Some South Carolina Courts Reopen—Sort Of

Like everyone else in South Carolina, I’ve kept an eye on the latest developments from the court system to see when things can return to normal.  On April 30th the Chief Justice for the South Carolina Supreme Court updated the previous March 18th Order relating to foreclosure cases.  Among other things, the new April 30th Order provides that “Master-in-Equity courts statewide shall resume foreclosure hearings, foreclosure sales, issuing writs of assistance and writs of ejectments, and proceed in any other manner regarding foreclosures beginning May 15, 2020.”  What that means for your homeowners association is that certain collections cases that … Continue reading

How to Leave Money, Assets or an Inheritance to a Minor Child in North Carolina

Until a child reaches the age of eighteen (18), they cannot inherit property outright, or in their own name. It needs to be held for that child in one of several different ways. First, money or property can be left to a minor in a trust. Second, it can be left to a child under a court-supervised guardianship and third, it can be left to a child under the North Carolina uniform Transfer to Minors Act. Trust – A trust can be established during life or through a Will at someone’s death. If money is left to a minor child … Continue reading

WEBINAR: The Next Normal – Lifting COVID-19 Stay-at-Home Orders & The Impact on Community Associations

This week the Community Associations Institute (CAI) hosted a free live webinar on “The Next Normal – Lifting COVID-19 Stay-at-Home Orders & The Impact on Community Associations.” The goal was to provide timely, helpful information on how community associations prepare for the lifting of stay-at-home orders during the COVID-19 pandemic and the approaches homeowner and condominium associations will need to take to reopen common areas and amenities.  Jim Slaughter of Black, Slaughter & Black participated as a panelist. If you did not see the program (or did and wish to share it with someone), CAI has made webinar available as a … Continue reading

How South Carolina’s Reopenings May Affect Your Homeowners Association

Whether your community chooses to keep its common areas open or closed is a matter of discretion and all HOA / Condo boards in South Carolina must use their best business judgment to make that determination. Over the past two days South Carolina has reopened some retail establishments, beaches, and state parks.  Although the State has not seen a significant downward trend in coronavirus cases for 14 days (as the White House recommended) Governor McMaster was comfortable reopening, relying instead on professional opinions in South Carolina and the fact that people seem to be complying with social distancing.  A copy … Continue reading

Notices Required by Employers in the Era of COVID-19

Employers have long been required, in accordance with various federal and state laws and regulations, to provide notices to their employees concerning their rights.  Thanks to COVID-19, most North Carolina employers can add to that list.  In particular, employers should be aware of the following additional notices obligations: The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) provides employees of covered employers with paid sick and other leave related to COVID-19.  Employers are required to post notices to employees, which posters can be downloaded for free at https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic. Pursuant to newly enacted, emergency rule 04 NCAC 24G .0102, employers must, at the … Continue reading

New Architectural Review Decision from the Court of Appeals: Martin v. The Landfall Council of Associations, Inc.

The NC Court of Appeals issued a new architectural review committee decision this morning, April 21, 2020, in Martin v. The Landfall Council of Associations, Inc. The case is an “unpublished” opinion from the NC Court of Appeals, which means the decision is not controlling legal authority and should not be cited in other cases. However, even unpublished opinions give a sense of the Court’s thinking as to specific issues and how subsequent courts may rule. (For another recent ARC decision from the Court of Appeals, see Don’t Screw Up Your Architectural Committee and Approval Process.) In Landfall Council of … Continue reading

Stimulus Funds Could Be Accessed by Creditors

Starting this week, many North Carolinians will be receiving emergency stimulus payments authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). For many individuals, that payment will be directly deposited into their bank account. Our Attorney General joined with several other state attorneys general on April 13, 2020 to request that the U.S. Department of the Treasury take immediate action to protect these funds from being accessible to creditors and instead ensure that the money goes to individuals to use for housing, food and other urgent needs. Right now, however, unlike Social Security, disability, and veterans’ payments, … Continue reading

North Carolina Estate Planning and the Coronavirus

Estate Planning practices are busier than ever. Clients are very concerned whether their estate plans are up to date and in order. Often clients have been meaning to make changes and do not get around to it. Something as frightening as a pandemic makes us stop and think about the important things in life—like making sure our loved ones are cared for in the event of an unlikely circumstance. Here are some suggestions of what you might consider at this time. Review your Last Will and Testament or Revocable Living Trust – do they accurately reflect your wishes if you … Continue reading

NC HOA/Condo Budget Ratification During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic is changing the way we all do business. Homeowners associations and condominium associations are not immune to this new normal. Our firm has blogged extensively how to conduct association business during the COVID-19 crisis in order to promote social distancing and best stay compliant with the ever-changing status of the North Carolina Governor’s executive orders. One question that continues to come up is how to ratify the association’s budget when holding a meeting seems impossible. The budget ratification process is dependent on several factors including when your association was established. For example, the Condominium Act process for … 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

Live Webinar for SC Community Associations Responding to COVID-19

The South Carolina Chapter of the Community Association Institute (CAI) will host a 1-hour “Coronavirus Update and Q&A” webinar this Tuesday, April 14, 2020 at 10:20 am.  The Facebook Live webinar (you do not need a Facebook account to participate) will provide timely, helpful information on how HOA and condo associations should respond to the coronvirus pandemic and will include live Q&A. Attorneys Steve Black and David Wilson (who are licensed in both North and South Carolina) will be participating. More details and a sign-up can be found at this CAI-SC Facebook Webinar Page Topics to be covered include: Member and … Continue reading

Are HOAs and Condos in North Carolina and South Carolina Eligible for Coronavirus Federal Disaster Funds?

Individuals, businesses, and organizations across the United States are struggling to come to grips with the new financial realities created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Nonprofit community associations are no exception.  They will likely face reductions in revenues in the coming months, at least, as a result of members who simply are not able to pay their ongoing obligations for assessments.  Loans newly made available by the federal government may be an option for community associations to consider. In this blog we will look at federal disaster loans offered through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). (For a more general explanation … Continue reading

HOAs, Condos, and the South Carolina Stay at Home Order

Effective April 7, 2020, at 5:00 pm, South Carolina will join most other states with statewide “stay at home” orders.  Governor Henry McMaster referred to the order as a “home or work” order that would require people to stay home if they are not at work or tending to essential needs.  A copy of the South Carolina Governor’s full order is here.  The order does not close more businesses than had previously been closed, but did create additional limits on how many customers can be inside a store at any given time.  According to his order, all stores must limit … Continue reading

Is Your Association Having Trouble Holding A Membership Meeting? The Emergency Bylaws Provision Of The North Carolina Non-Profit Act May Be Able To Help!

In these difficult times (thanks to the COVID-19 virus) and local and statewide orders prohibiting gatherings to protect public health, it is likely impossible to physically gather all of the people required to hold your Association’s membership meeting.  If your Association’s governing documents allow holding an electronic or telephonic meeting, then that is a great option.  We have previously written regarding the best ways to hold electronic or telephonic meetings However, even if your governing documents do not provide any authority to hold an electronic or telephonic membership meeting, you do not necessarily need to postpone your meetings.  Your Association … Continue reading

The Case for Fining in South Carolina HOAs and Condominiums

My community association practice is split between North Carolina and South Carolina.  One of the primary differences between the law in these two states is the fact that North Carolina has a comprehensive HOA statute while South Carolina does not.  I’ve written more than once about the need for a comprehensive HOA statue in South Carolina.  While there are many nuances that make the laws in each state unique, one that I deal with frequently is the enforcement method for covenant violations.  Most covenants authorize “an action at law or in equity” as a method for the association to enforce … Continue reading