Marriage laws have rapidly changed in North Carolina and across the country. In May 2012, 21 percent of this state’s registered voters cast ballots in favor of a constitutional amendment banning same-sex unions. Fast-forward 18 months to October 2014 and a federal district court invalidated that amendment. And, on June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court made marriage equality the law in every state. But how do these changes affect our LGBT clients?
North Carolina custody laws are clear that parents have the Constitutional right to make decisions regarding their children, including whether their children may visit their grandparents. What happens when parents “freeze out” grandparents, refusing to allow them to visit the grandkids?
In an “intact family” – a family where mom and dad are living together with the children – grandparents do not have the right to demand visits with their grandkids. But when parents separate, grandparents who have been “frozen out” may have the chance to ask a judge for the right to visit their grandchildren. If one of the parents files a custody lawsuit, both the maternal and paternal biological grandparents may ask to “intervene” in the lawsuit so that they can ask the court to award them visitation rights. “Intervening” means asking the court to allow the grandparent to become a party to the lawsuit so that he or she can ask the court for visitation rights.
adminWhat Right Do You Have to Visit Your Grandkids?
When parents of young children divorce, grandparents may be affected. In an ideal situation, divorcing spouses allow and encourage their children to continue seeing the family members of both spouses. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Conflicts that arise during divorce sometimes lead to one or both spouses refusing to allow the children to see the other spouse’s parents. What can grandparents do in this situation?
In North Carolina, under limited circumstances, the law protects grandparents’ ability to continue seeing their grandchildren after the parents divorce. Courts can award grandparents “independent” visitation – time in which to see their grandchildren that is not contingent upon the divorcing parents’ approval – if the court determines that the visitation would be in the grandchildren’s best interest.
The first thing grandparents need to know, if they are thinking about seeking visitation through the courts, is that in most cases they must file a “Motion to Intervene” in the parent-spouses’ custody case while the custody case is pending. A “Motion to Intervene” allows grandparents to enter a custody case by becoming a party to the case. If grandparents fail to file a “Motion to Intervene” before the custody case is resolved, the “door is closed” and grandparents no longer have the legal ability to seek independent visitation through the courts.
adminWhen Should You Seek “Grandparent Visitation” through the Courts?
In a divorce-related mediation, a neutral third party, most often an experienced family lawyer, helps the parties resolve their claims through negotiation, rather than by having issues decided by a judge in a trial setting. The mediator does not have the same role as a judge; he or she cannot make rulings in the case and cannot order either party to take any particular action. Instead, the mediator acts as a facilitator, managing the settlement offers and communications exchanged between the parties, and helping them identify common goals and bridge gaps to reach an out-of- court settlement.
adminMediation and Divorce – Managing Settlement Offers and Communications Between Parties
Keep Your Eye on the Ball… The Focus on Finances through Divorce
There are nearly one million divorces a year in the United States alone, involving billions of dollars of asset division and financial settlement arrangements. Oftentimes, when an individual is faced with a divorce, the thought of so many changes occurring so quickly can make anyone want to hide his/her head in the sand. However, finances and the financial dissolution of your marriage should be placed at the top of your “to do” list and considered the most important “action item” of your divorce.
adminThe Focus on Finances through Divorce by Wake County Divorce Lawyers Gailor Hunt Jenkins Davis & Taylor
Divorce is stressful, and trial can create added pressure and anxiety. You and your attorney have spent extensive time and resources preparing your case and compressing the details of your marriage into what will result in just days — or even hours — of trial. Your attorney will prepare you for what it is to come, and now the day has arrived… you go to court. Set forth are three simple tips to help you prepare for your day in court.
adminPreparing for Your Day in Divorce Court by Raleigh-based family lawyers of Gailor Hunt Jenkins Davis & Taylor
When a marriage ends in North Carolina, the easiest part of the legal process is getting divorced. North Carolina is a “no fault” divorce state, meaning either spouse is entitled to a divorce so long as certain statutory requirements are met.The most common way to obtain an absolute divorce in North Carolina is to be separated for one year. Under N.C. Gen. Stat. §50-6, a judge or clerk may grant a divorce judgment if husband and wife have lived separate and apart for one year, with the intent of at least one spouse not to resume the marital relationship; that is, that the separation be permanent.
adminAbsolute Divorce Explained by Raleigh Divorce Lawyers Raleigh-based family lawyers of Gailor Hunt Jenkins Davis & Taylor explain the requirements for Absolute Divorce.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Vital Statistics Report on Births, Marriages, Divorces and Deaths, there were 65,817 marriages and 36,708 divorces in North Carolina in 2009. The high rate of divorce means that many people face navigating a divorce while owning a business.
adminAsk the experts: Prepare for marriage, divorce so they don’t tear business apart
Under North Carolina law, an obligation to pay alimony under a court order terminates if the party receiving support engages in cohabitation. “Cohabitation” is defined by statute as “the act of two adults dwelling habitually in a private, heterosexual relationship, even if the marriage is not solemnized by marriage or a private homosexual relationship. Cohabitation is evidenced by the voluntary assumption of those mutual rights, duties, and obligations which are usually manifested by married people, and which include, but are not necessarily dependent on, sexual relations. ” N.C. Gen. Stat. 50-16.9 (2012).
adminRaleigh divorce attorney, S. Nicole Taylor, on the Effect of Cohabitation on Alimony in North Carolina
RALEIGH, NC / ACCESSWIRE / November 5, 2014 / In the United States today, approximately fifty percent of all marriages end in divorce. This increasing number of failing marriages gives rise to the need for divorcing parties to deal with a number of extremely sensitive, difficult and emotional issues, one of the biggest issues being rights to the child or children. In North Carolina, custody is based upon what a Judge finds to be in the “best interests” of the minor children. The “best interests of the children” standard is described by North Carolina courts as the “polar star” for determining custody.
adminRaleigh Divorce Lawyer Explains Custody: Legal vs. Physical