What does “Complex Divorce… Made Easy” really mean?

I’ve recently changed the tagline on my website to “Complex Divorce… Made Easy”. You may be wondering what that means. Here’s the quick and dirty explaination. Not all divorces are complex. Some cases are actually relatively simple. If you are in a situation where you don’t own property, you have a relatively short marriage, there are no spousal support issues, and you don’t have kids, then I would consider that to be a relatively simple […]

In complex equitable distribution cases, who wins?

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My answer is going to surprise you – it’s not necessarily who you would think.  Here are some possible answers: The person represented by the better lawyer?  (whatever that means) The person who spends the most money on legal fees? The more sympathetic spouse? The person whose lawyer is best friends with the judge? No, no, no….. and big NO. The person who wins in these big, document heavy, complicated with lots of assets to […]

I received an inheritance and put it into a joint account with my spouse, can I keep it?

North Carolina Equitable Distribution laws are extremely complicated and confusing.  One of the most frequent questions I get involves the handling of an inheritance, financial gift, or lawsuit proceeds that one spouse receives during the marriage.  The question is simple, “Do I have to give half to my husband/wife?”  The answer is a little more complex. N.C.G.S. Section 50-20 deals with the distribution by the court of marital and divisible property.  Notice that the title […]

Getting a divorce in North Carolina: Some Pitfalls

North Carolina has some wacky laws when it comes to divorce.  They are not always intuitive, and sometimes they are downright unfair.  One such example is a rule called the “McClean Presumption“.  This rule deals with Equitable distribution in North Carolina, and the treatment of marital and separate real property (also known as land) and their treatment as “joint interspousal gifts“joint interspousal gifts. Here’s an example: Lets say that you own a house that you […]

How to divide a pension in a divorce?

I got a great question today in my Ask a Lawyer Section.  The question was this – “In North Carolina is a spouse entitled to half her husband’s pension? If so, when does she get it and is it considered income when considering Alimony and Child Support?” Here is a quick synopsis of this difficult and complex area of family law – one that even a lot of lawyers have a hard time understanding because […]

How a Collaborative Divorce could save your business

In discussing the benefits of Collaborative Divorce, we often talk about how it will help save your relationship with your spouse, cause you less stress and anxiety, be less harmful to the kids, and usually costs less than “old school” litigation. One of the real world examples of this is the case of a family that owns a small business, as this story illustrates.  If you are the owner of a small business and are […]

Why I like Collaborative Divorce so much…

I just started another Collaborative Divorce Case yesterday (meaning that we had the first four-way meeting with another attorney and her client).  It was another shining example of why Collaborative Divorce is such a great thing for clients that are willing to work with one another to resolve their case with less stress and pain than in a traditional “old-school” divorce case. In one two-hour meeting, we were able to resolve who would move out […]

How to prepare for divorce tip #12: Keep a Diary

This is the second to last in a series of tips for individuals who are considering separating from their spouse, and ultimately, divorcing them.  Many of the steps that I have provided in this series are geared toward preparing you for litigating your case, but I need to stress that I believe strongly in keeping divorce cases out of the courts through a dispute resolution technique known as Collaborative Divorce. Today’s tip asks you to […]

How to prepare for divorce tip #11: Who moves?

Today’s divorce tip involves a commonly asked question, especially in North Carolina – Who moves?  I encourage all of my clients to at least consider the possibility of a collaborative divorce, and if you go that route, this is one of the many issues that can get worked out during the “four-way” meetings that are the hallmark of the collaborative process. In North Carolina, if you want a divorce, you must separate from your spouse […]

How to prepare for divorce tip #10: Avoid additional Debt of Major Purchases

One of the biggest mistakes I see divorcing couples make is piling on additional debt after they separate, thinking that their spouse is responsible for one-half of this new debt.  This couldn’t be farther from the truth.  In North Carolina, the courts will look at the amount of debt you, as a couple, have incurred as of the date of separation.  Anything you take on thereafter is yours alone. While you are in the middle […]

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