The North Carolina Court of Appeals recently decided a case relating to a motion to modify child custody custody in Cherry v. Thomas. The Mother's child custody lawyer filed a motion to modify child custody. The trial court denied Mother's motion to modify custody. The trial court held that there had been a substantial change in circumstances. However, it further held that Mother did not meet her burden of showing that the substantial change in circumstances actually affected the welfare of the minor child. The primary alleged substantial change related to the parents work schedules, they were North Carolina law enforcement officers. First they worked opposite shifts and days - the nonworking parent kept the minor child. Eventually, the work schedules changed to where both parents Monday through Friday during regular business hours. The Court of Appeals upheld the trial court's ruling.
September 2010 Archives
According to a Pew Research Center analysis of the most recent Census Bureau data, the number of children in the United States being raised by their grandparents rose sharply as the recession began. In all, approximately 7 million children live in households that include at least one grandparent. Of that number, 2.9 million are being raised primarily by their grandparents, a number up 16 percent from 2000, with a 6 percent surge from 2007 to 2008.
There are many reasons why grandparents are taking over child raising duties. Grandparents frequently report taking over when a single parent becomes overwhelmed with financial problems, is incarcerated, becomes ill, succumbs to substance abuse, or dies. High rates of divorce and teenage pregnancy as well as long overseas military deployments also factor into the increased dependence on grandparents.
According to the Pew Center, 34 percent of grandparent caregivers are unmarried, and 62 percent are women. Child-rearing by grandparents also varies by race, but the sharp rise in grandparent caregiving from 2007 to 2008 was among whites. However, overall, 53 percent of grandparent caregivers are white, 24 percent are black, and 18 percent are Hispanic.
The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry notes that many children living with grandparents enter the arrangement with preexisting problems stemming from abuse, neglect, prenatal exposure to drugs and alcohol, and loss of their parents. Grandparents in this situation are advised to seek support and assistance from other family members, clergy, social agencies and mental health professionals.
Now you can buy divorce insurance to cover your divorce attorney fees. The average cost of an American divorce this year ranged from about $15,000 to $30,000. As a result, the North Carolina-based insurance company SafeGuard Guaranty Corporation is now selling a divorce insurance product called WedLock. A unit of WedLock runs insureds $16 per month and provides $1,250 to cover expenses such as legal proceedings. Insureds can buy multiple units, and for every year they keep their policy, SafeGuard will reward them with another $250 of coverage for each unit they own.
How does WedLock work? When a married couple files for divorce, the policyholders simply send in their divorce papers to receive cash from SafeGuard. To prevent spouses who are already planning a divorce from working the system, SafeGuard require at least 36 months from the effective date until spouses can claim their coverage.
On its website, SafeGuard provides a Divorce Cost Calculator and a Divorce Probability Calculator for those who are unable to decide whether they need to procure divorce insurance.
A recent study released in the October issue of the Journal of Family Issues indicates that career women who are the family breadwinners are nearly 40% more likely to get a divorce than women without the same economic resources. This study, based on data covering 25 years, examines the relationship between wives' economic resources and the risk of marital dissolution. The author of the study found that the economic resources of women are tightly linked to the risk of divorce, both negatively and positively.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women were the majority of payroll employees as of March 2010. Researchers found that the tipping point occurs when the wife pulls in at least 60% of the family's income. Couples in this position were 38% more likely in any given year to get divorced. Race was also a factor, as divorce was much more common for white couples than black couples.
The author of the study also emphasized the importance of the generational divide: while Baby Boomers and Generation X couples may still believe in the male breadwinner, the Millennial generation may feel differently. The author indicates that the group of women represented in the study did not include the Millennial generation, who may expect or desire to be their families' breadwinners.
The definition of a family in America is critical, especially in Charlotte, North Carolina - it can affect tax filings, adoption proceedings, employment benefits, inheritance rights, and many other legal matters. A majority of Americans now say that their definition of a "family" includes same-sex couples with children, as well as gay and lesbian couples. However, most Americans also report that they do not consider unmarried cohabitating couples, either heterosexual or homosexual, to be a family - unless they have children. These findings emerged from a study based upon telephone interviews conducted in 2003, 2006, and 2010 by author and Indiana University professor Brian Powell. Powell concludes that the framing of the issue of equality of same-sex couples in terms of "the best interests of the child" might prove to be the most successful political argument.
The survey also indicates that since 2003, the proportion of people who reported having a gay friend or relative rose 10 percent, which Powell attributes to "a more open social environment in which individuals now feel more comfortable discussing and acknowledging sexuality." Furthermore, Americans appear to be almost equally divided on same-sex marriage and more open to seeing same-sex couples with children as families, even when they hesitate to recognize the parents' union as marriage. The survey also demonstrated a growing belief that genetics, rather than parenting, peers, or religion, is responsible for sexual orientation. Those who remain opposed to same-sex marriage indicated to the surveyors that they were more willing to include pets over same-sex partners in their definition of family.
Although five states and the District of Columbia now allow same-sex marriages, these marriages are not recognized by the federal government. The Census Bureau defines family as "a group of two people or more (one of whom is the householder) related by birth, marriage, or adoption and residing together."
This Charlotte child custody lawyer observes that a current custody case being heard by the North Carolina Supreme Court could decide whether North Carolina state law allows a certain kind of adoption by same-sex couples in North Carolina. Senator Julia Boseman and her ex-partner, Melissa Jarrell, are litigating custody issues after Boseman's so-called "second parent adoption" of Jarrell's son in 2005. Second parent adoptions, which are being granted in only a few North Carolina counties, are permitted in 27 other states.
Jarrell and Boseman were living together when the child was born in 2002, after Jarrell's successful artificial insemination. Boseman has been actively involved in the child's life since his birth. After the couple broke up in 2003, they received joint child custody. However, Jarrell's lawyer argued that the adoption should be voided because second parent adoptions technically do not exist under North Carolina law. The trial court and the Court of Appeals upheld the adoption, but Jarrell's attorney argues that the adoption court created its own adoption procedure by weaving together various statutes to make a new kind of adoption that is not provided for by statute. Boseman's lawyer calls the adoption a "direct placement adoption", which is provided for by law in North Carolina.
A ruling in the case is likely to be months away.
As every good Charlotte divorce lawyer knows, preexisting individual debt can break up an engagement or lead to divorce. Even when individuals planning to marry disclose their debt to one another, the couple can face many future financial challenges. Today, even people without graduate degrees are finding themselves saddled with serious student loan debt, and people getting married for the second time are entering into new marriages with significant debt from their earlier lives.
The dilemma that many couples are facing involves a moral question: when should a partner reveal a sizable debt during the courtship? And, if one person brings a huge debt into the relationship, who will be ultimately responsible for paying off the obligation? Significant debt may cause the debt-free partner to eventually resent the debtor, as the debt will affect every financial decision the couple makes together.
A great advantage to prenuptial agreements is that they force a couple to discuss finances and negotiate the payment options. If the debtor spouse intends to pay off the debt purely with his or her own earnings, the couple should codify that intent in a legal agreement. Furthermore, any leftover debt that one partner brings into a marriage would legally remain that individual's debt alone after a divorce.
However, figuring out the finances could still be complicated in the case of a divorce. The debt free spouse's attorney may make the argument that he or she deserves a refund for payment toward household expenses, even if the debtor spouse were making the loan payments out of his or her salary alone. Furthermore, if the debtor spouse acquires student loan debt during the marriage, some state courts will treat the advanced degree earned as an "asset" of earning power to be divided between the spouses.
This Charlotte divorce attorney found that according to a recent article in the New York Times, divorce is everywhere these days, and Americans are enjoying taking part in vicarious divorce. Our culture is both surrounded and fascinated by it. The biggest adult film of the summer, "Eat Pray Love," centers on a divorce. The highly popular television series of the summer, "Mad Men," revolves around a divorced couple. The most talked-about revival on Broadway of the summer, "Promises, Promises," focuses on divorce. The most newsworthy memoir of the year, Andrew Young's "The Politician," chronicles the affair of John Edwards that eventually led to a notorious political divorce. The country watched with fascination the dissolution of various political marriages, such as the Edwardses, the Gores, and the Sanfords. Celebrities such as Sandra Bullock, Susan Sarandon, Tiger Woods, and Kelsey Grammar have made headlines all year with their sordid breakups and divorces. Was the summer of 2010 the summer of divorce?
Although our country seems obsessed with divorce, the actual divorce rate is plummeting. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the divorce rate in America is at a 30-year low, down 8 percent in the last five years, 16 percent since 2000, and 34 percent since its peak in 1979. Approximately 20,000 fewer American couples are divorcing every year as compared with a decade ago. Although the country's fascination with divorce and its decreasing divorce rate may be difficult to reconcile, experts observe that Americans seem to be talking about divorce more, while actually divorcing less.
In this issue of our Charlotte Divorce Attorney Blog Family Law Newsletter, we take a look at the increasing popularity of Post-nuptial Agreements and the many topics which can be addressed by Post-nuptial Agreements. We also consider a couple issues relating to Father's parental rights in child custody disputes. Finally, we discuss how a divorce can affect your Last Will and Testament and other similar legal documents.
Click here to view and print our Charlotte Divorce Attorney Blog Family Law Newsletter - Fall 2010: