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Raleigh Divorce Law Blog

Report gives North Carolina child custody laws a low grade: Part II

Earlier this week, we began a discussion about North Carolina’s child custody laws. A non-profit group called the National Parents Organization recently graded all 50 states on how well each state’s custody statutes are aligned with the NPO’s goal of promoting shared child custody after divorce.

Based on the overall distribution pattern in the 2014 Shared Parenting Report Card, it is clear that grading standards were stringent. Only eight states received a B rating, and no states earned an A. All other states received a C or lower, and North Carolina was one of 23 states to be given a D.

Report gives North Carolina child custody laws a low grade: Part I

It is a fundamental truth about life that things do not always work out the way we want them to. This is why divorce is a necessary institution. That being said, determining whether a given outcome is a success or a failure may depend on how you frame the conversation.

Take child custody, for instance. Many divorcing parents go into child custody disputes seeking sole custody, or at least the larger proportion of physical custody. Because of this, each parent may define success as an outcome that gives him or her custody of the children all or most of the time. Success for one parent means an equivalent amount of failure for the other.

Making the holidays great for your kids after divorce: Part II

Earlier this week, we began a discussion about the difficulties of being a divorced co-parent during the holidays. Whether you are currently going through a divorce or have finalized one in recent years, you have probably already felt the stress and sadness of having a limited time with your children as they split their holidays between two households.

Thankfully, you have more control over how well the holidays go than you might realize. There are definitely behaviors that should be avoided as well as attitudes and behaviors that should be embraced. In today’s post, we’ll discuss some holiday “dos” when you share child custody with your ex-spouse.

Making the holidays great for your kids after divorce: Part I

The holiday season is a unique phenomenon. In some ways, it seems to fly right by as we celebrate one holiday after another in quick succession. In other ways, it seems to drag on, with no shortage of to-do items. Love it or hate it, we are right in the middle of the holiday season with no signs of letting up until January.

If you are recently divorced and share child custody with your ex-spouse, the holidays can be an especially difficult time. Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s (and other holidays celebrated around this time of year) are primarily about family. And if your kids are splitting vacation time between two households, family togetherness can seem like a relic of the past.

Important assets to remember during a divorce in North Carolina

When going through a divorce, some assets are easier to remember than others. It's probably fairly clear that you need to consider the contents of your bank accounts, your real estate in North Carolina, any vehicles that you own, and things of this nature. However, there are other important and valuable things that you would do well not to forget about, including the following:

1. The benefits that a previous employer may be providing to you and your spouse. For example, even after a job change, a retirement plan from the last job could still be paying out monthly, which can be very valuable, especially for long-term gains.

Waiting for divorce in North Carolina? Try legal separation

Save yourself anxiety and frustration by taking your divorce out of court. Did you know that you can get something called a legal separation agreement? This agreement allows you to resolve your divorce matters in a peaceful and affordable way. You don't even need to wait through the mandatory waiting period to start.

In North Carolina, you have to wait 12 months before you can seek divorce. During those 12 months, you and your spouse must live apart and show that you have the intent to remain apart. During that time, you may think there is little you can do, but actually, you can take this time to work out property division information, alimony amounts, child support needs and child custody or visitation rights. By working out these issues out of court, you'll save yourself money and time along with the frustration of not knowing what a judge will order.

What is the enforcement clause of the premarital agreement law?

A prenuptial agreement is nothing more than a formal contract between potential spouses that establishes how assets should be divided in the event of a divorce. In a previous blog post, we discussed how the divorce rate across the country hovers at right around 50 percent.

Of course, no couple planning to marry intends to divorce. However, sometimes spouses enter into marriages with substantial family assets. Such assets can include family farms, businesses or other inheritances that have been accumulated through several generations. These assets can also affect the livelihoods of individuals not directly involved in the marriage. For example, losing a centuries-old and family owned farming business after a divorce could potentially leave your family members seeking new employment and housing.

Using a financial affidavit for your case in North Carolina

If you're going through a divorce, then you're already in the throes of the legal process. You're baring your financials to the courts, and this is something every divorcing couple has to go through. Your finances are about to be scrutinized and questioned, but what actually needs to happen?

There is a legal process that has a specific format for providing your financial information to the court. You will have to fill out something called a financial affidavit. In general, this document lists everything you own along with everything you owe in distinct detail. The document also shows what you earn and how you spend it.

Courts increasingly ask: Is shared child custody best outcome?

North Carolina courts attempt to make child custody decisions according to “the best interests of the child.” But what does this mean practically? Moreover, who gets to decide what a child’s best interests are? Two parents who both love and want what is best for their children may fundamentally disagree on the answers to these questions.

An opinion piece that originally appeared in the Washington Post discusses one of the latest legal trends in family law: The presumption of shared custody. Although more and more states are taking this approach, law professor J. Herbie DiFonzo argues that presumption of shared custody should be a guiding principle but not a practice that is written into law.

The role of prenuptial agreements in protecting family farms

Farming is perhaps the original family business. And in North Carolina, farming is a huge source of state revenue. According to the state Department of Agriculture, the agricultural industry “contributes $78 billion to the state's economy, accounts for more than 17 percent of the state's income, and employs 16 percent of the work force.”

Any family-owned business is something that definitely needs protection in the event of divorce. Perhaps the best way to achieve this protection is with a prenuptial agreement. This document sets clear expectations from the beginning of the marriage about each spouse’s role in and ownership of the business. A prenup may be especially important in a farming family.

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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