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Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What does uncontested divorce mean?”

 

A record one-in-five adults aged 25 or older had never been married as of 2012, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of census data. That’s double the amount of never-married adults from 1960. What happened?

Wedding closeup Charlotte Family Law Lawyer North Carolina Divorce AttorneyPew blames “a variety of reasons,” but places its emphasis on the economy, which it says has grown slowly and unequally in recent decades. Median hourly wages for men ages 25 to 34 have declined 20-percent since 1980 “in real terms.” Real terms means that even though the amount of money men in that age group earn may have increased, the cost of everything else—of living—means that more money actually buys them less.

Economic woes have shrunk the “pool of available employed men,” and those are the ones that 80-percent of never-married women say they want. These women want a man who has a steady job. But women are the ones whose educational achievement and labor-force participation rate continue to rise.

That has created a deficit in the number of employed, available men per 100 women. In 1960, the number of employed, available men per 100 women in the 25 to 34 age group was 139. By 2012, that number had sunk to 91. Of course, never-married women can select their mates from other pools of available men such as older men or divorcees.

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Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question ” Is there some property that the judge cannot divide?”

 

If you haven’t been subscribing to Legal Matters, our quarterly family law newsletter, you should start now.

Judge Tools Charlotte Family Law Lawyer Mecklenburg Divorce AttorneyThis quarter, we discuss how the Internal Revenue Service has spotted a huge gap between alimony deductions claimed and the amount of alimony income received by those entitled to it. In general, people who are ordered to pay alimony to a spouse or ex-spouse can claim and receive a tax deduction. The government report suggests that either people paying alimony are exaggerating the amounts they paid or people receiving alimony are underreporting that income, or both. Deductions exceeded reported alimony income by some $2 billion.

The IRS has announced that it is changing the way it selects tax returns for audits in order to catch more suspicious returns involving alimony. What does this mean for you? It means that when reporting income or claiming deductions related to alimony, you need to be precise. If you have questions regarding how much alimony you should be reporting or the amount of deductions to which you are entitled, you should speak to a family law attorney to make sure you are handling these issues correctly.

Also in this issue of our family law newsletter, we explore how the issue of student-loan debt can complicate divorce settlements. In general, marital debts are divided equally, but many spouses incurred student-loan debt before they married, making it separate debt. Some common issues complicate the division of student-loan debt in divorces, such as whether both spouses contributed to paying off portions of the debt during the marriage, which spouse benefited from the spouse’s degree during the marriage, whether the loans were consolidated and which spouse can afford repaying the debt.

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Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “How is the amount of child support decided in North Carolina?”

 

Nick Olivas said he was a lonely, 14-year-old kid going through a rough patch when his 20-year-old neighbor raped him. He said he didn’t know at the time that under Arizona law, a child under 15 could consent to sex, making him a victim of statutory rape. He didn’t press charges against the woman, but now the State of Arizona is after Olivas to pay child support for the daughter he fathered with the woman.

Daughter Hugging Father Charlotte Divorce Lawyer North Carolina Family Law AttorneyOlivas said he and the woman went their separate ways. He graduated high school, attended college and became a Phoenix-based medical assistant. He said he was living his life and enjoying being young when, two years ago, he was served with papers demanding child-support payments for a six-year-old daughter.

Arizona—like Kansas and California—considers the circumstances of the daughter’s conception irrelevant for child-support purposes, said Mel Felt, director of the New York-based advocacy group the National Center for Men. In 1993, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that a 13-year-old boy who impregnated his 17-year-old babysitter was liable for child support, even though he had been legally unable to consent to sex. A California state court issued a similar ruling involving a 15-year-old boy whose 34-year-old neighbor was convicted of raping him.

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Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “Can any attorney help me with my family law needs in North Carolina?”

 

Marriage is for the dogs, or at least that is what one British woman thinks. Amanda Rodgers was so smitten with her dog Sheba that she decided marry it.

Robert Pattinson Charlotte Divorce Lawyer North Carolina Family Law AttorneyRodgers, 47, married Sheba this past March in a ceremony attended by some 200 well-wishers. The woman said she knew Sheba was the one for her when the dog was just two weeks old. “I fell in love with her,” Rodgers said. “I knew that we were meant to be.”

Rodgers told a British television news team that she proposed to Sheba on bended knee. The dog’s wagging tale meant that it accepted her proposal. Their wedding ceremony was sealed with a kiss.

Kissing is as far as Australian Joseph Guiso would go with the 5-year-old yellow Labrador he married “in an elaborate wedding ceremony in a local park” in 2010, according to the New York Daily News. Guiso, a self-described religious man, laughed off critics of his union with the canine and described their relationship as platonic.

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Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What are my custody rights if the other parent moves?”

 

Researchers from Washington, D.C.’s Georgetown University who used a national sample of nearly 4,000 children from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth have concluded that young children from wealthy families exhibit more behavioral problems following their parents’ divorce than children from poor families.

Happy Family Charlotte Divorce Lawyer North Carolina Family Law AttorneyRebecca Ryan, an assistant professor of psychology at Georgetown, told Time Magazine that her team’s findings show that “family changes affect children’s behavior in higher-income families more than children’s behavior in lower-income families—for better and for worse.” Ryan was the study’s lead author. She conceded that she nor her researchers could pinpoint any reasons behind the spike in behavior problems among young children from wealthier families.

Ryan did speculate that fathers in wealthier families—most often breadwinners—often leave the home, leading to a steep decline in household income. In general, wealthier families see a greater shift in financial circumstances when parents divorce or separate than lower-income families. The changes that accompany that shift such as moving to a new neighborhood or changing schools may lead to instability in children’s lives.

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Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “Can any attorney help me with my family law needs in North Carolina?”

 

Edit: The Baltimore Ravens have just released Ray Rice from his contract and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has announced Rice will be suspended indefinitely from the NFL.

 

American National Football League fans were treated to a slew of close victories and upsets on the opening weekend of the 2015 season. The Monday blues followed too close for the league’s comfort on the heels of season openers.

Ray_Rice Charlotte Divorce Lawyer North Carolina Family Law AttorneyEarlier this year, video footage obtained by Burbank, California-based “Thirty-Mile Zone,” also known as TMZ, showed Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice dragging his then-fiancé Janay Palmer out of an Atlantic City elevator. News reports referenced a video obtained by police that showed Rice hitting Palmer and knocking her unconscious in the elevator.

That second video was obtained by TMZ and released at 1:00 a.m. Monday morning while sports shows around the country were still broadcasting highlights from Sunday’s round of games.

The incident occurred on Feb. 15 at the Revel Hotel and Casino. Evidently Rice and Palmer argued before entering an elevator carriage. New footage from inside the carriage shows Rice striking Palmer in the face. The blow causes Palmer to fall, striking her head against a handrail and apparently falling unconscious to the floor of the carriage.

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Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question ” I’m not getting along with my husband. We’ve been married two weeks and it was a mistake. Can’t I just get an annulment?”

 

Last Tuesday, men who had divorced their wives provided, via the online sharing site Reddit, a post-mortem on their marriages, divulging for the virtual world the moment they knew their martial bonds were strained to the point of no return. Their stories may be enlightening to couples—women in particular—who fear they are headed for divorce.

Reddit Charlotte Divorce Lawyer North Carolina Family Law AttorneyThe Huffington Post found some common themes in the men’s tales. Trust was a common issue, or rather distrust. One man wrote that in order to rebut his wife’s constant accusations that he was cheating on her, he photographed street signs on his 25-minute journey home from work, to establish a timestamp of the entire route. Finally, he said, he just left his wife.

Another man wrote that he knew it was over when he became indifferent to his wife’s “long and frequent infidelities.” When the anger stopped, the man realized he could focus on planning an end to his “toxic marriage.”

Men have long been accused of being bad at sharing their feelings. When one man revealed to his wife that he felt hopeless and depressed and described his condition “as an existential crisis,” however, his wife laughed in his face. The wife may have thought the man was joking, but the man was serious. “I realized I didn’t really matter to her,” he said.

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Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “Does adultery affect my divorce case?”

 

Stars of the TLC reality show “Sister Wives” can return to their home state of Utah and live together without the fear of prosecution by the State for polygamy. Stars Kody Brown, Meri Brown, Janelle Brown, Christine Brown and Robyn Sullivan left their home while the suit was pending after “repeated” violations of their constitutional rights and “years of criminal investigation and public accusations,” according to their attorney.

polygamy symbol Charlotte Family Law Attorney North Carolina Divorce LawyerThe Browns sued Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert, Attorney General Mark Shurtleff and Utah County Attorney Jeffrey R. Buhman in 2011. In their complaint, the Browns acknowledged that only Kody and Meri Brown were legally married, and that the family did not hold multiple marriage licenses. Instead, “they call themselves a family in the eyes of their church.”

In their complaint, the Browns alleged that Utah’s criminal bigamy law criminalized “not just polygamous marriages but also an array of plural intimate relationships and associations of consenting adults.” They asked a federal district court to enjoin Utah’s enforcement of “laws banning and criminalizing polygamy.”

Utah statute Section 76-7-101 made a person “guilty of bigamy when, knowing he has a husband or wife or knowing the other person has a husband or wife,” marries “or cohabits with another person.”

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Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What rules are there for Father’s Right in NC?”

 

A Canadian man may have thought his girlfriend’s made-up tale about her quintuplet pregnancy was the ultimate gold-digger’s tale, but that was before he was one-upped by a Chengdu, China-based panda named Ai Hin.

Panda eating bamboo Charlotte Divorce Attorney North Carolina Family Law LawyerA “gold digger” is defined informally as “a woman who associates with or marries a man chiefly for material gain.” To be fairer than Jamie Foxx and Kanye West were in their 2005 hit single, “Gold Digger,” men are just as capable of engaging in gold-digging conduct. Since most men cannot become pregnant (yes, men are carrying babies to term), the pretending-you-are-pregnant-to-ensnare-the-mate phenomenon has been a strategy traditionally employed by members of the fairer sex. While not by any means the first to document the phenomenon, Daniel Defoe’s harrowing 1722 account of the life of Moll Flanders is instructive.

The lady Flanders was, in the end, a sympathetic figure. She did what she had to do to survive in a sexist and paternalistic culture. History may not be as kind to the contemporary Canadian Paul Servat’s girlfriend.

According to the Toronto Sun, Servat was tricked in a fake-pregnancy scheme by his girlfriend, who told him she was carrying quintuplets. The girlfriend’s stomach swelled, she began lactating, and the couple accepted donations from neighbors and friends. A mother of triplets who befriended the couple told CTV news that the girlfriend’s story didn’t add up. She said the girlfriend kept adding to the number of expected children.

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Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question ” I’m considering separating from my spouse; what actions should I refrain from doing?”

 

Larry Weiser, the director of Gonzaga University’s Elder Law Clinic, says all of the sudden, he is seeing older people wanting to divorce their spouses. The sharp rise in people aged 60 and up seeking low-cost legal advice for divorces is like nothing he has seen in 33 years at the clinic. Divorce requests in the Elder Law Clinic have tripled in the first seven months of 2014 alone.

Older couple Charlotte Family Law Attorney North Carolina Divorce LawyerWeiser and others at the clinic are scratching their heads. What is causing an apparent increase in older Americans seeking divorce? Weiser told the Spokane, Washington-based Spokesman-Review that the issues underlying divorce cases handled in the Elder Law Clinic are frequently domestic violence or situations in which “the marriage has been over for a long time.” Weiser said many couples seeking divorce have lived in the same home for years, but have been living separate lives, in effect, under the same roof. In other cases, one spouse left the home years ago, and now the parties are formally ending their relationship for, if nothing else, peace of mind.

However, Weiser said, in many other cases, the same common issues that plague younger couples cause older couples to seek divorce. Older couples struggle with domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse and gambling. They deal with marital strain brought on by financial difficulties, medical issues and strain brought on by family members—including children or step-children—who don’t support their parents’ marriage. This latter factor, Weiser said, is especially true in divorces in which one or more spouse is ending a second marriage.

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