Dividing the Marital House When Separating in North Carolina

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Our Charlotte, NC based divorce lawyers are regularly asked questions about dividing the marital home when meeting with clients going through a separation.  Due to emotional attachment and financial value, the marital residence is often one of the most hotly contested property items to divide between couples that are separating.  Typically, couples will fall into 3 main categories as to how they deal with their marital house during the divorce process: keep the house with one party moving out, sell the house, or both parties dig their heels in and refuse to move.

The first two scenarios are typically relatively easy to resolve through a properly drafted and executed separation agreement or through the court process of equitable distribution.  Despite the typically non-contentious nature of the first two options, there are still a number of items that need to be considered when one party remains in the house or when the parties decide to sell the house.  Whether drafting an agreement or litigating the matter at a court hearing, it is important to consult with an attorney when negotiating, drafting agreements, or litigating matters related to substantial assets.

When two parties dig their heels in and cannot reach agreement on selling or who will move out of the marital home, litigation may be required.  North Carolina laws provide a few different legal paths in this situation, including: one party moving out and filing for equitable distribution asking for possession of the home, filing for divorce from bed and board and asking for the ejectment of the other spouse, or if domestic violence is involved, filing for a domestic violence protective order and asking that a judge award possession of the home to the aggrieved party.

For more on this topic, view our full blog, on the topic of dividing the marital home upon divorce in North Carolina.

Hunter & Hein, Attorneys at Law, PLLC
704-412-1442
contact@hunterheinattorneys.com
http://www.hunterheinattorneys.com

 

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Jurisdiction in Interstate Child Custody Matters

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Our Charlotte, NC based child custody lawyers regularly receive phone calls from parties involved in interstate child custody disputes.  From a legal perspective, the first question that needs to be answered is “which state has jurisdiction over the custody case?”  Any time one or more parties and/or a child move to different states, there is likely to be a question over jurisdiction.  Only a court having proper jurisdiction may enter a valid child custody order.

The Uniform Child Custody and Jurisdiction Enforcement Act (the UCCJEA) provides a number of guidelines and rules regarding jurisdiction in interstate child custody matters. Our most recent blog addresses how jurisdiction is typically handled in initial child custody determinations, in modifications of existing custody orders, and in emergency situations.

In short, the “home state” of the child, which is the state in which the child has resided in for the six months preceding a child custody dispute, will typically be the state with jurisdiction in an initial child custody determination (i.e., when there is no prior child custody order in place).  A state that enters an initial custody order will typically maintain continuing and exclusive jurisdiction to modify that order so long as at least one of the parties or the child continue to reside in the issuing state.  Finally, any state (regardless of whether they would normally have jurisdiction) may have jurisdiction to enter a temporary emergency order in extreme situations which present a risk of harm to the minor child involved.  These are all general rules with exceptions.  For more, read our full blog on the topic of jurisdiction in interstate child custody disputes.

If involved in a child custody dispute, it is important to contact an attorney licensed in your local jurisdiction.  This article is meant to be a very brief overview of a complex subject, and is not meant to provide legal advice.

Written by Bill Hunter
Co-Founder and Attorney
Hunter & Hein, Attorneys at Law, PLLC
contact@hunterheinattorneys.com
704-412-1442

Temporary Parenting Arrangement in NC

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In North Carolina, Temporary Parenting Arrangements (TPA’s) are temporary child custody orders typically used as a way to bridge the gap between the current time and the time at which the parties are able to schedule a trial or reach agreement in regards to permanent child custody.  Depending on the NC county in which you live in, it can often take as long as 8-12 months to get your day in court for a child custody determination, whereas you can usually get in front of a judge for a TPA in 6-8 weeks, sometimes quicker.

Parties can enter into a TPA order by consent at any time during a child custody proceeding, but depending on the county in NC, may or may not be able to put the matter on in front of a judge.  If your NC county allows for a TPA, you still may need to meet certain requirements prior to being granted a hearing.

There are a number of unique facts regarding TPA’s, including:

  • TPA’s are entered without prejudice to either party
  • TPA hearings are typically short in nature, usually lasting between 30 minutes and 1 hour
  • A TPA may become a permanent child custody order automatically due to the passage of time in certain situations
  • Some counties allow affidavits in support of TPA motions and hearings

For a more in depth explanation on TPA’s and the information provided here, please view our full blog on temporary parenting arrangements in North Carolina.  Located in Mecklenburg or Cabarrus county in NC and need assistance with a temporary parenting arrangement or other item related to a child custody dispute?  We can help.  Contact us with the information below to speak with an attorney today.

Written by Bill and Valerie Hunter
Hunter & Hein, Attorneys at Law, PLLC
704-412-1442
contact@hunterheinattorneys.com
www.hunterheinattorneys.com

 

Property Division in NC: Answers to 5 Common Questions

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One of our Charlotte, NC divorce lawyers has answered a list of 5 questions about dividing property that we are commonly asked by separating spouses: If I divorce, will my spouse get half of everything?  May one spouse get more than half of everything? If an asset is held in my name only, will that asset automatically be 100% mine?  How do we split the marital home?  How do we create an enforceable agreement for property division?

The process by which North Carolina courts classify and distribute property is known as equitable distribution.  In short, the answers to the questions above are as follows:

NC courts assume that a 50/50 split of all marital and divisible assets is fair unless there is evidence showing otherwise.  However, property classified as separate will typically go 100% to the spouse to whom the separate property belongs. One spouse may receive a greater than 50% share of the assets but most show that he or she is entitled to a greater share based on the factors listed in NCGS 50-20(c).  The distribution of assets in North Carolina has more to do with the source of funds used to purchase the asset rather than whose name the asset is held in.  As such, assets titled in one parties name only, such as a bank funded using marital funds, will typically be split 50/50 between the spouses by a court.  Dividing the marital home can be difficult as there are often emotional attachments involved.  The parties must decide whether to keep or sell the house, who will remain in the house if the parties decide not to sell, and how to distribute any equity fairly between the parties if the property is marital in nature.  The terms that spouses agree to regarding property division upon separation may be made enforceable by creating a separation agreement or consent order, or if the spouses cannot reach agreement, litigation may be required and a court will eventually enter an order dictating how property should be divided.

For more in depth answers to these questions, visit our full blog of answers to 5 common questions about property division in North Carolina.

Written by Bill Hunter
Hunter & Hein, Attorneys at Law, PLLC
contact@hunterheinattorneys.com
704-412-1442
http://www.hunterheinattorneys.com

 

 

Denying Visitation in Child Custody Matters

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A common issue in child custody disputes in North Carolina involves one parent denying the other parent visitation with the child.  Denial of visitation may occur for many reasons, sometimes justifiable, other times not.  It is important to consult an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction when these situations arise, as the legal ramifications and potential recourse that each parent has will vary widely depending on the specific facts of each particular case.  Two of the biggest factors to consider in all visitation denial cases are the reason for the denial, and whether there is a court order in place outlining child visitation between the parties.  Depending on these factors, each party may have a number of legal options, including filing for: contempt, modification of child custody, a temporary parenting arrangement, or emergency custody in extreme situations.

For a more in-depth analysis on this topic, view our Discussion on Denying Parental Visitation in Child Custody Disputes.

Hunter & Hein, Attorneys at Law, PLLC
contact@hunterheinattorneys.com
704-412-1442
www.hunterheinattorneys.com

 

 

Do Child Support Arrears Go Away in NC?

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Child support arrears are past due child support payment owed by the payor of child support to the recipient.  In North Carolina, once child support payments are due, they become vested arrears if not paid.  These past due payments can continue to accumulate over a period of many years, and may result in tens of thousands of dollars in child support arrears.  Once these arrears are vested, they may only be forgiven in a few specific situations, including: (1) by the recipient of the child support agreeing to forgive the arrears through a court order; (2) by prospectively reducing a child support amount that was past due based on the filing date of a modification of child support; or (3) in situations when a person was precluded from filing a modification of child support due to extreme situations.  Given these limited scenarios, it is very important that a payor file to modify child support immediately upon a substantial change of circumstances that would warrant a decrease in child support.

For a more in-depth discussion of these items, view our full blog on this topic discussing scenarios where child support arrears may be forgiven in North Carolina.

Written by Valerie and Bill Hunter
Attorneys and Co-Founders
Hunter & Hein, Attorneys at Law, PLLC
704-412-1442
www.hunterheinattorneys.com

 

Six Things You May Not Know About Domestic Violence Actions in NC

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Domestic violence actions are taken seriously in North Carolina by our judicial and law enforcement systems.  Our lawyers handle domestic violence related cases in Mecklenburg and Cabarrus counties, and have compiled a list of six things that most people are not likely aware of when it comes to domestic violence actions:  (1) criminal charges and/or civil protective orders may be brought for the same incident; (2) victims/plaintiffs are not able to give defendant’s permission to violate the terms of a protective order or no-contact order; (3) a defendant may still be arrested even if the police are not called out during the domestic violence related incident; (4) a magistrate cannot set bond until a defendant has been held for 48 hours; (5) physical contact is not necessary for a finding of domestic violence; (6) judges tend to rule a bit more conservatively when it comes to domestic violence cases.

For more information on each of these individual topics, view our full blog discussing 6 Things You May Not Know About Domestic Violence Actions in NC.

 

Written by Valerie and Bill Hunter
Co-Founders and Attorneys
Hunter & Hein, Attorneys at Law, PLLC
www.hunterheinattorneys.com
704-412-1442

5 Common Issues That Newly Separated Parents Face (and how to avoid them)

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Charlotte, NC based child custody and divorce lawyer, Valerie Hunter, shares thoughts and potential solutions to the most common co-parenting issues that she encounters between newly separated parents.  The problems include disagreements on visitation time with children, bringing new romantic interests around children, speaking to children about the specifics of breakups, and the cohesiveness of discipline, routines, and schedules between two households.

The common thread among the tips on avoiding conflict?  Open communication between the parents and keeping the best interests of the children in mind at all times.  For a full discussion on each topic, view the complete blog, 5 Common Issues Facing Newly Separated Parents (and how to avoid).

Have questions about child custody and/or divorce?  We can help. To speak to one of our attorneys, call 704-412-1442.  Our attorneys represent clients in the Charlotte, NC area, including Mecklenburg and Cabarrus counties.

For addtional information on family law, divorce, and child custody in North Carolina, vist our website:  www.hunterheinattorneys.com

 

 

NC Divorce Lawyer Answers 8 Common Questions About Divorce

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Our Charlotte, NC divorce lawyers have compiled a list of answers to frequently asked questions about divorce in NC, including: Am I required to have a separation agreement? Is it abandonment to leave the marital home?  What happens when both spouses want to stay in the marital home? Can I speed up the 1 year wait period for absolute divorce? Who gets the kids?  How is property divided?  How does marital misconduct affect my divorce?  Do I need to hire an attorney for simple divorce?

In short: you are NOT required to have a separation agreement in NC; whether or not abandonment is an issue will depend on the specific facts of your situation; there are a number of potential options when both spouses want to remain in the marital residence, including divorce from bed and board, protective orders, and negotiations; you can NOT speed up the 1 year wait period for absolute divorce; child custody is based on a number of factors, including the status quo of the parties; property is divided through the process of equitable distribution, which starts with a presumption that a 50/50 split is fair; marital misconduct will not affect the actual divorce but may impact several divorce related claims including alimony; you do not have to hire an attorney to represent your interests in any divorce, whether simple or not, but the process can be overwhelming for those who have never gone through it before.

Want more?  View our full blog with more in-depth answers to these common divorce questions.

Written by Bill Hunter
Co-Founder and Practicing Attorney
Hunter & Hein, Attorneys at Law, PLLC
704-412-1442
www.hunterheinattorneys.com

Legal Matters Should Not be Considered Do-It-Yourself Projects

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As humans, we all have a natural inclination to want to do things on our own, for a number of reasons, whether it be pride, an interest in the project, a desire to save money, or having no other option.  Unfortunately, given the complexity of even some of the most common and simple legal issues, it is not advisable to represent your own interests in a legal matter.  Unless you are familiar with the statutes, case law, theories, and rules of evidence and procedure associated will all aspects of your legal matter, trying to be your own lawyer can be an overwhelming experience.  Further, mistakes made along the way can cost you many thousands of dollars in potential lost opportunities and attorneys fees to correct errors down the road.  Some errors may never be fixed.

Even if you cannot afford at attorney or have otherwise decided to represent yourself, it is advisable to at least reach out to a law firm for an initial consultation.  Many law firms offer free or low cost consultations.  During a consultation, you will have an opportunity to ask questions and confirm whether your interpretation of the law in your particular situation is accurate.

For more information on potential pitfalls and some suggestions to those thinking of representing themselves, read our full blog on the subject of legal do-it-yourself projects.

Written by Bill Hunter
Co-Found and Lawyer
Hunter & Hein, Attorneys at Law, PLLC
Charlotte, NC
704-412-1442
http://www.hunterheinattorneys.com