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Raleigh Divorce Law Blog

Getting a divorce? Who will get custody of the family dog or cat?

If you’re like most American pet owners, your dog or cat is considered a part of the family. In some cases, pets are loved as much as children. For couples without kids, pets can be surrogate children.

In light of the important relationship that pet owners have with their beloved companion animals, it should come as no surprise that pet custody can be a contentious issue in divorce. Unfortunately, this issue can be particularly tricky depending on where you get divorced, as laws governing pet custody are lacking in many states.

Destroying the parent-child relationship: Parental Alienation Syndrome

Earlier this week, we began a discussion about the problems of “parental gatekeeping” and “Parental Alienation Syndrome.” Both involve attempts by one parent to restrict the other parent’s access to the children, as well as attempts to damage or destroy said relationships. PAS is considered a more extreme form of parental gatekeeping.

Although PAS is still somewhat controversial as an official diagnosis, the behaviors it describes are commonly seen by family law attorneys and judges. It may begin before during, or after divorce.

Destroying the parent-child relationship: Parental gatekeeping

Child custody disputes can continue long after a court ruling has been made. Sadly, one parent in the dispute is generally the “winner” while the other parent suffers the consequences associated with losing. And when these disputes occur, children never win.

In this week’s posts, we talk about two terms that are becoming more common in family law. The first is “parental gatekeeping.” The second is “Parental Alienation Syndrome.” Both of these terms describe different degrees of the same phenomenon, and both can have a profoundly negative impact on kids.

Changing your name after divorce part II: Logistical considerations

In our last post, we began a discussion about the pros and cons of changing your name after getting divorced. This most often applies to women, but some couples do choose to combine and hyphenate their last names.

If you are a woman who is getting divorced and considering a name change, you may be worried about the logistics of that decision. Today, we'll talk about how to smooth the transition and minimize problems that could come with a name change.

Changing your name after divorce part I: The pros and cons

For a number of reasons, the convention of changing one's surname upon getting married is less common than it once was. That being said, many women still choose to take their husband's last name when they get married, and some couples choose to combine and hyphenate.

If you are a woman who took her husband's name in marriage but is now getting divorced, you may be stuck on what to do now. Do you keep your married name? Do you go back to your "maiden name?" Do you pick an entirely new last name? The choice is yours, and there are pros and cons with any decision.

A restrictive prenuptial agreement does not hinder estate plans

One of the things about family law that many people in Raleigh may have noticed is that it overlaps with a considerable number of other areas of law. A divorce could affect a business if it is run by a married couple. Similarly a prenuptial agreement could affect an estate plan. While it may not be intuitive, just because someone has a somewhat restrictive prenuptial agreement in place doesn't mean that he or she can't leave a considerable amount of money or property to his or her spouse.

Prenuptial agreements may still have the stigma of being for the rich only, but that is far from the truth. There are a number of business owners who use prenups to protect their businesses and business interests from being divided in the case of a divorce. Since income and interests that grow during a marriage are typically fair game in a divorce, a prenuptial agreement is a good tool to make sure that only the original business owner will get those funds if he or she ends up divorced.

Be careful with what you get in property division

North Carolina has a great law in which divorcing couples can divide their property: equitable distribution. What this mean, in essence is that each spouse should receive his or her fair share of the marital property. This doesn't mean that each spouse will get exactly half of all the assets and all the debts accrued during the marriage, but it does mean that the spouses will walk away from the marriage with relatively fair portions of the property. Sounds good, right?

For the post part, it is. A husband may get the house while the wife gets a greater portion of the savings account and a rental property, for example. Though family law attorneys and family courts do a good job of trying to get an equitable distribution, sometimes what a spouse chooses to go after may actually cause more financial strain than was initially expected.

Alimony reforms limit permanent spousal support

Another East Coast state has joined the alimony reform trend that has been sweeping the nation. Although North Carolina has not been in the news for improvements or changes to alimony law, its East Coast companion of New Jersey is being heralded for the passing of several new measures related to spousal support payment. The state Assembly voted almost unanimously to approve a bill that would entirely eliminate permanent alimony from the legal system, among other significant changes.

The bill is designed to prevent the use of permanent alimony, which is a perpetual type of spousal maintenance that continues indefinitely. Provisions in the bill would allow payments to end once the payer reaches retirement age: 67 years old according to the federal government. Accommodations would be made for those who are continuing to work into retirement.

Your social media prenup: A new document for a new generation

You may think you do not need a prenuptial agreement -- and you may be right, at least when it comes to finances. What you may not be thinking about, though, is the potential for your spouse to cause you needless emotional and professional difficulties through his or her social media posts. With social media sites gaining prominence in many North Carolina families, it only stands to reason that couples should prepare for the worst.

That's right: You need a social media prenup.

Bitcoins could facilitate concealment of marital property

Financial experts say that some North Carolina residents will do almost anything to hide assets during their contentious divorce. It used to be that this marital property was shuffled into offshore accounts or transferred to other people before the divorce could occur. Now, though, hiding property obtained during the marriage has taken a decidedly tech-savvy twist: More and more partners are hiding their assets through Bitcoin, a digital currency that is independent from banks and governments.

Many people do not realize that Bitcoin assets do not fall into the traditional listing of cash, real estate, bonds and household items. Although Bitcoins could be listed as a type of "other asset," they are notoriously easy to conceal. This is particularly true if a divorcee is taking gradual disbursements and converting them to Bitcoins before their courtroom proceedings begin. Many people say that Bitcoins are essentially designed to provide anonymous, hidden places for storing variable sums of money.

Firm founder Jonathan Breeden has earned his nickname of "The Bulldog." He takes a direct, straight ahead approach at resolving his client's family law, criminal law, and business related problems. He knows when it's in your best interests to negotiate a resolution or litigate your case in court.

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