A party in a family law case – be it a child custody case, child support case, alimony case, or equitable distribution case - who believes the trial judge’s decision was mistaken or unsupported by law, may appeal that decision to the North Carolina Court of Appeals. In North Carolina, trial judges are vested with wide discretion in making decisions in family law cases, including those that involve divorce, child custody, child support, post-separation support, alimony, attorney’s fees awards, and/or equitable distribution.
It is fairly common for parents to establish and fund financial accounts in the name of their minor child. Often this is done in anticipation of the child’s college education expenses, to create savings for the child, or for estate planning purposes.
The North Carolina Child Support Guidelines currently in effect provide recommended guidelines for determining the presumptive child support obligation for parties whose combined adjusted gross incomes is $300,000 per year ($25,000 per month) or less.
There are many enforcement tools to help the parent who was ordered to receive child support but fails to receive such support from the other parent. Both the parent who is to receive child support and the parent who is ordered to pay child support should be aware of different enforcement mechanisms available. The parent receiving support, the obligee, needs to be aware of these remedies in order to collect past due child support. The parent who is ordered to pay child support, or the obligor, needs to be aware of the enforcement tools because failure to pay the support can have devastating, long-term effects on his or her financial and personal life.
A prenuptial agreement (also known as a premarital agreement) is an agreement entered into between two parties who are planning to be married. In order to be legal and binding, a prenuptial agreement must be entered into and signed by both parties before the marriage. However, parties who are already married can take advantage of some of the benefits of a prenuptial agreement by entering into an agreement known as a “postnuptial agreement.”
There are many websites that offer online forms designed to enable spouses to prepare a separation agreement without the assistance of an attorney. However, signing a separation agreement without first reviewing and discussing it with an experienced family law attorney can leave you exposed to unintended financial and legal consequences.
One of the critical steps in the equitable distribution process is to place a value on all property classified as marital property. In North Carolina, all marital property (which includes assets and debts) must be valued as of the date of separation.
The easiest way to facilitate a marital separation is for one spouse to move out of the marital home. But, what happens if neither spouse is willing to move out? Can one spouse force the other spouse to vacate the marital home?
North Carolina law gives a judge authority to require one party to pay the other party’s attorney’s fees in family law matters that include claims for child custody, child support, post-separation support, and/or alimony.