THE COURT OF APPEALS GOT IT WRONG – AGAIN!

The North Carolina Court of Appeals has struggled with its interpretation of the divisible property statute since its enactment in 1995.  This statute, codified at G.S. Section 50-20(b)(4), provides for the division of certain assets and debts that were acquired after the date of separation.  The first issue they have incorrectly decided on a number of occasions was the implementation of Section 50-20(b)(4)(d) which currently provides that “divisible property” includes “all passive increases and passive decreases in marital debt and financing charges and interest related to marital debt.”  The error the Court of Appeals repeatedly made was to distribute assets … Continue reading

WE ARE GETTING A DIVORCE – HOW DO I GET MY FAIR SHARE OF MY SPOUSE’S RETIREMENT BENEFITS?

One of the largest assets in many marriages is the retirement plan of the spouse who was employed outside of the home during the marriage.  Each spouse is presumptively entitled to one-half the net marital estate under North Carolina equitable distribution law, which typically involves distributing a portion of the retirement plan to the non-employee spouse. Retirement plans are divided by a court order which instructs the Plan Administrator to transfer a portion of the retirement plan to the non-employee spouse.  An order is required because the retirement plan is listed under the social security number of the employee spouse, … Continue reading

TEN COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT FAMILY LAW

After practicing family law for 31 years, I have noticed that many of my clients have common misconceptions about family law.  Some of the most frequent questions the family lawyers at Black, Slaughter & Black, P.A. receive are: If my wife and I are sleeping in separate bedrooms, does that count for the one-year separation required for absolute divorce?     Parties must be physically separated and have separate addresses to count as “separation” for purposes of the one-year requirement for absolute divorce. Does my wife have to account for how my child support payments are used?    Child support is … Continue reading

The Top 10 Reasons to Arbitrate Your Family Law Case

I am stealing one of David Letterman’s acts to tell you why you might want to arbitrate your family law case.  North Carolina is behind the rest of the country in many areas of the law but not in the area of family law arbitration.  In fact, we were the first state to enact the Family Law Arbitration Act (FLAA), G.S. §§ 50-41 et seq., largely due to the efforts of Raleigh attorney, Lynn Burleson, and Wake Forest University Law Professor George Walker.  Other states have subsequently adopted our statutes. What is arbitration?  Arbitration is a proceeding where a private … Continue reading