A special needs trust supplements any benefits the person with special needs may receive from the government without risking their eligibility for government assistance.
People who have special needs often receive assistance from the government in the form of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid. These forms of government assistance are typically only available to individuals that have $2,000 or less to their name, which may not be the case if they come into money through an inheritance. People who are disabled and qualify for SSI have physical and/or mental conditions that result in “marked and severe functional limitations”.
The purpose of a special needs trust is to assist beyond what government programs can handle. Some examples of how the trust can be used include home health aids, rehabilitation, education, transportation and medical or dental care that is not covered by government benefits.
What are the benefits of a Special Needs Trust?
A trust creates a third party entity to assist your loved one after your death by creating a buffer of sorts between the inheritance and the beneficiary. This has the effect of allowing you to leave money to your disabled loved one without risking their right to collect SSI benefits, or risking the money in the trust being taken by the government to cover medical expenses.
There are several different types of trusts that range from one person taking responsibility for distributing funds, to a pooled trust that is run by a non- profit. To discuss your options and whether a Special Needs Trust is right for your family, contact Adkins Law today to set up a consult.
Undeniably, many families in the US experience serious domestic problems that often necessitate legal interventions. Just like other states of the US, North Carolina (NC) too has its unique laws, under the North Carolina General Statutes (NCGS), that govern all the family matters and that are applicable across its respective regions including Mecklenburg County and all the regions within such counties such as Cornelius, Davidson, and Huntersville in Mecklenburg County. As such, it is crucial for all persons residing within NC, particularly in Mecklenburg County to know the fundamentals of family law in NC likely to affect them such as separation and divorce, alimony, child support, and child custody.
Noteworthy, separation and divorce (NCGS § 50) are two different concepts under North Carolina’s family law statutes. A legal separation does not end one’s marriage. Instead, a legal separation lets the parties remain married but live separately. Marital misconduct may come into play here if a party wants to file an action for a forced legal separation. However, for an action for a forced legal separation (divorce from bed and board) to succeed, the complainant must provide evidence establishing that the spouse was at fault including cruelty, adultery, and indignities, etc.
Significantly, although one can legally separate at whatever time, the parties must have been physically separated for a minimum period of one (1) year to succeed in a no-fault divorce. As such, one must meet the legal definition of “separation” to file a divorce case. Merely living in different rooms of the same house or living in separate houses but maintaining the appearance of a relationship does not qualify as a legal separation under the state’s law. If the couple reconciles, the separation period terminates. Additionally, another option other than separation exists, though rarely pursued. Here, the law allows a partner to file for divorce after being lawfully separated for three (3) years and believes that the other partner suffers from untreatable lunacy.
Alimony, child support, and child custody are also NC family law issues. According to NCGS § 50-16.3A, alimony is the act of paying for the upkeep and maintenance of a partner, either through a lump-sum or on an ongoing basis provided by the supporting spouse to the dependent spouse. In Mecklenburg County, forinstance, the general rule is that a dependent spouse is the one earning less income, though the NCGS contains sixteen factors (NCGS § 50-16.3A) that guide the court in making such a determination. When it comes to child custody in NC, the most common reference usually made is “the best interest of the child.” Here, the judge (not a jury) hears the evidence presented before the court and decides how the parents, either jointly or individually, will share time with the children and make decisions impacting the lives of the children.
Often, the court appoints joint physical custody of the children to the parents. Sometimes the court will award one parent as having main physical custody while the other having ancillary physical custody accompanied with a visitation schedule. One parent is usually ordered to pay the other parent child support. Such support is usually assessed using the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines, especially if the combined yearly income of the two prior to taxation amounts to $300,00.00 or less (though also dependent on the custodial schedule), and such a support lasts until the child turns 18 years and graduates high school, or the child is lawfully emancipated. If you need to speak with an experienced family law attorney, contact Adkins Law.
I’m the Father?!
For a couple who has been trying to get pregnant, the sentence “you’re the father” will often be received as exciting news. But for all of the frat boys, famous rappers, and casual daters of the world, this may be your worst nightmare. So, what do you do if a paternity action is brought against you?
What is a paternity action?
A paternity action is a legal suit that is used to establish the paternity of a child that can be brought by the mother or a state agency if the mother is receiving state financial assistance. In this proceeding, the judge will hear evidence as to why the mother believes that you are the father of her child and will often order genetic testing. This testing will be done by a laboratory chosen by the court. If the genetic match is 97% or higher, you are the father!
What does it mean to be the legal father?
Establishing legal paternity comes with several obligations and benefits, including paying child support, and having the right to visit with your child.
What should my next steps be?
If a paternity action is brought against you, you will have the opportunity to file an answer with the court stating why you believe you are not the father. You should contact Adkins Law ASAP to set up a consult to help you through this process.
1) How long do we have to be separated before we can file for divorce?
You can file for divorce “if and when the husband and wife have lived separate and apart for one year, and the plaintiff or defendant in the suit for divorce has resided in the State for a period of six (6) months.”
2) How long will the whole process take once the complaint is filed?
It depends. When the plaintiff files a complaint for absolute divorce, a defendant is entitled to 30 days to respond. If a defendant fails to respond to the complaint within 30 or 60 days if applicable, the plaintiff is entitled to proceed with their claim for absolute divorce.
3) What if I am in the military and live out of state? Can the divorce still be filed in NC?
Yes! As long as there is one party that resides in North Carolina for a minimum of six months. The divorce will have to be filed in the county the resident resides in.
5) Is spousal support available while divorce is pending in court?
It is up to the court to order that one spouse provide support to the other during the pending stages of the divorce.
6) When is it considered abandonment by a spouse?
Abandonment occurs when a spouse intentionally moves out of the martial home with the intent to remain permanently apart without the consent of the other spouse.
7) Is your spouse entitled to alimony if they cheated?
No! A spouse that is found dependent by the court is not entitled to alimony if they have had sexual relations with another person that is not their spouse at any time prior to the date of separation.
8) What if my spouse does not agree to the divorce, can I still move forward with the divorce complaint?
You can obtain a divorce decree whether your spouse agrees with it or not. There are just two requirements: you and your spouse have to have been separated for one-year and one of you has to have been a resident of North Carolina for 6-months prior to the filing of the divorce.
Adkins Law specializes in Family Law and is prepared to help you with your divorce. We understand you may have more questions before you proceed with a divorce that is why we offer consultations. Give our office a call to schedule your consultation.
There are several different types of Child Custody:
How is Custody Determined?
Court will decide where the child will live and what type of custody will or should be awarded to each parent. If the parents have come to an agreement, the courts will often take that into consideration before making the decision for the family and the child.
If no agreement can be made, then the court will choose based on the “best interests” of the child. The court considers a wide variety of factors to determine the best arrangement for custody of the child.
The factors the courts consider:
Adkins Law can help you understand any and all complexities of your child custody case. Call Adkins Law today for more information and to schedule a consultation.
Estate Planning is one of the most important yet neglected aspects of personal finance. When dealing with our own mortality, people tend to procrastinate. It isn't very pleasant to think about death and what will happen to our family and our finances after we pass away. Having a basic estate plan, at the minimum, is essential to ensuring that your family is cared for after you are no longer here and your finances are distributed in the way that you desire. This plays a significant role in reducing stress and frustration for your loved ones in the event of your incapacitation or death.
Below are 4 reasons Estate Planning is so important:
1) Prevents your assets from going to Unintended Beneficiaries
A main component in estate planning is designating places for your assets. This can be your home or your stocks. Without an estate plan, the courts will decide who gets your assets. This is a process that can take years and can get ugly without a clear plan.
2) Protects your Family and Your Children
In order to ensure that your children are taken care of, after your passing. You will want to name their guardians in the event that both parents die before the children turn 18. Without this the courts can step in and make the decision for you. This could potentially determine who raises your child up until they turn 18 years old.
3) Stops your Family from having to Overpay in taxes
Estate planning can reduce all of the federal and state estate taxes or the state inheritance tax. Without a plan this can be very costly to your loved ones if you were to pass.
4) Eliminates the mess when you pass
By creating a plan this enables you and gives you the opportunity to make a plan for your finances and assets after your passing. By planning in advance it ensures that you have made the right financial decisions for you and your family.
If you need to make a plan to protect your family. Adkins Law located in Huntersville, NC can help you. Call today to set up your FREE Estate Planning consultation.
Below is the process of filing for a restraining order also known as a Domestic Violence Protective Order or a Civil No-Contact Order.
1. Go to the courthouse:
Go to the office of the clerk of civil court or the magistrate’s office. Tell them you need to file for a restraining order, protective order, DVPO or Civil No-Contact Order. They should make sure you get the forms you need.
2. Fill out the complaint in detail:
(Do not sign it until you are before a notary or clerk of court)
Just remember: you are the plaintiff and the abuser is the defendant.
When filing out the paperwork be sure to provide a brief but complete summary of the most recent abuse you have suffered make sure to use specifics and details. Provide the dates that the incident(s) occurred.
The key is to give a clear picture of the abuse to the judge who will decide your case. You also want the judge to know what relief you are seeking.
3. Fill out the summons:
In addition to being served the complaint, your abuser will need to be served summons to appear in court. Try to include the abuser’s name, address and other contact information in the paperwork, if known. The sheriff’s office will serve the complaint and summons on the abuser. The sheriff’s office also will serve the notice of hearing and a copy of the temporary protective order.
You can help the sheriff’s office by filling out a form that identifies your abuser. This identification can include:
(Physical characteristics (height, weight, hair color, eye color),Driver’s license number, Social Security number, and/or Employment address)
You will also need to list your name and a safe mailing address and phone number.
Because the sheriff serves the abuser, you do not need to have contact with him/her. If the sheriff’s office cannot serve your abuser on time, your hearing will be rescheduled.
4. Seek a temporary protective order:
At the time you fill out the complaint and summons, you can also seek an ex parte/temporary protective order. This means that the abuser does not need to be present for a hearing. You can request it by checking a box on your complaint form. Then you go before a judge and explain why you or your children are in immediate danger and why this order is needed.
This is an emergency order.
Once it is granted, it takes effect immediately and typically lasts 10 days (which just the right amount of time for you to pursue a permanent order).
Keep this order with you at all times. Leave copies with your employer, your child’s school or daycare, and everywhere else you or your children can be found during a typical day.
5. Attend the hearing:
When you file the complaint/summons, you will be given a date and time for the hearing on your order. Your abuser will receive a notice of the hearing with this information.
You must attend the hearing. Your abuser has a right to attend as well. If the abuser does not attend, the court may proceed or elect to reschedule the hearing. You should have an attorney representing you at this hearing. At the hearing, you will need to show the court that the abuser has committed an act of domestic violence, stalking or nonconsensual sexual conduct. If the court finds that this has occurred, the court must grant the order
If you are in need of representation for your hearing, Adkins Law can help you. Christopher Adkins and Sarah Bennett are attorney's in the Lake Norman area that specialize in Family Law and can help you. Call our office today to set up a consultation with one of our attorney's.
You are legally separated from your spouse if you move out of the marital residence with the intent of remaining separate and apart. Once you remain separate and apart from your spouse for a year and a day, you are eligible to file for an absolute divorce. Once the absolute divorce is granted, all bonds of marriage are terminated between you and your spouse. If you need to speak to a family law attorney in regards to a separation and / or divorce, contact Adkins Law. Adkins Law has locations in Huntersville and south Charlotte.