What is the Impact of Marital Debt?

By Amy A. Edwards I recently had a client ask what it means, exactly, to have marital debt. That’s a fair question. In North Carolina, the legal process of dividing marital assets and marital debts is called equitable distribution. Spouses or former spouses have a marital estate, and each usually gets half of the marital […]

Should You Settle or Let the Judge Decide?

There are a number of ways to address child custody and support, alimony, and/or equitable distribution (division of marital property). Each case is different but there are similarities. Reaching an out of court settlement has the benefit of flexibility, allowing you to choose an arrangement you can live with instead of risking what a judge […]

Your Nest Egg: Retirement Plans and Divorce

A retirement plan may be the most valuable asset any couple owns.  Pensions are essentially promises to pay the employee when the time arrives, based on the years of employment and other factors. A defined contribution plan, like an IRA or 401(k), is an actual account containing various investments.  These accounts are intended to be […]

Show and Tell: Do You Really Have to Disclose Everything to Your Attorney?

We understand. Nobody wants to sit down with a total stranger and admit all the things that are quite personal to you, especially when you are facing a family crisis.  But remember your conversation with your attorney is privileged. That means you can’t be forced to testify about what you said or the advice your […]

Is Your Life an Open Book? Protective Orders in Civil Discovery

In family law cases, such as alimony, the division of marital property or child custody and support, your life will often become an open book. Courts discourage trial by ambush. Instead, the courts require people to share significant personal information with each other, the attorneys and the judge. The other party typically has access to […]

What is a Divorce From Bed and Board?

In North Carolina, there are two types of divorces, an absolute divorce and a divorce from bed and board. (DBB).  An “absolute divorce” is a typical divorce that dissolves a marriage and allows a person to remarry. In our state, after a one year separation, either spouse may seek an absolute divorce. In contrast, the court must find […]

Consequences of, and Incidents of, Marriage

There are numerous legal rights and obligations when someone marries, some of which can be changed by a premarital agreement (or a separation agreement). Below is a brief (believe it or not) list of the rights and responsibilities, known as the incidents of marriage, that are different for unmarried partners: Adoption (both spouses must join the petition to adopt) Alimony and […]

Child Abuse by the “Good” Parent

But I Didn’t Do Anything! There is a common but sometimes overlooked problem when children are abused.  Adults who are not directly responsible for injuries to their baby or child, but allow someone else to injure them, are permitting the abuse which has the same effect on the child. The law demands someone protect the child if […]

Domestic Violence Protective Orders in North Carolina

People with certain personal relationships may seek domestic violence protective orders (DVPOs). These include household members, parents of a child in common, spouses and former spouses, and others. DVPOs give law enforcement the ability to arrest a defendant if they have probable cause to believe he or she violated the order. Intentionally making a false statement to law enforcement that […]

Putting Humpty Dumpty Together Again: Breach of Contract

When they separate after being in a relationship, people who are or were married usually resolve their disputes one of two ways, by obtaining a court order or by a contract usually but not always called a separation agreement. Breach of Contract Failure to do what was promised in a contract is a violation of […]