Depending on the ruling of the court, an alimony order can be for a set number of years or even life. In order to modify spousal support, whether that be alimony or post-separation support, significant changes are normally necessary. The termination of an alimony order is automatic upon the death of either party, remarriage of the dependent spouse, or cohabitation by the dependent spouse. That being said, what determines cohabitation in North Carolina?
According to North Carolina state law, cohabitation requires:
It is important to take notice that, although the court requires two people to essentially be living together in order to terminate an alimony order, that does not mean that they must be retaining the same residence. The dependent spouse and third party may each retain a separate residence and still be considered living together.
The second criteria the court will look to is whether the dependent and third party act like a married couple. There are numerous facts considered by the North Carolina courts. There is no one item that is required or determinative.
Some factors considered in determining cohabitation:
Although cohabitation is defined by statute, it is often a source of litigation in court. Seeing as the dependent receiving alimony has an incentive to alter behavior to avoid losing their monthly check, these types of cases may get a bit grey at times. This may include keeping a separate residence, limiting the nights spent together per week, not keeping their belongings at the other party’s place, not getting engaged, etc. This behavior can make it quite frustrating for the person ordered to pay. Often, testimony from a private investigator, phone records, and bank records help to establish cohabitation.
Control distribution of assets – You wouldn’t hand over your car keys to a child who has not had proper preparation driving, and chances are you would not want to hand over all your assets to a teenager either. But if both parents die at the same time, or while their children are still minors, the children would inherit all the assets upon their 18th birthdays. A trust allows you to specify how and when you want your children to inherit.
Protect assets from creditors – Placing an inheritance in a trust ensures that those assets are protected from your heir’s, or their spouse’s, creditors. A properly drafted trust can protect all your assets throughout your beneficiary’s lifetime from divorce, liability, lawsuits, and other judgments.
Protect inheritance from spendthrift heirs – Not everyone is good with money. If your heirs fall into that category, you can use a trust to ensure the assets are not frittered away due to spendthrift behavior.
Provide for children of prior marriage or relationship – You can use a trust to both provide for your current spouse and any children from a previous relationship. By doing so, you can prevent pain, confusion, and arguing, which may exist in blended family situations.
Provide for a special needs heir – Leaving assets outright to an heir with special needs could disqualify them from receiving important government benefits. Leaving those assets in trust bypasses this potential risk.
Avoid probate – Assets can pass to heirs without going through probate by using a trust, saving beneficiaries the time and expense of the probate process. Probate is an expensive, public, and unnecessary court process you can keep your family from having to deal with.
Protect privacy – Once a will is entered into probate, it becomes public record, and anyone may access information on what someone inherited. A trust, on the other hand, is a private document that protects your family’s privacy.
If you need to arrange a consultation with an estate planning attorney,contact Adkins Law or call (704) 274-5677.
What is a Premarital Agreement?
A premarital agreement, also called a prenuptial agreement or a “pre-nup,” allows for a couple to set the terms of their property rights for their marriage. North Carolina General Statute § 52B-4, provides for such rights which include: the rights and obligations of each of the parties in any property of either or both of them acquired, disposition of property upon separation or death, ownership rights in the disposition of the death benefit from a life insurance policy, the provisions in this agreement apply to any will or trust made, modification or elimination of spousal support.
Advantages of having a premarital agreement?
1) Protect your assets.
2) Protects you from assuming the debts of your partner.
3) Determine how the property will be passed down upon death.
4) Explains the financial rights and responsibilities during a marriage.
5) Help avoid long, costly disputes in case of divorce.
In what situations would you want a premarital agreement?
1) You are much wealthier than your partner.
2) You earn much more than you partner.
3) You are remarrying.
4) Your partner has a high debt load.
5) You own part of a business.
6) To prevent your spouse from overturning your estate plan.
If you wish to speak to a family law attorney regarding prenuptial agreements, contact Adkins Law.
What happens to you after you die is a question with no answer. What happens to your stuff, however, is much more clear. If you own property and assets, you should strongly consider drafting a will. That way you, and not your state government, can decide who gets your property and assets when you die. In most cases, wills are written legal documents, but some states do recognize other types of wills. The legal requirements of each state can vary, so it's essential that your will is drafted and executed properly. The main reason for having a will is to allocate your property to heirs in any way you like. But there are other things you can include such as funeral arrangements, legal guardians for your minor children, and who should serve as executor of your will or trustee of any trusts you create.
A Will Must Meet Certain Legal Requirements
Most wills are formal documents that instruct how money and property should be distributed to each person named as an heir. Typically, for a will to be valid, you need to have one or two people witness you signing the will and then sign it themselves. The witnesses can be anybody,; they require no special qualifications. In some states, however, wills that are handwritten or simply spoken can be legally enforceable, too.
A Will Keeps The Government Out Of It
When you die without a will, state laws known as "intestate succession laws" will decide which family members will inherit your estate and in what proportion. In most states, your spouse and children take priority under intestate succession. If you want other people to inherit some of your property, or if you want to leave everything to your spouse and children, but in different proportions than they would receive under your state’s law, a will is one of the best ways to ensure that the state won't make that decision for you.
Make It Easier On Your Family
The division of an estate after death can bring out many emotions. The slightest differences can result in hurt feeling and recriminations. As divorce becomes more complex and blended families more common, dividing assets has become even more complicated. A typical situation is when you're in a second marriage and have children from your first marriage. In this case, allocating your property purposefully between your second spouse and your children can give you peace of mind and prevent your family from fighting over your possessions.
DIY Solutions May Cause More Problems Than Solutions
The law surrounding creation of a will is complicated and nuanced. Plus, the facts of each case are unique. This article provides a brief, general introduction to the topic. For more detailed, specific information, please contact a trusts and estates lawyer.
Often people ask where they are able to bring suit for equitable distribution. A wife, for example, may continue to live in the marital home in Iredell County while her husband, who separated from her, lives in Wake County. The wife may work in Mecklenburg County and wish to move to Mecklenburg County as soon as she is able to sell the marital home. For convenience and strategy, the wife may wish to bring her equitable distribution action in Mecklenburg County. Is she able to do this?
Absolutely. The wife may bring her action in Mecklenburg County if it is more convenient. It would then be up to the husband to file a motion that venue would be improper in Mecklenburg County. This may or may not be worth it to the husband financially and strategically. Specific facts for your case will determine whether or not venue would be appropriate in Mecklenburg County or Iredell County. Likely, venue in Mecklenburg County would be fine and appropriate.
If you have question regarding equitable distribution and where venue would be appropriate, contact Adkins Law to speak with an equitable distribution attorney. Adkins Law is located in Huntersville NC and primarily serves Mecklenburg County and the Lake Norman area.
When does child support terminate in Mecklenburg County? Child support terminates in North Carolina when a child reaches eighteen years of age, except:
1. It stops sooner if the child is emancipated.
2. If a child is still in high school when the child reaches eighteen, child support payments continue until the child graduates, ceases to attend school on a regular basis, fails to make satisfactory academic progress towards graduation, or reaches age twenty, whichever comes first, unless the Court, in it’s discretion, orders that child support payments at age eighteen or prior to high school graduation.
If you have questions regarding child support or the termination of child support in Mecklenburg County, contact Adkins Law. We are located in Huntersville NC and serve the greater Charlotte area.
In North Carolina, when you separate from your child’s other parent, there are a lot of things to consider and plan for. In most cases, it is best to have a consent order entered as to your child custody arrangement, and any child support obligations. A custody order is required to enforce any agreements as to child custody.
In North Carolina, there are two kinds of child custody: legal child custody, and physical child custody. Legal child custody concerns decision making, and what parent is making such decisions as to where the minor child is attending school, what doctor and dental treatments the minor child will have, what religious practices the child will adhere to, and what extracurricular activities and events the child will participate in. Physical custody, on the other hand, concerns what parenting time each parent will spend with the minor children.
Most cases involving child custody are resolved by direct negotiations with the opposing party, and the remainder are resolved through the process of mediation. Most jurisdictions require the parties to attend a mandatory mediation before they may present their child custody case in front of a judge. Mediation is often successful as it gives the parties the ability to maintain a sense of control in resolving and settling their matter. In the event your spouse or partner is unreasonable, and unwilling to settle, your case may be forced into litigation, where the judge determines a child custody arrangement dependent upon the best interests of the minor child.
If you need to speak with a child custody attorney regarding a child custody matter, please contact Adkins Law. We are located in Huntersville NC and are happy to be of service.
Filing for an absolute divorce in Mecklenburg County requires the following:
1. At least one party must have lived in North Carolina for at least six months prior to filing for divorce.
2. The parties must have lived separate and apart for at least one year and one day prior to filing for the divorce.
3. The plaintiff (the person who is filing the lawsuit) must be able to prove that he or she served the defendant (the person who is getting sued). This is usually done by mail or sheriff.
Once I file for divorce, how long does it take?
Although it may be possible to process a divorce in a matter of days (if both parties agree to expedite and appear in person before a judge), once the plaintiff files for divorce, it takes anywhere from three to four months on average for the divorce to be finalized.
Do I have to go to court?
No, in an uncontested divorce in Mecklenburg County, neither party is required to go to court. You may select to appear in court to expedite the divorce process, or you may have your attorney handle the entire matter for you.
How much will this cost me?
Court costs for filing a divorce in Mecklenburg County are $225.00. There is also a $20.00 fee for the hearing to occur, $10.00 fee if you wish to resume your maiden name, and approximately $10.00 to $30.00 fee to serve the other party (if they do not wish to accept service).
If you need representation in filing a divorce in Mecklenburg County, contact Adkins Law. In most cases, we can get all required information over the phone, have you verify and sign the filing documents, and process the divorce without the necessity of you having to meet in person or go to court.