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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?”


A 40-year veteran of the Asheville Citizen-Times says gay weddings would mean big business to Asheville. The only thing standing in the way is North Carolina law.

Gay Marriage Charlotte Mecklenburg Family Law Lawyer North Carolina Divorce AttorneyDozens of scenarios could play out, “depending on decisions made at almost every legal level, from the state attorney general to the General Assembly to the Supreme Court,” wrote reporter Barbara Blake in an Aug. 3 article. She cited a July 28 ruling by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals striking down Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban and wrote that the way was paved for North Carolina courts to do the same.

That may be wishful thinking on the part of Blake and advocates of same-sex marriage. But as Blake points out, more than a few businesses may stand to benefit from a change in the law.

Asheville is already a destination for marriages and marriage celebrations and is considered a “gay-friendly city,” Blake wrote. Most business owners quoted in Blake’s story said they were open to all couples, and did not market themselves specifically to gay couples. The owners of one event-planning and floral design company—life partners Bobby Hill and Mark Arrington—said “the prospect of a new population of brides and grooms is exciting.” They conceded, however, that they had no plans to advertise specifically to the “gay market.”

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


Consenting to your wife’s divorce so that she can go “experience other men” may not seem like a normal thing to do, but little in the now-rekindled romance between 19-year-old Courtney Stodden and 54-year-old Doug Hutchison has been “normal.”

Courtney-Stodden-Charlotte-Mecklenburg-Family-Law-Lawyer-North-Carolina-Divorce-AttorneyHutchison is billed in media reports as a “star” of the 1999 film The Green Mile, a film that also featured Oscar winners and nominees Tom Hanks, James Cromwell and the late Michael Clarke Duncan. He met the “fame-hungry” Stodden when the then-16-year-old signed up for Hutchison’s online acting workshop. After courting online for several months, the pair met in person and, soon after, married. At the time of their Las Vegas marriage, Hutchison was 51 and Stodden just 16.

The marriage brought the pair more publicity than any acting gig for either party before or since. They parlayed the publicity into a reality television show about their romance. Stodden’s stint on Celebrity Big Brother U.K. left her feeling “strong and independent” and, according to reports, interested in other men. Hutchison appeared to observe that sage quote, from writer Richard Bach: “If you love someone, set them free. If they come back they’re yours; if they don’t, they never were.” He let Stodden go, sort of.

Stodden said she was aiming for younger men in her “sow the wild oats” stage, telling TooFab last year that “people say age is just a number and I said that also and obviously age isn’t just a number. I’m excited to taste new things.” Stodden and Hutchison announced their split in a joint statement, saying they would share custody of their dog, Dourtney.

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Charlotte Divorce Attorney Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “Does adultery affect my divorce case?”


Reality television star Kendra Wilkinson has met several times with Hollywood divorce lawyers, People Magazine reports. Wilkinson has said there is no chance she will reconcile with husband and former National Football League player Hank Baskett. Wilkinson and Baskett have two children—a four-year-old son and a daughter born in June.

Hugh and Kendra Charlotte Adultery Lawyer North Carolina Divorce AttorneyWilkinson is a former Playboy model who first garnered notoriety when she was featured as one of several girlfriends of Playboy mogul Hugh Hefner in the reality television show “The Girls Next Door.” The show aired from 2005 to 2009. Wilkinson ended her relationship with Hefner in 2008 and married Baskett the following year. Their relationship has been chronicled in another reality show, “Kendra on Top.” The couple is still living under the same roof, so that WE network cameras can keep rolling as their relationship unravels.

The unraveling began in June when a transsexual model named Ava Sabrina London told the National Enquirer that she engaged in two sexual encounters with Baskett. London alleged that she and Baskett exchanged information on YouTube and eventually met for sexual encounters “that never culminated in actual sex” but which she said left Baskett “very satisfied.” London passed a polygraph test administered by the National Enquirer, and RadarOnline has alleged that it obtained video surveillance that shows a truck matching Baskett’s arriving at London’s Los Angeles condo.

London said Baskett paid her to keep quiet about the encounters. Baskett has denied being involved with London.

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Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “Do I need an attorney to get a Divorce in North Carolina?”


A Cleveland, Ohio judge found himself on the other side of the bench after being arrested Saturday for beating his wife.

Courthouse Charlotte Mecklenburg Divorce Lawyer North Carolina Family Law AttorneyCuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Lance Mason was accused of punching, biting and choking his wife inside a vehicle in Shaker Heights, where Mason is from, according to witnesses. Aisha Mason—Judge Mason’s wife—sustained “serious facial injuries,” including broken facial bones, according to reports. The couple’s children, aged four and six, respectively, were in the vehicle during the beating.

Judge Mason allegedly threw his wife out of their vehicle at the corner of Van Aken Boulevard and Avalon Road. Aisha Mason told emergency dispatchers she feared for the safety of the couples’ children and pleaded with responders to find the children and get them out of harm’s way.

Judge Mason was arrested at his home in Cleveland about twenty minutes after the alleged beating, after his sister called police to report that he was threatening to kill himself with a gun. Judge Mason was charged with felonious assault.

While in custody, Judge Mason admitted to having weapons in his bedroom and attic. Officers searched his home and found some 2,500 rounds of ammunition, a 12-gauge shotgun, a Winchester shotgun, a 50-shell shotgun belt, two semi-automatic rifles, two handguns, a sword, four canisters of smoke grenades and a bulletproof vest.

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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 week, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell handed down a controversial punishment to Baltimore Ravens running back, Ray Rice. Rice was suspended for two games for his involvement in an altercation with his fiancé (now wife), Janay Palmer. Following this incident, Rice was observed via security camera pulling an unconscious Palmer out of a New Jersey casino elevator. Rice pleaded not guilty to third degree aggravated assault and avoided trial by being accepted into a pretrial intervention program.

Ray_Rice Charlotte Divorce Lawyer North Carolina Family Law AttorneyThere is a growing concern from the public that the NFL is not taking a hard enough line on domestic violence. Roger Goodell’s two game suspension for Rice has been subject to scrutiny around the country from multiple media outlets that have compared this suspension to drug related suspensions that are four games. This scrutiny has gone as far as United States senators Chris Murphy, Tammy Baldwin, and Richard Blumenthal, writing a letter to NFL requesting reconsideration and revision of Rice’s punishment to “more adequately reflect the seriousness of his offense.” The senator’s letter says the NFL’s punishment “reflects a disturbingly lenient, even cavalier attitude towards violence against women.” Goodell has responded to this scrutiny that Rice’s punishment is in line with the NFL’s decisions when previously dealing with similar situations.

Locally, Charlotte has had recent headlines for NFL players and domestic violence. Carolina Panther’s Pro Bowl defensive end, Greg Hardy, was charged last May with communicating threats and assaulting a female after an altercation with his ex-girlfriend. After being convicted on both charges by Mecklenburg County District Court judge Rebecca Thorne Tin, Hardy’s attorney confirmed that his client will be appealing to a jury trial in Superior Court. The Panthers general manager, David Gettleman, has announced that the team will not discipline Hardy until the NFL takes action under the leagues code of conduct policy. Gettleman also said that the league will not do anything until the legal process has played out.

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Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “My wife and I are not getting along If I leave the house, can she get me for abandonment?”


The least complicated—and least controversial—aspect of a new study of possible causes of divorce is the recitation of a long-recognized statistical truth that marriages featuring first-born daughters are more likely to end in divorce than those featuring first-born sons. The recent study—by Duke University researchers Amar Hamoudi and Jenna Nobles—pushed back the clock, so to speak, to try to explain the disparity.

Baby Girl Charlotte Family Law Lawyer North Carolina Divorce AttorneyThe study by Hamoudi and Nobles expands on the widely-accepted concept that girls and women of all ages are more likely than boys or men to make it to their next birthday. This concept is known as the “characteristic female survival advantage.” While this survival advantage has been well documented outside of the womb, Hamoudi and Nobles studied what happens inside the womb—all the way back to the moment of fertilization.

The researchers found evidence suggesting that female embryos are better able to withstand maternal stress in utero than male embryos. A female fetus, therefore, is more likely to make it to birth than a male counterpart whose mother is experiencing relationship stress. The researchers studied data from the 1979-2010 National Longitudinal Study of Youth. From the study, they deduced that couples who argued frequently during a pregnancy were more likely to have a firstborn daughter than a son. Males are less likely to survive the stressful atmosphere in utero.

Hamoudi said the research neither proves that daughters cause divorce nor that they do not cause it. Instead, he cautioned those who would draw hasty conclusions from the statistical correlation between firstborn daughters and divorce. Many people have suggested that girls, by their nature, have a negative impact on the stability of their parents’ unions. Hamoudi said his study should put an end to that assumption.

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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?”


Users have known for months—maybe longer—that Facebook lets you see if any of your friends are registered sex offenders. The Friend Verifier application—used over 8-millions times to date—lets users scroll over their friend lists to find matches with sex offender registries.

Facebook Charlotte Mecklenburg Divorce Lawyer North Carolina Family Law AttorneyFriends like these, right Facebook? What does the social networking site say about people closer than friends, namely spouses? A lot.

Facebook doesn’t yet have an application that can predict whether users’ marriages will end in divorce, but researchers from Boston University’s College of Communication and the Pontifical Catholic University say using Facebook may put users at a greater risk of divorce.

The researchers studied relationships between use of social media sites like Facebook and marital satisfaction by comparing survey data from spouses with divorce statistics from individual states in the United States. The study, they said, could raise profound questions about the impact of social media on day-to-day human behavior.

While researchers stressed that many other factors contribute to individual divorces, they did observe a correlation between spikes in Facebook usage and spikes in divorce rates in state populations. The correlating spikes did not indicate that Facebook caused divorces, but researchers said that seeking to understand the role of Facebook in divorce and martial satisfaction was worthy of further policy-oriented research endeavors by social scientists.

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Charlotte Divorce Attorney Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What rules are there for Father’s Right in NC?”


The marriage of television writer Lamar Sally and wife, Sherri Shepherd—late of talk show “The View”—is headed the way of more than half of American matrimonial unions: to divorce. The acrimonious split is heating up, with Sally asking a judge to invalidate a prenuptial agreement and award him spousal support from Shepherd.

Laughing baby Charlotte Mecklenburg Divorce Lawyer North Carolina Family Law AttorneyThe prenuptial agreement provides for Sally to receive a lump-sum payment of $60,000. Sally called the agreement fraudulent.

It is not the fight over money, however, that makes the Sally-Shepherd split unique.

Shepherd, who is 47, and Sally asked a surrogate to become impregnated using Sally’s sperm through the process of in-vitro fertilization. The surrogate’s own egg was used, and after fertilization, she agreed to carry the unborn child in her womb.

Sally lists the unborn child’s name as Lamar Sally Jr. and says the surrogate’s due date is July 28. He has requested full custody, offering reasonable visitation rights to Shepherd. According to TMZ, Shepherd wants nothing to do with the child and has alleged that Sally decided to divorce her before the unborn child was created, in order to obtain child-support payments from her.

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Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “How can an attorney help me with my Divorce or Separation in North Carolina?”

When Lebron James announced on live television that he was taking his talents to South Beach, he set off a very public and very intense public firestorm. Cleveland Cavaliers fans burned James’ Cavaliers jersey in the street. Some said if he ever wanted to come back, they wouldn’t take him. It looked to be a very messy and very public divorce.

lebron free throw Charlotte Mecklenburg Divorce Attorney North Carolina Family Law LawyerCleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert addressed a letter after James’ announcement to “All of Northeast Ohio and Cleveland Cavaliers Supporters” saying Lebron “deserted” Cleveland. He wrote that Lebron’s announcement came after a “several day, narcissistic, self-promotional build-up.” Cavalier fans did not deserve that “kind of cowardly betrayal,” Gilbert said.


LeBron kicked off his Miami campaign during the “Recovery Summer” with an announcement that he planned to bring as many as eight NBA titles back to South Beach. That was oh-so 2010.

The Heat teams led by LeBron were upset by the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 finals, then won back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013—true to the form—before being trounced by the San Antonio Spurs in 2014.

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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?”


Dating, courtship, friendship, getting to know someone—whatever you call it—it’s nothing new. Also not new is the idea that knowing someone comes first, marriage second. Or third, or long after you’ve gotten to know someone and, perhaps, learned to love a person.

Married Couple Mecklenburg Charlotte Divorce Lawyer North Carolina Family Law AttorneyMany couples—famously Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, formerly Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins, and don’t forget Branjelina—have carried on years-long love affairs without going through the business of tying the knot. A recent study may show our movie stars reflect our reality: so-called Millennials are marrying later—and less of them are marrying—than each of the previous three generations (described by the Pew Research Center as “Gen X,” “Boomer” and “Silent.” On average, an American woman in the 1950s married at age 20; the average man at age 23. Today the average American woman marries at age 27, the average man at 29.

Some families like the Duggars—stars of TLC’s hit show “19 Kids and Counting”—have adopted and implemented dating rules consistent with their religious faith, by which children of dating age “date with a purpose,” always in the presence of a chaperone, and save kissing, hand-holding, body-on-body hugging and virtually every other form of physical contact for marriage. So far, the Duggar “courtships” have been short, lasting a few months and ending in a proposal to marry, and so far the kids are marrying young.

The Duggars may seem like a throwback to a bygone era, but many observers bemoan the weakening of the institution of marriage, caused perhaps by intergenerational prosperity which has caused both men and women to lose the motivation to marry and have children. Perhaps that is why Jamie Otis had such a hard time finding a man who was ready to commit. She said guys in New York City—where she lives—were just players until they hit their late thirties.

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