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

NC Community Association Legislative Wrap-Up – July 2017

The General Assembly adjourned its 2018 regular session this month, so questions have arisen about what happens to proposals that would have directly impacted North Carolina’s homeowner and condominium associations (see NC Community Association Legislative Update-June 22, 2017), but weren’t adopted. The clear answer: “It depends.” Although legislators left town, they haven’t really left for good. The adjournment resolution provided that special legislative sessions will be held in August, September, and again by November. While these sessions are intended to be focused on legislative redistricting and other major issues, the General Assembly can consider what it wishes. While it is unlikely … Continue reading

The Effect of Reconciliation on Claims Arising From First Marriage

Our North Carolina family law specialist, Ashley D. Bennington, represented a husband in an appeal before the North Carolina Court of Appeals where the question was whether the wife could refile her claims for equitable distribution and alimony arising from the first marriage of the parties.  The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s decision and ruled in favor of our client determining that the wife’s claims were time barred.  A copy of the opinion of the Court of Appeals can be found here:  https://appellate.nccourts.org/opinions/?c=2&pdf=35539.  In the instant case, the parties were separated and divorced in the years 2005 and … Continue reading

Insurable v. Marketable Title in Real Estate Transaction

  The current real estate market is fast paced and more complex than ever before.  Many sellers of real property want to know they can move their properties as fast as possible without encountering costly delays brought on by unexpected title problems.  Larger institutional sellers (e.g., banks) will attempt to prevent some of these unexpected delays by contracting to convey title under a seemingly less stringent standard in order to get their deals closed in the shortest amount of time possible.  Often, this is done by agreeing to sell “insurable” title to prospective buyers.  But, what is the buyer actually … Continue reading

The Benefits of a Professional Verbatim Convention Reporter

Having served as parliamentarian to hundreds of conventions, I’ve worked with different types of court reporters who used different methods to provide verbatim transcripts of the proceedings. These included stenographic court reporters using audiotape, specialized court reporting machines or laptops. At times I’ve also seen voice writing court reporters using a stenomask as you might see at a trial. With no disrespect towards others, I want to give special recognition to convention reporters Jack and Dee Boenau (pronounced BAY-no) of AmeriCaption, Inc. Because we’re on the convention circuit together, Jack, Dee and I see each other at conventions ranging from 300 … Continue reading

AVOIDING CORPORATE DEADLOCK

Corporations, limited liability companies and other entities have become a standard resource or mechanism to help individuals shield themselves from personal liability when going into business, holding investments, or otherwise entering into a variety of undertakings.  The ever increasing use of such structures, however, can sometimes lead to other, unanticipated problems, particularly when the shareholders or directors of an entity cannot agree on matters impacting the entity.  In a worst case scenario, disagreements can escalate and eventually lead to complete gridlock, negating many of the advantages and corporate opportunities that once existed. In order to avoid such gridlock and protect … 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

Firm Recognition

The readers of YES! Weekly magazine have selected the firm as a “Best Lawyer/Law Firm.” It’s nice to be recognized! For more information on Black, Slaughter & Black, PA, and our practice areas, please visit www.lawfirmcarolinas.com

NC Community Association Legislative Update – June 22, 2017

I’m asked frequently about the status of  proposals filed this session in the General Assembly that, if adopted, would directly impact North Carolina HOAs and condominium associations. The “crossover deadline” (the date on which a bill must have cleared one chamber to move forward) has passed, which means this a good time to check in on various bills. (FYI, while the crossover deadline is a big deal, keep in mind the News & Observer’s warning several years ago: “[Legislative] rules are made to be circumvented, so there are many ways to keep legislation alive.”) UNDERSTAND THAT ALL OF THESE ARE PROPOSALS, … Continue reading

Communities for Those 55 Years of Age or Older

Recently we have been approached by multiple associations inquiring about making their housing community one that is restricted to those residents that are 55 years of age or older.   The ability and requirements for establishing or becoming a housing community for those 55 years of age or older is governed by the federal Housing for Older Persons Act (HOPA).  The Act applies to homeowners associations and condominium associations that wish to impose this type of age requirement.  HOPA is an exemption to the Fair Housing Act (FHA) which prohibits discrimination in housing-related transactions based on race, color, religion, sex, national … Continue reading

Bidding Wars and Low Appraisals

The current real estate market in Charlotte has a very low inventory for homes being sold.  One result of low inventory is the increased likelihood of multiple offers being submitted for a single property.  This results in bidding wars where the offers submitted by buyers far exceed the original listing price to ensure that their offer will be accepted over the other offers.  However, what many buyers are not aware of is that their winning offer also exceeds the actual appraised value of the property. When the property appraises for a lower amount than what was offered, who should bear … Continue reading

Challenging the Chairman of a Meeting

Have you ever been at a meeting that you did not believe was being run properly?  Is the chair ruling every motion out of order?  Were you unsure on what you could do or did you feel like there was nothing you could do?  Fortunately, there are actions that you can take in these situations.  If your group utilizes Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised, then there are several procedures that allow you to challenge the chair if you believe the meeting is not being run properly. One procedure some people might not be aware of to challenge the ruling … Continue reading

Do You Know Who Your Registered Agent Is?

North Carolina corporations, whether for-profit or nonprofit, must have a registered agent name filed with the NC Secretary of State. Planned communities (i.e., homeowner associations) created on or after January 1, 1999 by statute must be incorporated. And almost all homeowner and condominium associations in North Carolina ARE incorporated, regardless of when they were created. So an important question is, “Do you know who your registered agent is?” Finding Your Registered Agent The process of determining your current registered agent is fairly straightforward. Just visit the Secretary of State’s corporate search page and search for your corporate name (be careful, as different corporations often … Continue reading

Grandparent Rights? Requesting Visitation with Your Grandchild

People often call our offices at Black, Slaughter & Black, P.A. asking about grandparent rights.  In North Carolina, grandparents do not have unlimited access to their grandchildren and there is no formal acknowledgement of grandparent rights.  For instance, if the mother and father of your grandchild are married and decide at some point that they do not want you or certain other  grandparents to spend time with or otherwise have access to a child, the grandparents are left with limited legal options to seek access to their grandchild. Absent a showing of unfitness or acts inconsistent with a parent’s constitutionally … Continue reading

CREATING A CONTRACT: HELP ME, HELP YOU PART 2: WHERE IS THIS?

If you followed along with me on Part 1, you should know that purchase contracts come in all shapes and sizes.  Drafting a good contract considers not only the buyer and seller, but also everyone else in the closing process who will need the purchase contract for making decisions and producing paperwork. Delays are caused where there is incorrect or an incomplete information.  This blog will look at common legal description errors and suggest how to list a legal description to assist those who will follow in the closing process. Where is this? I have a purchase contract sitting on … Continue reading

Successful Real Property Listing Agreements

The real estate market has been getting hot again recently in the Charlotte market, as well as other areas in NC, and this is driving many homeowners to contemplate listing their homes for sale.  Some may choose to attempt to market their own properties, but most will find the assistance of a knowledgeable real estate professional to be invaluable. Along with the services of a real estate broker comes documentation.  The main document that defines the relationship between a seller and his or her agent is the Listing Agreement.  As you might expect, this agreement should ALWAYS be in writing … Continue reading

CREATING A CONTRACT: HELP ME, HELP YOU PART 1: WHO IS THE SELLER? ARE THEY MARRIED?

At Black, Slaughter & Black, P.A., we have the great privilege of working on real estate transfers in every step of the process, but we usually begin our residential closing work with the receipt of a purchase contract.  We find there are good contracts out there and some, well, not so good contracts. So what separates the good from the bad? A good contract is complete and accurate.  In the light most favorable, a bad contract has the essential information but leaves Realtors, Brokers, and attorneys trying to fill in the blanks.  This can cause frustration and delays to all … Continue reading

Tenant’s Rights: What is the Implied Warranty of Habitability?

Renting residential property can have great perks for a tenant. Typically, you’re not responsible for home maintenance and costs of repairs. If something happens, like an appliance stops working, the toilet backs up, or some other repair is needed, all you have to do is call your landlord. In fact, once a landlord has received notice of an “imminently dangerous condition”, the landlord is required to repair the condition within a reasonable time, based upon the severity of the condition. Imminently dangerous conditions include, but are not limited to: – unsafe wiring; – unsafe flooring or steps; – unsafe ceilings … Continue reading

NC Community Association Legislative Update – Community Association Property Management Act

While most NC General Assembly bill filing deadlines have passed, legislation considered appropriations or finance can be filed through next week. A bill introduced yesterday would, if adopted, significantly impact North Carolina’s HOA/condo associations as well as community managers. House Bill 865: Community Association Property Management Act was filed April 20, 2017 by Rep. Jonathan Jordan (Ashe, Watauga), Rep. John Blust (Guilford), and Rep. Rodney Moore (Mecklenburg) and provides that: beginning October 1, 2017, all community association managers must have an NC real estate broker license association community managers would not be permitted to exercise control over (a) the reserves or investment … Continue reading