Recently, I have been giving thought to how increases in separate property values through the active work of a spouse is considered during equitable distribution. As a refresh, the goal of a trial court in divorce is to classify all property owned on the date of separation, value it, and then distribute it between the parties; only marital property is distributed. Generally, increases in value to separate property during the course of a marriage are still separate property. However, the analysis does not end there. Continue reading →
“Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change.” – Mary Shelley.
Change can be positive or negative. Everyone will experience it, and everyone grows from it. Divorce and separation are very big changes. For some, it is an upheaval of life itself, and of personal identity. For others, it may be welcome relief. Moving forward after a big change can be difficult, even if positive. While nothing can replace trusted professional care, some tips can help the mind process the change. 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 →
Bishop v. Bishop, ____ N.C. App. _____ (Dec. 2020)
Child support in North Carolina is typically determined by a formula set out by the legislature and applied in child support guidelines and their worksheets. However, it was known for some income levels that the formula no longer becomes equitable. Too low or too high of income both throw a wrench into the calculus. For higher income families, the court may forgo the use of the guidelines and make findings on the reasonable needs of the child when compared to a parent’s ability to pay; meaning it should account for their assets, debts, and lifestyle. Continue reading →
People all over the United States are suffering from the long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic – emotionally, physically, and especially financially. The CARES Act § 2202 has authorized special distribution options for retirement plans and has expanded loans from certain retirement plans. Under the CARES Act, the IRS will not deduct the 10% additional tax from early distribution of a retirement account for individuals directly affected by COVID-19. The explanation of the benefits of this specific section of the CARES Act is outside the subject of this blog. What happens if you are affected by COVID, you and your spouse are separated, and you withdraw money from your retirement under this program? Continue reading →
A common question that often asked during consultations and discussions between attorneys and potential or current clients is: Can I date during my divorce case? The answer depends on the specific facts of your case. Factors to consider include: Are you separated; how long have you been separated; are there minor children affected by dating; have martial funds been used to support the new relationship; and, probably most importantly, when did you start seeing this new person? Continue reading →
In Jordao, the North Carolina Court of Appeals reviewed N.C.G.S. § 50-13.2 and how the statute requires the trial court to evaluate all relevant factors, including domestic violence in determining if custody and visitation is in the best interest of a child. Continue reading →
In the past, married couples had to show that their spouse committed marital misconduct to get a divorce. In a no-fault state like North Carolina, neither party must show any reason for the request for divorce nor show that the other spouse was at fault.
N.C General Statute § 50-6 states that a marriage may be terminated upon application by either party after the parties have lived separate and apart for one year, and either party has been a
North Carolina resident for at least six months preceding the action for divorce. Continue reading →
Potential clients often seek an attorney’s help for what they call a “simple divorce.” The circumstances may seem simple because the only claim the potential client wishes to make is one for absolute divorce, thereby choosing to forgo claims for equitable distribution, post-separation support, and alimony. Sounds simple enough, right? Think again. The grounds for divorce under North Carolina statutes are: (1) that the parties must have lived separately and apart for one year with no intention of resuming the marital relationship; and (2) that one party or the other has resided in North Carolina for six months prior to the filing of the action. While these two grounds are not difficult to meet, a lot can happen in the year the parties are living separately and apart and, as a result, the entire trajectory of the action can change. Continue reading →