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Charlotte Divorce Attorney Matthew R. 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?”

 

A Seattle law firm has analyzed divorce statistics to help couples determine whether their marriages are likely to end in divorce.

Couple sitting Charlotte Family Lawyer Uptown Divorce LawyerThe law firm, McKinley Irvin, created a graphic that guides couples (or concerned halves of couples) through “trends Around Divorce in America” and “highlights some surprising findings,” according to Refinery29.com. The graphic can be viewed here.

The graphic by McKinley Irvin cites a study chronicled in the New York Times last year that debunked the long-held notion that half of American marriages end in divorce. McKinley Irvin also cited the New York Times piece to argue that the divorce rate is actually falling, not rising as has long been reported.

Author and researcher Shaunti Feldhahn published a book last year contending that most American marriages are happy and that the divorce rate is only between 20 and 25 percent. Feldhahn said the fifty-percent statistic was based on projections made nearly five decades ago that assumed a rate of increase would ensue, when in fact the divorce rate did not rise as expected.

Citing the New York Times piece, McKinley Irvin thinks the divorce rate is closer to about one-third of marriages. While not as dramatic as the now-debunked fifty-percent figure, a third of marriages ending in divorce still means a lot of broken hearts, a lot of divorces and custody battles, and sadly plenty of business for law firms like McKinley Irvin.

Some of the statistics highlighted in McKinley Irvin’s graphic reinforce conventional wisdom—couples are a third more likely to get divorced if they live together before marriage and most children of divorced parents see divorce as a solution to their own marital problems.

On average, the law firm estimated, divorces cost couples from $15,000 to $20,000. The latter figure is interesting; McKinley Irvin found that couples who spend $20,000 or more on their wedding are more likely to get divorced than couples who spend more modestly on weddings. Large gaps in age, long work commutes, and the absence of college degrees also increase the odds of divorce.

The average length of a marriage that ends in divorce, McKinley Irvin posited, is eight years. Partners who have been married before are more likely to divorce; the more times an individual has been married, the more likely he or she is to divorce again. On average, the firm estimated, individuals spend about two years thinking about seeking a divorce before taking action.

The firm’s graphic also covers life after divorce. About half of women who divorce remarry within five years. The adverse effects of divorce on children are highlighted. Two-thirds of divorced mothers receive no child support, and children of divorced parents are twice as likely to drop out of high school.

Of course, the firm encourages anyone considering divorce to seek the assistance of an experienced family-law attorney.

If you find yourself facing a complicated family law matter, it is best to consult with an experienced family-law attorney in Charlotte, North Carolina who can help guide you through the often confusing process of divorce. Please contact the experienced family-law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC today at (855) 370-2828 or find additional resources here.

 

 

About the Author

ARNOLD & SMITH LAWMatthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

A board-certified specialist in the practice of Family Law, Mr. Arnold is admitted to practice in all state courts in North Carolina, in the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, and in the Fourth Circuit United States Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.

 

 

Sources:

http://www.refinery29.com/2015/04/86104/divorce-rate-reason-statistics

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/02/upshot/the-divorce-surge-is-over-but-the-myth-lives-on.html?smid=tw-share&abt=0002&abg=0&_r=2

http://www.charlottedivorcelawyerblog.com/2014/08/marriages-happy-divorce-rate-closer-2o-percent-says-author.html

 

 

Image Credit

“Couple @ Kasai Rinkai Park” by Masahiro Hayata from Tokyo, Japan – SeasideUploaded by shoulder-synth. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Couple_@_Kasai_Rinkai_Park.jpg#/media/File:Couple_@_Kasai_Rinkai_Park.jpg

 

 

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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?”

 

A Louisiana man, Anthony Lowery, has brought suit against Divorce Source, Inc. seeking return of $299 he paid the company for preparation of a divorce petition.

Just Divorced Car Charlotte Divorce Lawyer Mecklenburg County Family AttorneyIf the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana certifies Lowery’s suit as a class action, Divorce Source’s potential liability could run well into the tens of millions.

Divorce Source prepares legal documents for customers through its website www.3stepdivorce.com. The Pennsylvania-based company markets itself as a low-cost divorce option for “people who wish to end their marriage on mutually agreeable terms by filing their own divorce.”

According to its website, Divorce Source has “reached over 9.5 million people via the internet over the past 18 years.” Lowery alleges that Divorce Source “holds itself out to the general public as a money-saving alternative to lawyers.”

In his suit, Lowery seeks recovery of all his legal fees as well as the legal fees of other similarly situated persons who paid Divorce Source money in exchange for the preparation of legal documents. Lowery contends that Divorce Source is obligated to repay its clients because it was unlawful for Divorce Source to charge or collect fees for preparing legal documents.

Lowery sought a petition of divorce from Divorce Source in August 2014. He provided answers to online questions and, based on the information he provided, Divorce Source prepared legal documents including a petition for divorce. Lowery paid the company $299.

Lowery seeks certification of his suit as a class action and alleges that the class of plaintiffs exceeds 100 individuals, including residents of the states of Alabama, Florida, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, South Dakota and Tennessee—all of whom purchased documents from Divorce Source. All of those states, Lowery contends, have laws that make Divorce Source’s activities illegal.

 

Shifting balance of power in UPL cases

A number of high-profile unauthorized practice cases have altered the balance of power in “the grey and fuzzy space between the unauthorized practice of law and consumer-centered legal-services innovation,” according to Tamara Tabo, writing at AboveTheLaw.com.

A decision by the United States Supreme Court earlier this year vindicated non-dentist teeth whiteners, many of whom set up kiosks in malls across North Carolina. The North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners tried to shut the kiosks down. The Federal Trade Commission sued the Board, claiming it was helping dentists enforce an illegal monopoly that harmed consumers. Ultimately the Supreme Court decided that the Board could not prohibit the provision of teeth-whitening services by non-dentists.

North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v. Federal Trade Commission involved dentists and teeth whitening, but the California-based company Legal Zoom—an online provider of legal documents—saw the high court’s decision as a victory in its own long-standing battle with the State Bar of North Carolina. Legal Zoom sued the Bar in 2011 after the Bar ordered it to cease and desist from engaging in the unauthorized practice of law in the state.

The day after the high court’s decision in Dental Examiners, Legal Zoom issued a press release claiming that the “Court’s ruling recognizes that the common practice of letting professionals, like lawyers and dentists, enforce their own monopolies” creates a danger that those professionals will act to further their own interests, as opposed to the interests of consumers and the public at large.

If the Dental Examiners case represents a sunset of state regulatory actions to shut down unauthorized professional practice in “the grey and fuzzy space,” Lowery’s action may represent a new front in the battle: private class-action lawsuits brought by consumers (represented by lawyers, of course) against companies seeking damages for engaging in unauthorized practice.

If you find yourself facing a complicated family law matter, it is best to consult with an experienced family-law attorney in Charlotte, North Carolina who can help guide you through the often confusing process of divorce. Please contact the experienced family-law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC today at (855) 370-2828 or find additional resources here.

 

 

About the Author

ARNOLD & SMITH LAW Matthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

A board-certified specialist in the practice of Family Law, Mr. Arnold is admitted to practice in all state courts in North Carolina, in the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, and in the Fourth Circuit United States Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.

 

 

Sources:

http://legalnewsline.com/issues/class-action/255747-divorce-source-facing-class-action-filed-by-former-customer

https://ecf.laed.uscourts.gov/doc1/08517660815

http://www.3stepdivorce.com/laws/northcarolina.shtml

http://globenewswire.com/news-release/2015/02/26/710430/10122290/en/Supreme-Court-Sides-With-LegalZoom-in-North-Carolina-Dental-Board-Antitrust-Decision.html

http://abovethelaw.com/2015/03/what-lawyers-must-learn-from-dentists-about-the-unauthorized-practice-of-law/

http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/13-534_19m2.pdf

https://www.ncbar.com/PDFs/Council_report.pdf

 

 

Image Credit

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Just_divorced.jpg

 

 

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Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “How long does getting a divorce take?”

 

“I’ll sue you!”

Facebook still Charlotte Divorce Lawyer North Carolina Family Law AttorneyHow many times have you heard that? Not often, I hope, but what if the person who wants to sue you follows through?

You might be paid a visit by a deputy who works for the sheriff of your county. You might receive a package of legal documents via certified mail, return receipt requested. Or, if you do not reside in North Carolina, you might be paid a visit by a person whose business is to make sure you are provided a copy of whatever that person has been hired to serve upon you. That person is called a “Process Server.”

The word “serve” is operative. When someone sues you, you are entitled to “Service” and “Process.” The term “Process” generally refers to the legal documents that commence a lawsuit—the Summons and the Complaint. “Service” means providing you, the Defendant, with a copy of the Summons and Complaint. The Complaint lays out the facts and law underlying the claimant’s lawsuit; the Summons tells you where to go (and by when) to defend yourself.

In North Carolina, service can be accomplished only by the sheriff, by certified mail, or (questionably, depending on the facts) by delivery receipt. If a person cannot be located, a claimant can run an advertisement in a local newspaper near the person’s last-known address describing the lawsuit and summoning the person to court. This is called “Service by Publication.”

“Service by Publication” must be accomplished in the manner described in North Carolina’s general statutes. North Carolina’s laws regarding service by publication follow closely a process recently sanctioned by a New York Judge, albeit with a new twist.

The judge allowed a party to a divorce to serve the Summons and Complaint via the social media site Facebook. In his ruling, the judge ordered the claimant to send the papers through Facebook “every week for a minimum of three weeks” to the Defendant. The judge also required the claimant to attempt to serve the defendant in person before serving via Facebook.

Of course, it was only a matter of time before Facebook caught up with the law… or maybe it was the other way around. In any case, at least before one judge in New York, a claimant can try to catch up with a Defendant who is evading service via Facebook.

Hiding from or evading service is a problem. Some defendants cannot be found or they take steps to make sure they are not found. Given that recurring problem, it is only a matter of time before an enterprising claimant here in the Tar Heel State endeavors to serve an absconding (but yet social-media active) Defendant via Facebook.

It will be interesting to see how that plays out.

If you find yourself facing a complicated family law matter, it is best to consult with an experienced family-law attorney in Charlotte, North Carolina who can help guide you through the often confusing process of divorce. Please contact the experienced family-law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC today at (855) 370-2828 or find additional resources here.

 

 

About the Author

ARNOLD & SMITH LAWMatthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

A board-certified specialist in the practice of Family Law, Mr. Arnold is admitted to practice in all state courts in North Carolina, in the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, and in the Fourth Circuit United States Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.

 

 

Sources:

http://wotv4women.com/2015/04/21/divorce-papers-served-over-facebook-what-this-means-for-michigan/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2014/09/19/n-y-court-authorizes-service-of-legal-documents-via-facebook-when-the-physical-address-of-the-recipient-is-unknown/

 

 

Image Credit

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Serviceman_Using_Facebook_MOD_45152905.jpg

 

 

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https://www.youtube.com/user/ArnoldSmithPLLC/videos

 

 

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Charlotte Divorce Attorney Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question ” Are overtime, bonuses, and commissions included in calculating child support?”

 

Contested divorces, in and of themselves, can be taxing on the hearts of spouses, but nothing seems to tax the minds of parties to a divorce action more than analyzing the potential tax implications of a divorce property settlement.

Bar Chart Mecklenburg Family Law Lawyer North Carolina Divorce AttorneyUnderstanding the tax consequences of property transfers in a divorce case is essential to protecting the rights of the parties to the divorce. One area of confusion is the tax treatment of stock options awarded to a spouse as a part of a property settlement or decree.

A husband or wife may have been given a stock option as a part of a compensation package provided by an employer. If the stock option was given to the husband by his employer, but the wife is awarded the stock option in equitable distribution, does the wife have to pay taxes on the transfer?

To understand exactly how much money is at stake, it is first necessary to understand what stock options are and why they are valuable. Stocks are documents that prove a stockholder owns some interest in a company. A stockholder purchases shares from a company; if the company’s value increases, the stockholder can sell his or her share and realize a gain. The gain is taxed. Figuring the amount of this taxable gain can be complicated, and it is important to consult with an experienced divorce attorney or tax professional when assessing tax liabilities in the context of a divorce property settlement.

Back to the hypothetical couple: husband was given a stock option but has not exercised it. A judge awards the wife the stock option in the divorce property settlement. Is this award a “transfer” for tax purposes that renders the wife liable for payment of a tax?

The short answer is No. According to Market Watch, the Internal Revenue Service treats transfers of stock options as a part of a divorce property settlement as gifts between spouses. That means that the transferee—the spouse who is awarded the stock option as a part of a divorce property settlement—does not have to pay income taxes on the award and also does not have to pay a gift tax. Instead, the transferee-spouse “stands in the shoes” of the spouse who was given the stock option by his or her employer for tax purposes, and the tax basis of the spouse given the stock option is carried forward to the point at which the transferee spouse sells or liquidates the asset. The carrying forward of this basis can result in significant tax savings for the transferee-spouse.

One important exception to this general treatment of stock options in divorce property settlement awards applies where the spouse who is awarded the stock option is not a citizen of the United States. An award of a stock option to a nonresident alien spouse is considered a taxable transaction, and the transferee-spouse must pay taxes on the stock-option award if a gain is realized.

If you find yourself facing a complicated family law matter, it is best to consult with an experienced family-law attorney in Charlotte, North Carolina who can help guide you through the often confusing process of divorce. Please contact the experienced family-law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC today at (855) 370-2828 or find additional resources here.

 

 

About the Author

ARNOLD & SMITH LAWMatthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

A board-certified specialist in the practice of Family Law, Mr. Arnold is admitted to practice in all state courts in North Carolina, in the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, and in the Fourth Circuit United States Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.

 

 

Sources:

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/after-divorce-what-happens-to-your-employer-stock-options-2015-04-21?page=2

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jefflanders/2014/03/19/dividing-stock-options-and-restricted-stock-in-divorce/

http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc409.html

http://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/05/costbasis.asp

 

 

Image Credit

“Forex 01” by Allan Ajifo – https://www.flickr.com/photos/125992663@N02/14597682251/. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Forex_01.png#/media/File:Forex_01.png

 

 

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

 

How many couples have stuck it out through the years for their children’s sake?

Olive Branch Charlotte Child Custody Lawyer Mecklenburg Divorce AttorneyMillions, according to a 2012 study commissioned by the bereavement support web site HealBee.

An astonishing ten-percent of couples told researchers they felt compelled to keep their marriage going because they feared the harm a divorce would cause to their children. Even more troubling, researchers added, was that 72-percent of couples who kept it going for their kids’ sake considered themselves separated even though they acted like a couple in front of their children.

Writing for the Huffington Post, divorce expert Brette Semper says parents who think they are selflessly preserving their marriage for their children’s sake may be doing more harm than good.

Semper acknowledges that numerous studies have concluded that divorces have deleterious effects on children’s lives in general, but Semper says divorce can be a better option if the alternative is “a violent, abusive, angry or deeply resentful marriage.”

In a post-divorce life, Semper writes, children may have to live in two homes, literally, but the physical separation of parents who do not get along anymore means that children can “just be kids without having to work around the complex negative emotions present in a conflict-filled home.”

In general, Semper concludes, happier adults—happier parents—means happier kids, and happy people living apart “is certainly a better outcome than living unhappily for years in a difficult marriage.”

Semper also focuses on the lessons children can learn from parents who are willing to face the music, in the open, instead of hiding their disputes behind the placid public façade of a marriage.

Children may learn, for instance, that personal happiness is a worthwhile goal. Sure, human relationships necessarily involve sacrifice, but when a relationship—even a relationship with a spouse—becomes abusive or exploitative, it is important that a proper example is set and that children understand that sometimes the best thing to be done with a relationship is to end it.

The end is always a beginning, it might be said, and not all marriages end because of abuse, exploitation or other like issues. Sometimes marriages end on, seemingly, much less—on boredom, on infidelity, on simply not seeing things the same way anymore. Parties to divorces that follow these disagreements may still get along, they might even get along nicely now that they do not have to hold up the sham of a marriage.

Seeing parents work out their differences through a divorce and parenting agreement can show children the importance of learning to compromise.

If you find yourself facing a complicated family law matter, it is best to consult with an experienced family-law attorney in Charlotte, North Carolina who can help guide you through the often confusing process of divorce. Please contact the experienced family-law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC today at (855) 370-2828 or find additional resources here.

 

 

About the Author

ARNOLD & SMITH LAW Matthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

A board-certified specialist in the practice of Family Law, Mr. Arnold is admitted to practice in all state courts in North Carolina, in the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, and in the Fourth Circuit United States Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.

 

 

Sources:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brette-sember/why-a-good-divorce-is-better-than-a-bad-marriage-for-kids_b_6925236.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2201539/Doing-kids-One-10-married-couples-stay-children-plan-split-grown-up.html

 

 

Image Credit

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Olive_branch.svg

 

 

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https://www.youtube.com/user/ArnoldSmithPLLC/videos

 

 

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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?”

 

Catherine Ann Boyd did not set out to make history when she married her partner in a civil ceremony in San Francisco in 2004.

Hand holding Charlotte Divorce Lawyer North Carolina Mecklenburg Family Law AttorneyOn April 1, however, Boyd was granted what may be the Commonwealth of Virginia’s first same-sex divorce, according to the Virginia Beach, Virginia-based Virginian-Pilot.

Boyd told the Virginian-Pilot that she and her spouse were not excited about getting divorced, but she is pleased that same-sex couples are now able to enjoy both the benefits and liabilities that go along with marriage equality, or what Boyd calls “the good and the bad and what comes with it.”

Boyd’s attorney, Jessica Dixon, was unsure whether another same-sex divorce had been granted in the Commonwealth, and could find no record of a same-sex divorce in preparing for the hearing in Boyd’s case. Dixon was not even sure the Norfolk, Virginia-based judge involved in her client’s case would recognize the validity of Boyd’s marriage, much less grant a divorce.

Virginia law prohibits marriages between persons of the same sex. Last summer, however, the United States Supreme Court let stand a lower federal appellate court ruling that declared similar state laws and state constitutional amendments unconstitutional. In essence, since state laws and state constitutional amendments violate the federal Constitution, they cannot be enforced. The Supreme Court is expected to address the issue of same-sex marriage head-on in a ruling expected later this summer.

When Boyd and her now ex-spouse married in California in 2004, the Golden State sanctioned civil unions—an equivalent of marriage for same-sex couples long recognized in some jurisdictions.

Virginia’s registrar, Janet Rainey, told the Virginian-Pilot that she searched and could find no other same-sex divorces, but she also said her office had no way of tracking them. She said the state was changing marriage certificates to provide only the word “spouse” with a line added to provide the gender of parties to a divorce. The office will also begin tracking same-sex marriage and divorce statistics, but the tracking mechanisms will take time to implement.

Dixon told the Virginian-Pilot that one of the biggest hurdles she had to overcome in the divorce hearing was changing some of the wording on divorce forms used in cases. The forms listed “husband” and “wife.” Dixon crossed out those words in the Boyd complaint and wrote, instead “spouse.”

A northern-Virginia based attorney said that parties to same-sex marriages who happen to live in states that do not recognize same-sex marriage could be caught in legal limbo. In general, a party seeking a divorce must be a resident of the state from which one seeks a divorce. Until last summer, same-sex marriage in Virginia was illegal, and even now same-sex couples face an uncertain result in state courts.

Now that the Commonwealth has been compelled, in effect, to recognize same-sex marriage, it has also sanctioned—at least in Boyd’s case—same-sex divorce.

If you find yourself facing a complicated family law matter, it is best to consult with an experienced family-law attorney in Charlotte, North Carolina who can help guide you through the often confusing process of divorce. Please contact the experienced family-law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC today at (855) 370-2828 or find additional resources here.

 

 

About the Author

ARNOLD & SMITH LAWMatthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

A board-certified specialist in the practice of Family Law, Mr. Arnold is admitted to practice in all state courts in North Carolina, in the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, and in the Fourth Circuit United States Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.

 

 

Sources:

http://hamptonroads.com/2015/04/divorced-gay-couple-equality-brings-good-bad

https://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+20-45.2

http://www.statesymbolsusa.org/symbol/virginia/state-nickname-state-quarter/old-dominion

 

 

Image Credit

“Motor City Pride 2011 – participants – 055” by File made available by Equality Michigan through the LGBT Free Media Collective English | +/− – File made available by Equality Michigan through the LGBT Free Media Collective English | +/−. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Motor_City_Pride_2011_-_participants_-_055.jpg#/media/File:Motor_City_Pride_2011_-_participants_-_055.jpg

 

 

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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 State of Massachusetts is considering a change to its custody laws that would end “an imbalance in the courts that favors mothers over fathers,” according to the Salem News.

Father with Child Charlotte Divorce Lawyer North Carolina Child Custody AttorneyThe legislation is being pushed by the Boston-based National Parents Organization and would require judges in most custody cases to consider joint-custody arrangements. Backers of the bill say the societal norms and traditional roles of men and women in child-rearing have changed, and it is time for custody laws to catch up.

North Carolina’s custody laws eliminated the so-called maternal presumption in 1975. A number of other states followed the Old North State’s lead in the ensuing years, but census statistics show—at least in practice—that mothers are awarded sole physical custody of children far more often in contested divorce cases.

Figures from the 2010 census show that eighty-percent of “custodial parents” are women. Ned Holstein, the founder of the National Parents Organization, told the Salem News the figure may be the result of the manner in which courts have traditionally viewed fathers and their roles in children’s lives. Aside from child-support, alimony and weekend visits, courts have often required little of men in divorces.

Many divorced fathers would like to play a more active role in their children’s lives and think a maternal preference—whether formal or informal—is unfair. Furthermore, Holstein explained, weighting one side of the scale with a preference “encourages bitter custody battles.” Instead of beginning with the presumption that custody will be shared, the presumption is that one side’s right to custody is superior, and the battle ends up being over who “gets sole custody of the kids [and] a boatload of child support and alimony payments.”

Critics of the proposed change say “custody laws must be flexible and always put the interests of children first,” the Salem News reports. They say the focus should be on the best interests of the child, not on the leverage dynamics between parents in contested custody cases.

Massachusetts is not the only state considering a change in its custody laws. The Salem News reports that as many as seventeen states are considering proposals that would mandate consideration of joint custody in most cases or which would change the guidelines for judges considering joint-custody arrangements.

North Carolina’s custody laws are premised upon “the interest and welfare of the child” and explicitly bar any presumption in favor of one parent. “Between the mother and father,” the law provides, “no presumption shall apply as to who will better promote the interest and welfare of the child.”

If you find yourself facing a complicated family law matter, it is best to consult with an experienced family-law attorney in Charlotte, North Carolina who can help guide you through the often confusing process of divorce. Please contact the experienced family-law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC today at (855) 370-2828 or find additional resources here.

 

 

About the Author

ARNOLD & SMITH LAW Matthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

A board-certified specialist in the practice of Family Law, Mr. Arnold is admitted to practice in all state courts in North Carolina, in the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, and in the Fourth Circuit United States Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.

 

 

Sources:

http://www.salemnews.com/opinion/our-view-child-custody-bill-requires-thoughtful-consideration/article_bac7778b-a6d8-5f6a-8ceb-b536870cd937.html

http://www.masslegalservices.org/system/files/library/JtCiustodySummary%20Memo-5.pdf

http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/BySection/Chapter_50/GS_50-13.2.html

 

 

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http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Father_with_child.jpg

 

 

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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?”

 

Custody battles between parents in a litigated divorce case can turn into ugly proxy wars in which, sadly, children serve unwillingly on the front lines. The battles, which often have little to do with the children themselves, are instead often “about control and winning and lashing out” when one parent feels hurt by the words or actions of another.

Fashion Dog Charlotte Divorce Lawyer Child Custody North Carolina AttorneyIt is easy for any conscientious person to understand how a divorce can negatively affect the life and well-being of one’s children.

What about pets?

Alisa Peskin-Shepherd, a family-law attorney and mediator in Birmingham, Michigan, says that family pets can be used by vindictive divorce litigants as proxies in the same manner as children. When a person going through a divorce feels the loss of the love that once served as the foundation for one’s marriage, “holding on to a pet can be reassurance that someone in the world loves [one] unconditionally.”

Peskin-Shepherd writes of an occasion on which a client’s wife presented her with a box of dog excrement. The dog meant a lot to the woman, and even though she had been awarded custody of the dog, the anxiety of the divorce proceedings had allegedly caused it to defecate on the woman’s floor. The woman presented the gift box to Peskin-Shepherd, presumably, as thanks for causing the mess.

That gets to a larger point about pets. Divorce is hard on them too, Peskin-Shepherd writes, because they pick up on the negative feelings generated in a divorce case, causing them to sleep more, eat less, have accidents in the house and exhibit other signs of lethargy or distress.

Custody of a pet is a bit of a misnomer, Peskin-Shepherd adds, since they are considered property, as opposed to “beings deserving of shared parenting time.” Many divorce clients consider pets to be every bit as much a part of their family as children, and many times—Peskin-Shepherd writes—after hashing out the costly and complex issues in a litigated divorce case a client will ask her: “What about my dog?”

Judges in Michigan do not like to rule on pets in divorce cases, Peskin-Shepherd says. That observation comes out of the 30 years she has spent handling divorce cases in the state. With the other serious issues at play in litigated divorce matters, custody of pets is simply an issue over which most courts are not going to help.

Peskin-Shepherd has her own advice about pets in a divorce: “The best approach is to keep the dog with the kids.” Wherever the kids go, depending on the custody arrangement worked out by parents or a court, the pet follows.

If a couple has no children, she says, the best course is to attempt to reach an amicable agreement regarding custody.

If you find yourself facing a complicated family law matter, it is best to consult with an experienced family-law attorney in Charlotte, North Carolina who can help guide you through the often confusing process of divorce. Please contact the experienced family-law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC today at (855) 370-2828 or find additional resources here.

 

 

About the Author

ARNOLD & SMITH LAWMatthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

A board-certified specialist in the practice of Family Law, Mr. Arnold is admitted to practice in all state courts in North Carolina, in the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, and in the Fourth Circuit United States Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.

 

 

Sources:

http://www.macombdaily.com/opinion/20150326/family-law-courts-dont-decide-custody-for-our-furry-friends

 

 

Image Credit

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/12/Canis_lupus_familiaris_disguised.jpg

 

 

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Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “Can you guarantee I will get the resolution I want?”

 

Two Minnesota State legislators say the very idea of divorce implicates the court system, and that implication leads to another, critical assumption: that parties to a divorce case are adversaries.

Small Meeting Charlotte Divorce Lawyer North Carolina Family Law AttorneyState Rep. John Lesch and state Sen. Sandy Pappas do not believe that all divorces—or even most—involve genuine adversaries. Instead, they allege, many “divorces settle out of court and people just file paperwork for court approval,” according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

If that is the case, the Legislators reason, why force parties into a court system in which they are assumed to be adversaries, and are therefore more likely to “respond with hostility in the very situation that calls for generosity of spirit?” Because divorces require a court order, the process of divorce is suffused with conflict, wrote William Doherty, a professor of social science at the University of Minnesota, in the Star-Tribune.

Doherty was joined by Hennepin County District Judge Bruce Peterson in an editorial supporting a bill recently introduced by Sens. Lesch and Pappas that would create “an administrative pathway that skips the court system” and which would enable—in the representatives’ eyes—a “cooperative private divorce.”

The process would work this way, according to the Star-Tribune: First, couples would submit an online form titled an “Intent to Divorce.” After a 90-day waiting period, couples would be required to submit another form, titled a “Declaration of Divorce.” This document would provide for property division, if any, and any agreements regarding child custody. After that, parties would be issued a “Certificate of Divorce.”

The process—Professor Doherty and Judge Peterson write in their editorial—would mean that couples could enjoy “complete privacy” and would not need a judge’s approval for their divorce. If issues in the divorce did become contested, they could “modify their agreements or scrap the private system and go to court any time they wanted.”

Professor Doherty and Judge Peterson do not believe couples divorcing without the assistance of lawyer-advocates “will screw it up.” They believe, instead, that “the private market will respond with supportive services that not only would reduce mistakes but may prevent some divorces.” They caution that the non-judicial, administrative divorce process could only “be used… by people who can work together in good faith.” Where that is not the case, they write, “Judges will retain authority to vacate private agreements obtained through misconduct.”

In the editorial, Professor Doherty and Judge Peterson suggest that Constitutional challenges to a cooperative, administrative divorce system would fail, writing that the Constitutional “discussion moves from what is the best course of action to a prediction about what a judge might do.”

Constitutional issues, if any, notwithstanding, one of the most dramatic—and undiscussed—changes an administrative divorce system would produce is the “complete privacy” that Professor Doherty and Judge Peterson envision. In most—perhaps all—states, since divorce actions are litigated in courts of law, records relating to those actions are generally open to the public.

The openness of our court system and the ready availability of court documents to the public implicates one of the hallmarks of our system of a transparent government operating by and for the people. Shifting actions out of court and providing “complete privacy” in actions heretofore open to the public may not—as Professor Doherty and Judge Peterson suggest—further “the tide of cultural evolution… toward empowerment and respect for individuals.”

In reality, secrecy may do the opposite.

If you find yourself facing a complicated family law matter, it is best to consult with an experienced family-law attorney in Charlotte, North Carolina who can help guide you through the often confusing process of divorce. Please contact the experienced family-law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC today at (855) 370-2828 or find additional resources here.

 

 

About the Author

ARNOLD & SMITH LAW Matthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

A board-certified specialist in the practice of Family Law, Mr. Arnold is admitted to practice in all state courts in North Carolina, in the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, and in the Fourth Circuit United States Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.

 

 

Sources:

http://www.startribune.com/opinion/commentaries/296649391.html

 

 

Image Credit

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:GLAM_Serbia_Table_4.JPG

 

 

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Charlotte Divorce Attorney Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question ” Is there some property that the judge cannot divide?”

 

The split between New York media executive Noah Szubski from the daughter of “Wild Wild West” star Robert Conrad is heating up, with Szubski and Chelsea Conrad waging a courtroom battle over Cash.

Doberman Charlotte Divorce Lawyer North Carolina Family Law AttorneyCold hard cash is not the issue, however, and the split is not quite a divorce, since Szubski and Conrad were not married. The issue between the couple is custody of Cash—their beloved Doberman Pinscher.

Szubski and Conrad broke off their romantic relationship last October, and Conrad moved into a separate apartment not far from Szubski’s townhouse. When she did, she left the 85-pound dog with Szubski, but he allowed Conrad to visit the dog, take it for walks and to care for it when he was out of town.

That all changed—or as Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Geoffrey Wright wrote, “The cordiality of the separation was sundered on Valentine’s Day 2015”—when Conrad showed up at Szubski’s pad to take Cash on a walk and found Szubski with three women.

Conrad took Cash on the walk but never brought the dog back. Apparently Conrad’s mother—Lavelda, then visiting from California—convinced Conrad to keep the dog.

Szubski brought an emergency legal action seeking return of the dog. In a court proceeding last week, Conrad testified that she had always intended for Cash to live with her full time, but she had acceded to Szubski’s desire to have the dog stay with him because she was fearful of his temper.

Justice Wright said he did not believe Conrad, according to the New York Daily News. He noted that Cash has lived the majority of his life with Szubski, that Szubski has paid all of the dog’s expenses, and that Szubski even bought a French Bulldog (named Bernie) to keep Cash company.

Szubski’s petition for emergency relief was granted, and Conrad was ordered to meet Szubski on West 22nd Street—near where both Szubski and Conrad live—to return the dog. Szubski was reunited with Cash last Friday.

The matter did not end there, however; a full hearing on the issue of permanent custody is set for April 3. Mia Poppe—Conrad’s lawyer—said Szubski’s case for custody of Cash is weak because Conrad never gave him the dog.

Furthermore, Poppe told the New York Daily News—while courts have decided custody issues of pets in divorce actions, there is no legal precedent for a court to decide “who is able to keep personal property—including animals” in a boyfriend-girlfriend breakup.

If you find yourself facing a complicated family law matter, it is best to consult with an experienced family-law attorney in Charlotte, North Carolina who can help guide you through the often confusing process of divorce. Please contact the experienced family-law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC today at (855) 370-2828 or find additional resources here.

 

 

About the Author

ARNOLD & SMITH LAW Matthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

A board-certified specialist in the practice of Family Law, Mr. Arnold is admitted to practice in all state courts in North Carolina, in the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, and in the Fourth Circuit United States Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.

 

 

Sources:

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/media-exec-temporary-custody-dog-heated-battle-article-1.2150977

 

 

Image Credit

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Proud_Doberman.JPG

 

 

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https://www.youtube.com/user/ArnoldSmithPLLC/videos

 

 

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