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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?”

 

Congressman Alan Grayson’s war on one woman has taken an ugly turn, with Grayson’s attorney slamming his estranged wife as being a “poor housekeeper” for allowing the condition of the Florida Democrat’s 5,300 square-foot home to become “horrible.”

Alan Grayson Charlotte Mecklenburg Divorce Attorney North Carolina Family Law LawyerGrayson, the United States Representative for Florida’s 9th District, has “called out” Republican political opponents for waging a war “against all of the women in this country.” According to Grayson, the gullible, Confederate flag-waving bigots in the Grand Old Party oppose so-called “equal pay” laws and abortion, and that means they are in a war against women.

That imagined war has become all-too-real for Lolita Grayson, Rep. Grayson’s estranged wife. She claims that Rep. Grayson has failed to pay for repairs and upkeep on the Orlando home she shares with the couple’s four children. Mrs. Grayson alleges in court filings that the home’s roof is leaking, and broken windows are allowing rainwater to penetrate the interior of the home, which has led to a significant mold problem.

Rep. Grayson’s attorney calls the accusations false, saying the congressman spends more than $10,000 per month on the home’s mortgage, child support, utilities and household expenses.

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Charlotte Divorce Attorney Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “Who pays for the children’s health insurance and co-pays?”

 

North Carolina’s ban on same-sex marriage took another blow on Wednesday. United States District Court Judge William L. Osteen, Jr. ruled that the Tar Heel State’s 2012 state constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.

Brides Charlotte Divorce Lawyer Mecklenburg Family Law AttorneyJudge Osteen ruled that the state could not prevent same-sex couples from marrying and could not prohibit the recognition of lawful same-sex marriages consummated in other states. Judge Osteen enjoined the state and its officers from enforcing the same-sex marriage ban. Attorney General Roy Cooper already announced this past July that he would not enforce the ban.

Judge Osteen dismissed claims brought by six same-sex couples “concerning the adoption laws of North Carolina.” In their complaint in Fisher-Borne v. Smith, et al., the couples alleged that so-called “second parent adoption is the only way that a family in North Carolina with gay or lesbian parents can ensure that both parents have a legal relationship with the child” and enjoy the benefits and protections “of a legally-recognized parent-child relationship with both parents.”

Plaintiffs Marcie and Chantelle Fisher-Borne of Durham alleged that their children faced potential exclusion from private or public health benefits, veterans’ benefits, disability or social security benefits, life insurance benefits and workers’ compensation benefits. Marcie gave birth to six-year-old Miley, while Chantelle gave birth to two-year-old Elijah. To date, North Carolina law has prohibited Marcie from adopting Elijah and has prevented Chantelle from adopting Miley.

The North Carolina Supreme Court upheld the prohibition on second parent adoptions in 2010 in Boseman v. Jarrell, a case that arose out of a child-custody dispute involving former North Carolina State Senator Julia Boseman and her former partner.

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Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “Can any attorney help me with my family law needs in North Carolina?”

 

Buncombe County Registrar Drew Reisinger stayed at work late this past Friday to issue a marriage license to Amy Cantrell and Lauren White. Cantrell and White became the first same-sex couple in Buncombe County to be married after United States District Court Judge Max O. Cogburn, Jr. struck down the Tar Heel State’s same-sex marriage ban. Cogburn’s order came a little after 5:00 p.m. Friday.

Same-sex marriage Charlotte Divorce Attorney North Carolina Family Law LawyerReisinger stayed on after closing time to issue marriage licenses to Cantrell, White and 19 other couples. He said it had been heartbreaking to have to deny licenses to same-sex couples “based on discriminatory laws” and that it was an honor to finally be able to say yes.

Cogburn ruled that “North Carolina’s laws prohibiting same-sex marriage are unconstitutional as a matter of law.” Cogburn is a judge in North Carolina’s Federal Western District, however North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper told reporters Friday that Cogburn’s ruling applies statewide.

Within minutes of Cogburn’s order, register of deeds offices statewide became the focal point for the legal, social and political surge in favor of same-sex marriage. The Asheville-Citizen Times reported that “couples who brought ministers with them began exchanging their vows on the steps outside the register of deeds” while other couples lined up at the counter inside to obtain licenses.

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Charlotte Divorce Attorney Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “When do you get alimony?”

 

Divorces do not get much uglier than the one involving actor Stephen Collins and his estranged wife, Faye Grant.

Stephen Collins Charlotte Divorce Attorney Mecklenburg Family Law LawyerCollins and Grant commenced divorce proceedings in 2012. At the time, the former 7th Heaven star said he and Grant were moving forward separately with their lives. Collins played a pastor in 7th Heaven, a popular television series that aired from 1996 until 2007.

In 2012, Collins—who said he regarded Grant as his “dearest friend”—said he knew the couple would proceed through the divorce process “in a way that honors our family.”

Two years on, he may be second-guessing himself.

Grant may not have been as willing as Collins presumed to move on separately with her life—at least not without millions from a divorce settlement with Collins. Grant said she is seeking spousal support and a share of two Brentwood, California properties owned by the couple, valued at $2.7 million apiece. She has also demanded a share of the roughly $44,000 Collins earns in monthly income, as well as the $6 to $7 million the pair have in bank and retirement accounts.

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Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “Can any attorney help me with my family law needs in North Carolina?”

 

The Charlotte Observer is reporting that same-sex marriage could be legal soon in North Carolina—by the end of this week!

Gay Wedding Charlotte Divorce Lawyer North Carolina Family Law AttorneyVirginia put the issue to its voters eight years ago, and 57-percent of Virginians voted to amend that state’s constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman. The Virginia amendment also forbade the state from recognizing same-sex marriages formalized in other states.

North Carolina law has always defined “A valid sufficient marriage” as one “created by the consent of a male and female person.” Voters in the Tar Heel state sought to eliminate any doubt about their stance on the issue in 2012, voting 61-percent to 38-percent in favor of a state constitutional amendment that defines marriage as between one man and one woman and bans any other type of civil union or domestic partnership.

Virginia’s amendment—passed eight years ago—has seen its legal challenges litigated all the way to United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit—the highest appellate court to consider cases from that state short of the United States Supreme Court. The Fourth Circuit struck down Virginia’s amendment, ruling that the ban violated gay couples’ fundamental right to marry.

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Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “Can any attorney help me with my family law needs in North Carolina?”

 

If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident… If you live in the United States, you have heard that phrase a few trillion times. But really, if you have been injured in an accident, you are likely to receive a mailer from a lawyer—or two, or five hundred.

Fortitude and Impatience Mecklenburg Divorce Attorney North Carolina Family Law LawyerWhat about if you seek a domestic violence protective order and file for divorce? If you are in Michigan, you might receive a mailer from a family-law attorney who is eager to help you. Or not, if a former-sheriff state legislator has his way.

The legislator, Sen. Rick Jones of Grand Ledge, Michigan, is sponsoring a bill that would prohibit lawyers in that state from reaching out to potential divorce clients to offer their legal services until two weeks after the named defendant in a divorce filing has been served with divorce papers and proof of that service has been filed.

Of course, the ex-sheriff put some teeth in his bill. A first-time violation of the rule would be a misdemeanor and subject the violator to a $1,000 fine. Repeat offenders would face up to a year in prison and a $5,000 fine, or both.

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Charlotte Divorce Attorney Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What does a “No-Fault’ divorce mean in NC?”

 

Proponents of same-sex marriage have railed against the legal difficulties that confront same-sex partners interested in tying the proverbial knot. Now some same-sex couples are facing a different—and perhaps even more difficult—legal issue: same-sex divorce.

Same-sex marriage TaiwanBeth Littrell, a senior attorney for the civil rights group of Lambda Legal’s Southern regional office in Atlanta, told the Associated Press that divorce for same-sex couples is a legal mess. Lambda Legal is a national organization whose mission is to help lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgendered people obtain full recognition of civil rights. While same-sex marriage is legal in nineteen states and the District of Columbia, state laws governing divorce have not evolved with same-sex marriage, leading to confusion, frustration and years of litigation.

Cori Jo Long and Brooke Powell travelled from their home in Texas to New Hampshire in 2010 in order to take advantage of the latter state’s permissive laws on same-sex marriage. Their marriage unraveled in 2013, but so far they have been unable to obtain a divorce. Long and Powell attempted to divorce in Texas, but since that state does not recognize same-sex marriage, a judge ruled that he did not have jurisdiction to void their union or grant a divorce.

“It is limbo,” Long said. “It’s waiting and seeing. That’s all I can do.”

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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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