What happens when a wife gives birth during a marriage, but the husband is not the biological father per DNA? Paternity in North Carolina is a legal issue—there are rights and responsibilities that come with being a legal father. As a primer, the common terminology in this area of law is as follows: Continue reading →
When it comes to child custody, the court has the authority and discretion to consider a wide array of factors to further the best interest of the child standard. One such factor is the physical and mental health of the parent. Impairment of one parent in a child custody dispute that stems from alcohol or substance abuse may raise a number of legitimate concerns about that person’s ability to parent.
Angel v. Sandoval, COA20-236 (unpublished 2020).
If your ex, or you, lost a job and income and considered modifying child support to a lower amount in response, it may not always mean that the modification will be granted. Here in North Carolina, it depends on the circumstances surrounding the job and income loss. If it was intentional, with bad faith, then the court may impute income based on the parent’s earning capacity rather than actual current income. However, the analysis is nuanced and can be difficult to show. Below is one such case where there simply was not enough evidence to impute. Continue reading →
There are unfortunate times where one individual who has become fully insured for social security benefits passes away or gives up a child for adoption. In such cases, however, the Social Security Administration has enacted rules to pass on the benefit to the children. But exactly what happens when the child receiving a benefit is going to be adopted? Does the benefit simply end because he or she now has a new parent? Potential adoptive parents should speak to an attorney if they are considering adoption of a child receiving social security benefits. Continue reading →
TLC’s 90 Day Fiancé television show has been an unexpected reality TV hit – so much so that there are now countless spin-offs involving the hijinks of favorite cast members. The culture shock is very engaging, and reality TV is all about entertainment, but there is a kernel of legal truth to the show and that is the K1 Visa. It is an avenue for immigration to the US for fiancés of American citizens. Once they arrive in America, the couple needs to legally marry within 90 days or risk removal procedures. The premise of the show is simple. Many things can go wrong in those 90 days, and it never fails that something does—it is almost always a train wreck waiting to happen, and viewers get front row seats to watch the carnage. Continue reading →
Spring in Greensboro brings certain things. Pollen, unexpected rain showers, warmer weather, and taxes. The American Rescue Plan was enacted as part of ongoing Covid-19 relief. This plan provides an additional relief check, subject to income-cap requirements based on either 2019 or 2020 tax returns (most recent filed). The Plan also provides for an advance on half of a potential child tax credit for next year. These payments may both be at issue in a divorce case. Having tax return money in contention between divorcing spouses is hardly a novel concept. But due to the legislation providing pandemic relief, many spouses must find creative ways to divide relief funds when they were based on joint filings. The child credit advance presents a new wrinkle in divorce and custody cases. Continue reading →
Are you recently separated or divorced and have started receiving bills for unpaid medical expenses of your former spouse? Are these bills for medical treatment your former spouse received after you separated? The Doctrine of Necessaries, which creates a legal duty for the husband to provide for the expenses of his wife, is still recognized in North Carolina. The most common necessary expense is unpaid medical bills of the other spouse. When the spouse receiving treatment cannot pay for services, the service provider will often sue the other spouse to satisfy the outstanding debt. Continue reading →
Everyone knows how COVID has affected our daily routine and forced an increase in the use of technology. The court system and attorneys have adopted technology to keep cases moving forward. At the beginning of this process, attorneys discovered that using virtual meetings to conduct client consults and client meetings was not only effective in preventing exposure to COVID but, in the long run, could increase productivity without losing the human interaction or attorney-client bond. Continue reading →
Despite the name, a final judgment from a trial court is not always the end of a case. Appeal of the trial court judgment is often the next step in the timeline of a case. On appeal, typically, the Courts of Appeal are only restricted to the issues and factual record that were present in the trial court. That means no new evidence can be presented, and outside of a few exceptions, no new legal issues can be presented. Sometimes the appeal is based in a misinterpretation or a misapplication of law. Thus, many appeals focus on legal arguments and rely on old legal cases to argue how the law was misapplied. But at other times, the appellate court has an opportunity to set a new precedent or to distinguish the application of law to a set of facts. In these instances, there lies potential for far-ranging consequences of the Court’s decision. In such cases, interested organizations and attorneys will often want to weigh in on the matter, and attempt to persuade the Court. Remember that on appeal it is still plaintiff versus defendant, so these outside parties’ opinions may not always have any effect. Continue reading →