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Articles Tagged with Adoption

Attorney Matthew R. Arnold answering the question: “Does adultery affect who gets custody?”


An internet dating company that exists to facilitate affairs claims that Huntersville, North Carolina is among the most unfaithful neighborhoods in the country. The news release came from AshelyMadison.com, which compared data from its nearly 21 million members.


Check box Charlotte Family Law Attorney North Carolina Divorce LawyerAccording to AshleyMadison, more than 65,000 of its millions of members come from the Charlotte metropolitan area. Out of this group, more than 9.1 percent are from Huntersville, representing a sizable share of the overall members relative to its share of the metro area’s population. Ballantyne makes up 8.9 percent of local members while uptown is home to 8.8 percent. These three areas are followed by Myers Park, Indian Trail, Dilworth and SouthPark.


According to the founder and CEO of AshleyMadison, income and education are among the most common attributes of areas that are big users of the service. The CEO says that cheating is typically easier for those with more discretionary income, which is why the majority of those cities at the top of his lists are affluent areas.

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

At least one North Carolina judge has had enough of so-called “heart balm” lawsuits. In a case from Forsyth County, Superior Court Judge John O. Craig wrote that North Carolina’s alienation-of-affections cause of action is unconstitutional because it infringes on people’s rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitutions.

Telephone poster Charlotte Divorce Lawyer North Carolina Family Law Attorney     Alienation-of-affections actions are brought by one spouse against the lover of another spouse. Because of the affair, the theory goes, the aggrieved spouse has been deprived of the affections associated with one’s marriage and can recover damages from the third-party paramour for that loss.

Recoveries in heart-balm cases can be significant. In 2011, a Wake County judge awarded a jilted spouse over $30 million in a heart-balm case. That followed a pair of multi-million-dollar awards in 2010 in cases in Pitt and Guilford Counties.

The alienation-of-affections ruling by Judge Craig is only the latest in a decades-long struggle by lawyers, legislators and judges in North Carolina to overturn what critics describe as an archaic cause of action.

The state Court of Appeals abolished the alienation-of-affections action and its lesser-known counterpart – criminal conversation – in 1984 in Cannon v. Miller. The ruling was overturned by the state Supreme Court in 1985. Since then, state legislators have offered a multitude of bills that would outlaw the actions, without success.

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Attorney Matthew R. Arnold answering the question: “Does adultery affect who gets custody?”


For a long time now people have assumed that courts are generally unfair to fathers during custody fights. This belief has held not only among men, but women too accept to a certain degree that family law courts prefer giving custody to mothers over fathers. Though there has been plenty of justification for this belief, new numbers reveal that over the past several decades this trend has changed, rather abruptly, and men are far more likely to get a fair shake today then they were several years back.


Male Female Signs Charlotte Family Law Lawyer North Carolina Divorce AttorneyExperts say that the family law world has undergone a somewhat quiet revolution with regard to men and their custody rights. Slowly, the percentage of men being awarded shared custody has increased from a scant number to a much more substantial share. This shift has as much to do with an increased desire among fathers to play a role in the lives of their children as it does a shift in the way that judges perceive men and women’s roles in raising kids and the importance of having both parties actively involved in parenting.


The trend towards more equitable custody decisions began in the 1970s when family law courts consciously decided to break away from the notion of the male as the financial breadwinner and the woman as a dependent caretaker. Instead, the courts adopted the radical notion that husbands and wives were interdependent, meaning they shared both financial and parenting responsibilities.

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


In a bizarre case out of Maryland, a family court judge was forced to tackle the somewhat embarrassing question of what to do when two parties engaged in some rather adult conversations by text. The issue was that the two adults in question were in the process of divorcing one another, and the court had to decide whether their “sexting” was a problem that could derail the divorce.


Texting phone Charlotte Divorce Lawyer North Carolina Adultery AttorneyThe issue arose because under Maryland law to secure a no fault divorce a couple must have voluntarily separated from one another for 12 months prior to the filing of the application for divorce. This separation must include the parties living separate and apart without “cohabitating,” a phrase that has been interpreted to prohibit sexual relations between the parties.


The trouble began when Mr. Bergaris filed for divorce from his wife, claiming no fault. Mrs. Bergaris was evidently not interested in divorce and opposed the motion by arguing that during the previous 12 months she and her husband had exchanged numerous sexually explicit telephone communications and text messages. Mrs. Bergaris claimed that these messages meant that the grounds for divorce were invalid and that the request for a divorce should be denied.

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Attorney Matthew R. Arnold answering the question: “Do I need an attorney to get a Divorce in North Carolina?”


In a tragic case out of New York, one man recently lost a case where he tried to continue a divorce against his former wife who had recently taken her own life. The judge dismissed the matter, saying that prior case law has made clear that once a person dies the divorce case must also come to an end.


Broken Clay Heart Charlotte Divorce Lawyer North Carolina Family Law AttorneyThe case began back in 2012 when naval reservist Aleida Bordas filed for divorce from her husband of 13 years, David Bordas. Aleida claimed that the marriage was irretrievably broken and that she wanted out of the relationship as a result. The case slowly made its way through the court system until April of last year, when Aleida took her own life.


The suicide took many by surprise and resulted in the winding down of her divorce case, that is, until David realized that Aleida had made some important financial changes just before her death. David argued that these changes were made contrary to the standing order in place in the case that prevented either party from altering the financial status quo. As a result, David asked a judge to keep the divorce case open and undo the changes his former wife had made.

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


Though there’s certainly no good time to file for divorce, a recent article discussed some examples of especially bad times to decide to split up. Things such as health insurance, business matters and even emotional concerns can all play a role in deciding when a person finally pulls the trigger and files for a North Carolina divorce. The following are some factors that are worth considering when deciding when to move forward with a divorce.


Calendar picture Charlotte Divorce Attorney North Carolina Child Custody LawyerHealth issues


Though it may not occur to everyone, issues involving health insurance can actually be an important consideration to those following for divorce. If you and your spouse are no longer willing to work at improving the marriage you may be ready to get it over with and file. However, if health issues are at play, you might be better off waiting until they’ve been resolved.
Experts say that if a spouse is in the midst of receiving treatment for a health condition and that person does not have his or her own insurance, it may be best to wait until they have either finished treatment or secured a health insurance policy of their own before divorcing. Though you certainly have no obligation to wait, realize that especially for middle-aged couples, securing a new health insurance policy can be an expensive undertaking. Even healthy middle-aged individuals can expect to pay as much as $1,000 a month for a health insurance policy, a financial burden that might cripple someone trying to cover the costs associated with a divorce. Giving the other party a chance to get on their feet might be better than moving forward quickly.

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Attorney Matthew R. Arnold answering the question: “Does adultery affect my divorce case?”


Everyone knows that the Internet has led to changes in our daily life. Besides the ease of access to information, it’s also allowed many people to more easily meet and talk with others. Though it can be great to make new connections in some cases, it can spell the end of a marriage in others.


Escape Key Charlotte DWI Attorney North Carolina DUI LawyerA good example of the latter happened recently when a French couple had their divorce finalized after the wife was found to have engaged in online flirtation with men she met on a Belgian dating website. The case surprised many because in France it marks the first time that online dating by itself amounted to sufficient grounds for divorce.


The case involved a 45-year-old mother of three, Nathalie, who cheated on her husband Bruno by flirting with men online. Though Nathalie was clearly caught engaging in online communication, she says that she never actually met any of the men in person, something that she felt meant that her actions could not rise to the level of infidelity.

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Attorney Matthew R. Arnold answering the question: “What does uncontested divorce mean?”


The debate over using margarine or butter has been a heated one for decades, with those on either side marshaling facts about cholesterol, trans fats and flavor to bolster their arguments. A new chart might suggest those in favor of using real butter may be on to something. That’s because data seems to indicate that margarine use may be linked to increased risk of divorce.


Graph data Charlotte Divorce Lawyer North Carolina Family Law AttorneyA mathematician with a bone to pick over frequently misunderstood studies released a series of what he calls “spurious correlations” to highlight how ridiculous some of these attention-grabbing numbers can be. One such chart showed that there was a link between the declining divorce rate in Maine and the state’s decreased margarine consumption.


The reality is that rather than one factor being causally related to one another, the two are instead simply correlations. The problem is that many people incorrectly believe that because two variable move in a similar direction that they must be related. However, this appearance of relation does not mean that there is any actual connection between the two variables.
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Attorney Matthew R. Arnold answering the question: “What does uncontested divorce mean?”


In a bit of sad news out of Indiana University, a recent study indicates that serious illness can greatly increase the risk of divorce among older couples. The study interestingly found that the divorce rate doesn’t increase across the board, but instead only jumps when the illness strikes the wife.


Pills spilled Charlotte Divorce Attorney North Carolina Family Law LawyerResearchers from IU examined data from more than 2,700 couples married between 1992 and 2010. Among the thousands of cases, 1/3 of the marriages ended in divorce. The researchers found that of those who divorced, nearly half involved cases where the wife became seriously ill.


Some examples of the illnesses that caused such extreme marital stress include cancer, heart problems, lung disease and stroke. The researcher in charge of the study said that serious illness is a major stress on a relationship, not only on the person coping with the health issue. Health problems have long been known to cause steep declines in a person’s perceived marital quality, but the recent data surprised many by indicating that the gender of the sick person had a lot to do with the ultimate impact on a marriage.


The results showed specifically that when a man came down with a serious illness the couple was no more likely to divorce. However, when a woman becomes sick, that couple becomes substantially more likely to divorce. Researchers said that while the raw numbers might indicate that men are jerks, the reality is that the data is incomplete. For example, though divorce is more likely in these cases the numbers don’t show which party initiated the divorce, meaning men may not be the ones leaving their sick wives.

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Attorney Matthew R. Arnold answering the question: “How long does getting a divorce take?”


A man in Indiana dodged a potentially costly bullet last week when a superior court judge ruled that he only needed to turn over a small fraction of his overall lottery winnings. The judge found that Jose Perez could keep the bulk of his $2 million scratch-off winnings due to the prolonged separation between he and his wife during which the money was won.


lottery ticket Charlotte Mecklenburg Divorce Lawyer North Carolina Child Custody AttorneyPerez and his wife, Maria Zepeda, married back in 2002 and only remained together a little over four years, physically (though not legally) separating in 2006. Though the two remained physically apart, maintaining separate residences, separate bank accounts and nearly totally cutting contact, they remained legally married.


Between 2006 and 2011, the two only spoke to one another two or three times in total, appearing by all outside accounts to be separate single adults. Then, in January 2011, Perez won $2 million in the Hoosier Lottery. That scratch-off ticket changed his life and caused him to finally divorce his estranged wife. Only a few months later, the divorce was finalized and Perez thought he was free and clear.


However, Zepeda didn’t take long to hear of the lotto winnings and, after consulting a family law attorney, decided she should stake her claim on some share of the winnings. Initially, Zepeda asked for $1.4 million of the $2 million haul, something the judge found ridiculous.

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