, foreign orders for child support can be registered in this state, allowing our courts to enforce the orders. It is extremely helpful to register a foreign order in the state if the party you are seeking relief from resides here. Sometimes, the plaintiff in these actions is not a state resident. Other times, they may not even be a US resident. Below, we examine a case about how testimony can be given when a witness to a child support action is in another country. Continue reading →
Suppose you inherit money from a family member during your marriage. Is your inheritance subject to being divided under North Carolina’s equitable distribution statute? The brief answer: it depends.
North Carolina General Statute § 50-20 defines marital property as all real and personal property obtained and currently owned by either or both spouses during the marriage and before the date of separation unless that property is determined to be separate or divisible property. Separate property under N.C.G.S. §50-20 is real and personal property acquired by a spouse before or during the marriage through devise, descent, or gift. Applying the definitions of marital and separate property from N.C.G.S. § 50-20, any money or property you inherit from a family member would be separate property. Continue reading →
Spicer v. Spicer, 607 S.E2d 678 (2005)
North Carolina child support cases are mostly handled by guidelines that set a presumption on what each parent can pay after considering income, some expenses, and percentage of physical custody. But the guidelines are not the final word in child support. Certain income levels move the case out of the guideline range. And in other cases, a parent may request a deviation from the guidelines. In those cases, the Court must consider four things: 1) what the presumptive award would be under the guideline; 2) what the reasonable needs for the children are and how much can each parent afford to pay; 3) whether the presumptive award would meet or exceed the reasonable needs of the child when considering the parent’s ability to pay; and 4) make findings of fact on whether the Court decides to deviate or not. Continue reading →
Tuel v. Tuel, 840 S.E.2d 917 (2020).
After separation and divorce, it is not unheard of for one spouse to move out of state. If the former couple had minor children together, then the question is which spouse is primarily going to have custody of the children? Improvement to quality of life is only one of the factors that must be taken into account when making the determination. If custody litigation arises, then the Court must review any factor that has bearing on the best interests of the children. These can be complicated cases (as can be seen below), and the parent seeking custody needs to demonstrate that relocating the children to another state best serves the development and growth of the children. Continue reading →
With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing more and more families together for extended periods and creating increases in stress in the family setting, it is no surprise that there has been a rise in domestic violence and tension between partners. Continue reading →
The blame for divorce rates being higher than ever may lie with the coronavirus pandemic. Many lawyers are reporting that the weeks leading up to the holidays have been hectic for them. According to one report, courts have handled a much higher number of divorce filings than usual. Typically, the weeks before a holiday are quiet, as many couples do not wish to disturb family traditions, which generally include traveling and visits with extended family. However, with traveling and large family gatherings strongly discouraged this year, couples are opting not to wait until the start of the new year to cut ties.