New Firm Name & Partners

New Firm Name The law firm of Black, Slaughter & Black will now be doing business as Law Firm Carolinas. The firm, which practices in North and South Carolina, has four offices: Greensboro, Charlotte, Triangle (Garner) and Coastal (Wilmington). New Partners In addition, three attorneys have been named partners in the firm: Jennifer Ruby, who does general civil litigation, business litigation and appeals. Ruby is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2006) and Elon University School of Law (2010) and is based in the Greensboro office. Michael Taliercio, who manages the firm’s HOA/condo assessment collections … Continue reading

Can You Help Your Attorney Get Ready for Your Child Custody Trial?

Yes! Having a well-respected family law attorney represent you in a custody case is an important step but your children are the most important people in your life so hiring an attorney should not be your last step.  First, discuss all of your goals and concerns with your attorney.  Second, provide your attorney with as many facts regarding your history with the children as possible. Third, provide your attorney with a list of witnesses who can testify about your positive relationship with your children.  Good witnesses are teachers, coaches, neighbors and friends you spend a lot of time with, and … Continue reading

What Does it Mean to “Serve” Divorce Papers?

To get divorced in North Carolina a lawsuit has to be filed with the courts and served (meaning formally delivered) to your spouse.  There are three (3) primary ways to serve someone with divorce papers:  by sheriff, certified mail or acceptance of service.  If you do not know where your spouse is staying or working or you have tried all possible leads and you have been unable to get them served, you will need to publish a notice in the local newspaper where your spouse was last known to be living.  This process is called Notice by Publication.  Once you … Continue reading

I Want a Divorce…Does My Spouse Have to Agree?

You do not have to have your spouse’s consent to obtain a divorce; however, there are several facts that must exist in order to get divorced.  In North Carolina, a husband or wife can file for divorce so long as the parties have been physically separated for more than a year with at least one of the parties intending to remain separate and apart, at least one of you has been a citizen and resident of the State of North Carolina for at least 6 months prior to filing the action and the other spouse is not an active member … Continue reading

Can a Parent Withhold Custody Because of the Coronavirus?

I have been asked by several clients if they or the other parent can keep their child or children from visiting with the other parent if they are concerned about the Coronavirus. Since the impact of COVID-19 is unprecedented, there are no hard and fast rules but first and foremost, if your custody terms are in a court order, you should follow the terms of the order. Neither party is allowed to unilaterally change or violate the terms of the court’s order. If the child has been exposed to the coronavirus, then the parents should discuss whether the exchange can … Continue reading

Are Child Custody Exchanges Permitted While Stay at Home/Shelter in Place Orders Are in Effect?

In most if not all counties in North Carolina, including Guilford, Mecklenburg, New Hanover and Wake County, travel for purposes of exchanging children pursuant to a custody agreement or court order is permitted. You should check your particular county’s Shelter in Place policy, but most likely exchanges for purposes of exercising custodial agreements are permitted. If Shelter in Place rules prevent you from exchanging at the location designated in your agreement such as inside a restaurant or at a local park that is closed, you may need to move the designated meeting place to another spot. Be sure to communicate … Continue reading

Greensboro and Charlotte North Carolina Probate in the Midst of Coronavirus

While things have generally slowed down during this pandemic, the Courts have remained open to certain departments that simply cannot be put on hold. Two of these include: (1) Estates – this is where Probate Estates are administered, Spousal Allowance applications are processed and other similar matters. Probate is the court-supervised legal process that gives someone (executor or administrator) the authority to administer an estate. Administering the estate includes gathering the assets of the deceased person, paying the taxes and final bills and at the end distributing any remaining assets to the beneficiaries named in the Will or set out … Continue reading

Best Lawyers Recognition 2020

Black, Slaughter & Black and two of its attorneys have been named to the 2020 US News Best Lawyers in America. Jim Slaughter has been recognized by Best Lawyers in the practices of Community Association Law and Real Estate Law. Keith Black has been recognized by Best Lawyers in the practice of Family Law. Black, Slaughter & Black is again the only firm in North Carolina with a listing of “Community Association Law.”

New Firm Facebook Page

Black, Slaughter & Black has a new Facebook page where you can keep up with firm activities, read recent blogs, and find out where attorneys are speaking (and includes a photo from this morning’s Piedmont Education Breakfast where Steve Black spoke on Declaration Amendments: Pandora’s Box)? The new page can be found at www.facebook.com/BlackSlaughterBlack. We ask that you follow it, like it, and share it!

Parental Liability

A Guide for North Carolina & South Carolina Parents As the mother of two young children, I would like to think that my kids will always follow the rules, obey the law, and make good decisions.  The realist in me knows, however, that they won’t always act as they should or as they’ve been taught.  So what is my liability or legal exposure for the conduct of my children?  Can I be held financially responsible for their wrongdoing? Generally speaking, parents are not required to act as insurers against wrongs, harms, or damages inflicted by their children.  This maxim, however, … Continue reading

It’s Not Over Until It’s Over

If you are separated or you’re considering separating from your husband or wife in North Carolina, one of the first questions you’ll get from an attorney is “what was your date of separation?”  One of the reasons is that spouses are presumptively entitled to one-half of all “marital property.”  Marital property includes real estate, bank accounts, vehicles and even lottery tickets that are acquired with marital funds or by marital efforts from the date of marriage to the date of separation. You may have read recently that a Michigan man who bought a Mega Million lottery ticket prior to separating … Continue reading

You’ve Been Separated from Your Spouse for One Year in North Carolina. Should You File for Divorce?

In North Carolina, you and your spouse have to be separated from one another with the intent of at least one of you to remain permanently separate and apart.  Once you reach the one year’s separation, filing for divorce is fairly straightforward. But SHOULD you file just because the year has passed?  Things you should consider before filing are:  (1) will you lose health insurance coverage under your spouse’s plan?(2) do you have property you want distributed to you or debt you want distributed to your husband or wife?(3) do you need financial support in the form of alimony from … Continue reading

What Happens to Your Retirement Benefits When You Divorce?

Although every retirement plan has its own rules, generally all of your assets and debts are added up and divided. North Carolina is a “no fault” property state so in most cases, all marital assets and debts will be divided equally. If you or your husband or wife has retirement benefits but one has more or is receiving more assets from other sources such as real property or bank accounts, a rollover from one spouse to the other can be used to equalize the spouses’ assets. The rollover is a non-taxable transfer and practically the non-participant spouse gets an account … Continue reading

Everything You Need to Know to Win Your Custody Case

Most of the rules you learned in kindergarten apply in child custody cases: for example: 1) be kind to others; 2) if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all; 3) be respectful and 4) share your toys. Child custody cases are emotionally charged and it is normal to want to show the court you are a great parent and your spouse is a terrible parent if you are trying to win primary physical custody of your children. But, judges are looking for the parent who puts his or her children first and who is not fighting for … Continue reading

Do You Have to Share Your Pension When You Divorce?

If you are fortunate enough to have a pension through a present or previous employer, some or all of it may be marital property subject to division upon separation and divorce from your spouse if you worked for the company offering the pension during your marriage. A pension plan is a type of annuity that will pay the employee a monthly benefit upon retirement. If the employee separates from his or her spouse prior to retiring, the non-employee spouse may want to be compensated for half the value of the pension because it is subject to a division pursuant to … Continue reading

Who gets children’s 529 accounts in divorce?

Most couples decide to designate 529 college savings as the children’s funds to be used for college expenses. If there is no such agreement, the court will include any 529 college savings plan in the marital assets, to be divided or distributed to one party. Most likely, the court will assign savings to one parent or the other to manage the funds for the children and not reduce their share of the marital assets.  Although, the Court could choose either parent to manage the funds, it is likely that the court would choose the party most interested in the child … Continue reading

Should you move out?

Are you considering separating from your husband or wife and not sure whether you should move out of the house? There are several things to consider in deciding on whether you should move out of the house prior to a written agreement with your spouse. Do you have children? Are you financially able to afford another place to live? Might you have alimony obligation to your spouse? Did you get a house prior to your marriage? These are just a few of the questions you want answer before your move. Call one of the attorneys at Black, Slaughter and Black … Continue reading

New Charlotte Address & Firm News

We’re excited to announce our new, larger Charlotte office! Note our new Charlotte address: 1927 South Tryon St., Suite 100, Charlotte, NC 28203. The Charlotte phone number at 704-970-1593 remains the same. This has been a busy and exciting year for our firm, so here are some updates and recent recognitions: Our Greensboro office expanded to take over neighboring office space (but has kept the same address). Two attorneys joined our firm this past year to assist with HOA/condo and real estate matters: Harmony Taylor and Brad Jones. For more information on any of our lawyers, visit our firm attorney … Continue reading

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

Grandparent Custody… When your child is unable to care for their child.

In North Carolina, biological parents maintain superior rights to custody of their children which is a fundamental right protected by the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution.  However, there may be circumstances that exists in which a parent loses those superior rights and a grandparent is able to intervene and request custody of their grandchild.  Before a grandparent can be considered as a custodian for their grandchild, the grandparent must be granted standing by the Court to pursue custody.  In order to be granted standing to pursue custody, the grandparent must show by clear, cogent and convincing evidence that the … Continue reading