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Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What can I do to gain custody of my child in North Carolina?”


Experts have been studying—and lamenting—the effects of divorce on children for decades.

Sad Child Charlotte Mecklenburg Divorce Attorney North Carolina Family Law LawyerNow a Los Angeles-based psychologist is warning parents—particularly those whose children are experiencing or have recently experienced a traumatic event such as a parental divorce—to keep a sharp eye out for behavioral changes in children that may warrant enrollment in therapy.

Psychologist Jeanette Raymond told Yahoo that children are not always keen to share their emotions with their parents, particularly when their parents may be seen as the cause of upset emotions.

Parents, on the other hand, seem to be just as keen on discerning their children’s emotional condition. The bottom line from Ms. Raymond is “Your gut instinct about your child is usually right.” If you suspect your child is not taking a divorce or parental split well, you may need to consider therapeutic treatment for your child.

Not every child is the same, and the circumstances that inform each child’s emotional well-being vary dramatically depending on a child’s age and surroundings, however Raymond identified a number of warning signs for parents to watch out for when going through a divorce.

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Charlotte Divorce Attorney Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “How will the judge divide our property?”


A billion is not enough for the ex-wife of an Oklahoma oil magnate ordered last week to payout what is believed to be one of the largest divorce judgments ever recorded in the United States.

Harold Hamm Charlotte Mecklenburg Divorce Lawyer North Carolina Family AttorneyThe case underlines how messy divorces can disrupt the businesses of parties to divorce actions, especially those who have not prepared for divorce through the execution of prenuptial agreements.

Sue Ann Hamm, ex-wife of oil magnate Harold Hamm, said she is appealing a divorce judgment entered last week on the grounds that it grossly undervalued the amount of marital wealth to which she was entitled.

Oklahoma Special Judge Howard Haralson ordered Mr. Hamm to pay his ex-wife $995.5 million in an 80-page order entered last Monday. The order followed a nine-week trial that ended in October. Under the terms of the order, Mrs. Hamm was due to receive a third of the sum—or $322.7 million—by the end of the year. She also was to keep additional assets that include a California ranch and a home in Oklahoma whose value are estimated to be in the tens of millions.

By the standards of Forbes Magazine, which ranks America’s wealthiest men and women, Judge Haralson’s award would make Mrs. Hamm one of the richest women in the United States.

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Charlotte Divorce Attorney Matthew R. 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?”


Battles between advocates for same-sex marriage and defenders of traditional marriage have been dominating headlines for years. As other-than-traditional forms of marriage gain acceptance and recognition, less-than-traditional modes of splitting up are gaining traction as well.

Beach Walk Charlotte Mecklenburg Divorce Lawyer North Carolina Family Law AttorneyActress Gwyneth Paltrow and rock ‘n’ roll singer Chris Martin popularized the term “conscious uncoupling” when the pair split up earlier this year. While the pair appear to remain married by legal standards, they are living apart and dating other people, though they continue to cooperate on raising their children and, presumably, on matters related to property they share.

That is about how Clark and Valerie Tate are approaching their conscious uncoupling. They have not divorced, and they still live together in the same house, albeit in separate bedrooms. They maintain joint assets—or marital property—but they are each allowed to date other people.

When the sparks of intimacy began to fade in their marriage, the Tates knew they did not want to upset the structure of their family unit, which then as now revolved around their son. Clark Tate, who had been married twice before marrying Valerie, said he was familiar with the divorce process and did not want to go down that road again.

So, Valerie said, the couple began talking about the idea of dating other people. Clark said he was shocked by the idea initially, but over time he grew interested in the prospect of an amicable split.

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Charlotte Divorce Attorney Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question ” I’m considering separating from my spouse; what actions should I refrain from doing?”


Best-selling author Honoree Corder had what she described as “the great pleasure” of interviewing a slew of divorce attorneys for her new book, If Divorce is a Game, These are the Rules. On Friday, she posted an article on the Huffington Post titled “3 Things Your Divorce Lawyer Isn’t Telling You.”

Overwhelmed Charlotte Mecklenburg Divorce Lawyer North Carolina Child Custody AttorneyIf you, the client, will just focus on these three things, Ms. Corder writes, you and everyone involved in your divorce “will have a more positive and effortless divorce experience.” Failing to undertake these actions will, according to Ms. Corder, make life—and your divorce—tough.

Ms. Corder encourages people contemplating or going through a divorce to prioritize paying their divorce attorney the same way they prioritize paying other bills in their lives. Attorneys with whom Ms. Corder spoke said they feel like some clients—often high-maintenance clients who question and challenge nearly everything—fail to pay their legal bills in a timely manner because they compartmentalize their lives.

On the one hand, people live their “real lives” where they have to keep up with real-life bills or else suffer consequences such as having their power or water cut off or being removed from their homes. On the other hand, people live their “divorce life,” a life in which they act irrationally, “demand unreasonable outcomes,” fail to pay their bills and yet expect their attorneys to keep moving their case along.

As Ms. Corder puts it, nice clients who pay their bills have a much easier time in the divorce process.

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Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What can I do to gain custody of my child in North Carolina?”


Being a lawyer is a bit like being a parent, and that is not because a lawyer’s clients act like children. Some do, I am told, but some lawyers act like children too. When they do, I recall the sage advice given to me by an old attorney for whom I worked early on in my career.

Family Law Charlotte Divorce Lawyer Mecklenburg Child Custody AttorneyHe said: It’s not about you.

This simple piece of advice has saved me a lot of heartache over the years, and it is advice that I believe my clients and any parents can take to heart. Parents, like lawyers, advocate on behalf of a third party. In the case of parenting, the advocacy springs from a selfless kind of love parents naturally express for their offspring. In the case of lawyers, this advocacy is professional.

Parents involved in custody disputes—and the lawyers who represent them—often become involved in heated entanglements. These entanglements may spring from matters that arose before a legal case began, or they may spring from the legal actions one or more party has taken in a pending legal matter. In any case, I have learned that the best results are often obtained when parties to a lawsuit lower the temperature, take a step back, and consider the interests and positions of others.

This is the same advice Los Angeles-based family psychotherapist Katie Hurley has for divorced parents who share custody of children. The secret to successful post-divorce co-parenting, says Hurley, is becoming child-centered.

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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?”


An Australian woman has found love with a man who anonymously donated sperm that the woman used to conceive her young daughter.

Happy Family Charlotte Divorce Attorney Mecklenburg Family LawyerThe woman lost two infant boys to the same rare genetic disorder but found that her third attempt at parenthood was charmed. The woman—42-year-old Aminah Hart—told the Daily Mail that she felt time running out on her chances at motherhood.

Those chances were further diminished by the one-in-four chance that her third child would be afflicted with x-linked myotubular myopathy, a condition that affects muscles used for movement and which almost always afflicts boys.

Hart’s first son, Marlon, died aged four months in 2010 of the disorder. A second son, Louis, survived to just 14 months. Doctors were not able to diagnose the rare genetic condition until after Louis’ death. Hart’s marriage to Marlon’s father ended after the infant’s death, as did her relationship with Louis’ father.

So the third time around, Ms. Hart decided to use an anonymous sperm donor to conceive. She said she was given three cards listing vital statistics of donors. These profiles included the donors’ age, body build, hair color, interests and professional occupations. They did not include a photo.

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


Stay-at-home moms are facing a tougher road in divorce courts, as judges and state legislatures move to limit the both the amount of support payments and the period of time during which payments can be doled out.

Alimony Movie Poster Mecklenburg Divorce Lawyer North Carolina Child Custody AttorneyNew York City divorce attorney Morghan Richardson said judges are beginning to view women as having the same opportunities to earn a living as men. This thinking applies to stay-at-home moms—even those who may not have worked in a decade or two.

Just three-percent of persons receiving alimony in 2010 were men. While women made up the vast majority of those receiving alimony, they also outstripped men in many college and professional degrees, in some careers and, in some instances, in compensation.

With three-fourths of women now in the workforce and almost half of families led by a woman wage-earner, more and more attorneys and litigants are seeing homemakers seeking alimony admonished by judges who believe their decision not to seek employment was foolhardy.

Richardson said some stay-at-home moms “sometimes have a real sense of entitlement about the decision to stay home.” She said divorce judges, however, have little sympathy for women who quit their jobs to stay at home and raise a family. Some of those judges, Richardson said, are women who had to put their own children in daycare to work their way up to the bench.

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Charlotte Divorce Attorney Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What does uncontested divorce mean?”

Sugar Daddy Charlotte Mecklenburg Family Law Attorney North Carolina Divorce Lawyer

As same-sex couples in the Tar Heel State and elsewhere fight in courts and legislatures for the right to marry, other people have been seeking “mutually beneficial” relationships short of marriage.

According to the chief executive officer of one Charlotte company that links older men looking for “love” with young women looking for money, the “sugar daddy” business is booming.

Brandon Wade, founder of, told WBTV that a “sugar daddy” is a man who is both successful and generous and who is willing to foot the bill for a high-class lifestyle for a young, attractive person, in exchange for that person’s friendship or companionship. Data gathered by SeekingArrangement shows that about one per every 250 Charlotte men is a sugar daddy.

Old is, as the saying goes, in the eye of the beholder, and the average sugar daddy may not be as old as some suspect.  Wade said the average North American sugar daddy is about 44-years-old and has a net worth of just under $8 million. On average, sugar daddies spend about $4,000 per month on their sugar babies.

Charlotte-area sugar daddies make around $250,000 per year and are worth some $4.1 million, on average. They spend just over $3,000 per month on their sugar babies.

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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?”


A memo has been sent by North Carolina’s Administrative Office of the Courts to all magistrates, judges and court clerks in the Tar Heel State warning that if they refuse to officiate same-sex weddings, they may be suspended, removed from office, and may face criminal charges.

Marriage Arrest Charlotte Divorce Lawyer North Carolina Same-sex AttorneyAccording to the memo, refusing to perform same-sex weddings is a willful violation of a magistrate’s duty to uphold the Constitution of the United States.

At least three magistrates in North Carolina have refused to officiate same-sex weddings. On Monday, a magistrate in Elizabeth City refused to perform a marriage ceremony for a male couple. Another magistrate married the couple Tuesday, and according to the Daily Advance, the now-married men do not plan to file a formal complaint against the magistrate who refused them service.

A magistrate in Rockingham County quit his job because he said performing same-sex wedding ceremonies would violate his religious beliefs, according to the Raleigh News & Observer. The Times News reported that an Alamance County magistrate refused to perform same-sex marriages and expected to be out of a job because of the refusal.

The memo from the Administrative Office of the Courts warns that magistrates who “willfully omit, neglect or refuse to discharge any of” their duties “shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.”

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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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