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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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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?”


Unlike the singer in Shalamar’s 1979 hit “Second time around,” Rick Salomon couldn’t make his second marriage to Pamela Anderson “so much better.” Instead, their second marriage appears destined for an ending lacking any Baywatch-esque saving heroics. Anderson filed for divorce from Salomon on July 3.

Pamela Anderson Charlotte Mecklenburg Divorce Lawyer North Carolina Family Law AttorneyAnderson and Salomon married the first time around in 2007 in Las Vegas during a 90-minute break between the magic shows Anderson was appearing in at the time. That marriage lasted just two months. Both Anderson and Salomon alleged the marriage had been tainted by fraud.

When an annulment is granted, a marriage is considered, for all intents and purposes, to have never happened. Many annulment cases involve a kind of partner bait-and-switch; one spouse learns the truth about exactly who the other is only after he or she has married. If lies were employed to induce the partner into marrying, those lies can serve as the basis for an annulment.

The reasons underlying the annulment of Anderson’s and Salomon’s first marriage were not made public, however Salomon was no stranger to annulments when he first married Anderson. Former Beverly Hills, 90210 star Shannon Doherty annulled her 2002 marriage to Salomon after just nine months. She married the alleged lothario after just two days of dating.

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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?”


If you are worried about the harm a divorce will do to your reputation and the reputation of your family, you are not alone. In fact, you may have something in common with royalty. Literally.

Married couple Charlotte Mecklenburg County Divorce Lawyer Family Law AttorneyNumerous media outlets are reporting on rumblings emanating from Buckingham Palace, home to Great Britain’s royal family. After a decades-long affair and nine years of marriage, Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla Parker Bowles, appear to be headed towards divorce.

Across the pond, more than half of American marriages end in divorce. Most married Americans don’t have a queen for a mother or mother-in-law and perhaps they should be thankful for that.  The Queen, according to reports, called Camilla a “complete disgrace” after Camilla allegedly threatened to spill Louie family secrets if the family didn’t agree to a $350 million divorce settlement.

Queen Elizabeth is said to dislike Camilla’s alleged propensity for drunkenness, and it is believed that her disappointment in Prince Charles and Camilla—whose title is Duchess of Cornwall—have led her to consider passing on the throne to Prince William—Charles’ eldest son—when her reign comes to an end. The Queen is said to be concerned about an issue that affects many married couples: family image.

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Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “Can I get the judge to order my spouse to pay my attorney’s fees in a property division case?”


A divorce litigant and her lawyers are learning the hard way that when a case is over, it’s over.

“I’ll get the best lawyer!” Wife Josephine faints after husband Napoleon tells her he is filing for divorce.

“I’ll get the best lawyer!” Wife Josephine faints after husband Napoleon tells her he is filing for divorce.

The litigant, Jamie McCourt, didn’t think the tax-free $131 million and bevy of luxury homes she received in her 2012 divorce settlement agreement with ex-husband Frank McCourt was enough. She asked a court to set aside the agreement, arguing that her ex-husband undervalued baseball team the Los Angeles Dodgers before selling it for over $2 billion to a consortium that included ex-NBA great Magic Johnson.

Jamie McCourt alleged she was entitled to another $770 million.

Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon rejected Mrs. McCourt’s claims. He wrote that Mrs. McCourt was a “sophisticated individual” who was assisted by a team of lawyers and accountants during her divorce. The language of the settlement agreement made it clear that the McCourts intended to end their divorce case and that the terms of the agreement “were carefully considered and negotiated.”

The agreement also provided that if either side contested the settlement agreement, the contesting party would have to pay the other side’s attorney’s fees. Judge Gordon cited that provision of the agreement in a ruling entered July 1. He ordered Mrs. McCourt to reimburse Mr. McCourt’s lawyers $1.9 million in legal fees. That’s how much Mr. McCourt spent fighting Mrs. McCourt’s challenge to the divorce settlement agreement.

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Attorney Matthew R. Arnold answering the question: “When do you get alimony?”


Real Housewife of Atlanta Kandi Burruss says that she learned a very valuable lesson about the importance of properly planning prior to marriage thanks to watching the dissolution of another reality TV star’s happy home. Burruss says that Real Housewives of New York star Bethenny Frankel’s acrimonious split from her ex Jason Hoppy sent a chilling message about the danger of not doing enough planning before getting hitched.


Wedding rings stacked Charlotte Mecklenburg Family Law Lawyer North Carolina Divorce AttorneySome have complained about recent episodes of the Atlanta show where Burruss and her fiancé are seen arguing about the provisions in a prenuptial agreement. Burruss has insisted that her fiancé sign the agreement prior to marriage and has taken a lot of flak from viewers who see this as a cold decision.


Burruss says that watching how nasty a divorce can be convinced her of the importance of having a clear prenuptial agreement. She says that should her marriage with her fiancé Todd Tucker fall apart, he would never want to endure the kind of lengthy and hostile fighting that Frankel has engaged in with her ex. By having a prenuptial agreement that clearly spells out what will happen in the event of a divorce, Burruss says much of the mess can be avoided.


One particular provision of the prenuptial agreement received the biggest criticism from viewers. That section concerned a clause that required her fiancé to vacate the marital home within 30 days of either party filing for divorce. Tucker was seen on the show criticizing what he felt like was overly harsh language, saying that he didn’t feel like he should be thrown out on the curb in the event of a split.

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Attorney Matthew R. Arnold answering the question: “What does a “No-Fault’ divorce mean in NC?”


The ex-wife of the former owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers has been ordered to repay her husband nearly $2 million in legal fees after unsuccessfully contesting her original divorce settlement. A Superior Court judge in LA issued the ruling earlier this month after McCourt failed to prove that she had been unfairly shortchanged.


Judge Gavel Charlotte Mecklenburg Divorce Lawyer North Carolina Family Law AttorneyJamie McCourt sued her husband, Frank McCourt, last year after he sold the Dodgers in 2012 for more than $2 billion. The sale occurred soon after his divorce with Jamie was finalized and his ex-wife felt like she had been duped out of hundreds of millions of dollars.


McCourt argued that her husband fully intended to sell the team at the time their 2010 divorce was finalized. Despite these plans, the husband kept the information to himself, something that she says led her and her legal team to agree to a settlement far less than what she believes she was entitled to.


McCourt ultimately received $131 million as part of the settlement, all of it tax-free. In addition to the cash, Jamie walked away with several luxury homes. Despite the seeming windfall, McCourt believes she should have been given nearly $1 billion, almost 10 times the size of her actual settlement.

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