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Divorce in the Digital Age & Social Media
Not surprisingly, North Carolina divorces today usually involve some type of dispute over digital media access or other information obtained through the means of social media. After all, almost everything is online, from our banking and financial accounts to our media. With the prevalent use of digital technology, it is common for spouses to not…Read More
Can I Modify My Child Support?
Over time both court orders and out of court agreements on child support may become outdated and require reconsideration. When it comes to issues surrounding child custody and child support, the court retains authority in each North Carolina court case to determine the best interests of a child and can enter orders that modify existing…Read More
Grandparents are allowed to seek visitation or custody of a grandchild only in limited situations in North Carolina. This is because the courts are not allowed to infringe on a parent’s constitutionally protected status or allow others to interfere with those parental rights without compelling reasons. In situations where a minor child is residing with…Read More
What is Considered “Marital Property” in North Carolina?
Often the most frequently asked question about property division during a divorce is what property the other spouse is entitled to receive. In most cases, that question is not so easily answered. In North Carolina, once parties separate, the division of property, usually referred to as equitable distribution, begins with spouses identifying all property owned…Read More
How the Date of Separation (DOS) is Determined and Why it is so Important
The date of separation is an important date that establishes the date that spouses began residing in separate locations from each other with an intent to permanently separate. Under North Carolina law spouses must be separated from one another for at least one year and a day before the court will grant an absolute divorce.…Read More
Dangers of DIY Separation Agreements: Why You Shouldn’t Draft Your Own Separation Agreement
You can easily find online tools to aid in the self-preparation of many legal documents, including separation agreements. However, as convenient as they may seem, these ready-made forms can be filled with potential pitfalls that can do more harm than good. Fill-in-the-blank documents are “one-size-fits-all” and are rarely sufficient to address all the necessary considerations…Read More
Can Alimony be Increased or Reduced?
For matters of post-separation support and alimony that were resolved through the entry of a North Carolina court order, it is possible to have the terms modified or vacated, even after a divorce is final. Any requests for modifications are governed by NC Gen Stat § 50-16.9, and, similar to orders for child custody and…Read More
What Factors are Considered in a North Carolina Child Custody Case?
Parents who find themselves dealing with any type of child custody dispute, or anticipate having to go through a custody dispute, often find themselves asking what factors a judge considers when making a custody and visitation determination. Most parents can come to an understanding on custody, but when agreements are not possible, it becomes necessary…Read More
Can a PSS or Alimony Order be Modified?
An order entered by the court for PSS or alimony may be modified or vacated at any time, upon application made to the court by either party and a showing of changed circumstances. A change in circumstances that may warrant modification of an order for PSS or alimony may include a dependent spouse’s cohabitation or…Read More
How Long Will PSS and Alimony Last?
PSS typically lasts until 1) the date specified in the PSS order, 2) the date the court enters an order either awarding or denying alimony, or 3) the alimony claim is dismissed. Many alimony awards that are entered today are meant to be in the nature of rehabilitative support, and only provide resources to a…Read More
Is Adultery a Bar to Post Separation Support or Alimony?
Adultery falls under the definition of “illicit sexual behavior” which is defined as acts of sexual or deviate sexual intercourse, deviate sexual acts, or sexual acts defined in G.S. 14-27.20(4), voluntarily engaged in by a spouse with someone other than the other spouse. Illicit sexual behavior, solely on the part of the dependent spouse will bar…Read More
Disposition of an Alimony Claim
All alimony cases are decided by a judge, not a jury. However, when marital misconduct has been alleged by either party, a party may request a jury trial on the issue of marital misconduct. North Carolina Gen. Statute § 50-16.3A(b) sets forth a series of 16 factors to aid judges in determining alimony claims. Those factors…Read More
Disposition of a Postseparation Support Claim
A party’s PSS claim is determined before the merits of his or her actual alimony claim are adjudicated. Consequently, the threshold for a spouse to be awarded PSS is much lower than alimony. Finances are usually at the forefront of a PSS claim. In determining whether a spouse should be awarded PSS, a judge will consider…Read More
How are Post Separation Support and Alimony Calculated?
Unlike some other states, North Carolina does not have a statewide specific formula or mathematical guidelines that can be used to calculate PSS and alimony. North Carolina law affords judges broad discretion in determining PSS and alimony claims. This broad discretion leads to inconsistency and a wide discrepancy in spousal support awards. It also makes…Read More
How Is a Dependent Spouse’s Financial Need Assessed?
Financial affidavits are court forms that are used in conjunction with spousal support claims. When a party files an action that includes claims for PSS and/or alimony, both parties involved in the action must usually complete and file with the court a financial affidavit itemizing his/her respective monthly income, deductions, and expenses. This financial affidavit…Read More