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Debt in Equitable DistributionFamily court judges are charged with the responsibility of categorizing assets and debts, determining their value, and distributing them in a fair, equitable manner.

That’s how Equitable Distribution works in North Carolina.

And while that may seem rather straightforward or even obvious, such matters can be deceptively complex.

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Red Flag Laws in NCAccording to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, there are approximately 20,000 daily calls to Domestic Violence (DV) hotlines.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports “gun availability” results in a substantially higher incidence of domestic homicides.

In intimate partner relationships, the abusive partner’s access to a gun increases the chances of murder on women (femicide), making it anywhere to 5x – 8x more likely.  When guns are involved, statistics indicate abusers inflict the most damaging and severe forms of domestic abuse.

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Equitable Distribution in NCWill Jeff Bezos still be the “worlds richest man” after getting divorced?  Maybe.  A lot depends on whether Bezos and his wife executed a contract that is often referred to as a Prenup or Pre-Nuptial agreement.

Of course, Jeff Bezos may not have been the world’s richest man in the first place.  It’s likely he was a part of the world’s richest couple.

All the money earned at Amazon probably isn’t “his.”  Instead, it’s reasonable to assume the billions from Amazon is theirs.

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Divorce Attorney Charlotte NCResearching divorce and divorce lawyers is often an emotional but important first step.  Considering your legal options is a good idea, especially if you’re not entirely certain you even if want to try separation or possibly end the marriage.

There are a lot of things to consider in addition to the relationship itself. Distribution of your marital estate can be extraordinarily complicated.

You might not realize the entire value of individual and marital assets until looking at things holistically, considering the totality of circumstances.

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Show Cause Contempt of CourtFailure to pay child support in North Carolina may result in a Show Cause Order and Civil Contempt proceedings.

Once entered, the Burden of Proof shifts, requiring the defendant/respondent to show why he or she should not be held in civil contempt of court.

Family law attorneys may refer to that person as the “contemnor.”

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Equitable-Distribution-and-Gifts-200x200Can a house be a “gift?”  What is Marital Property? Under the family laws for NC Equitable Distribution and Gifts, a Charlotte home (Denver NC residence) was determined to be marital property in Bond v. Manfredo.

Equitable Distribution involves the classification and distrubution of things like homes, bank accounts, personal property, 529 College Savings Plans, and retirement accounts.  It is relatively complicated and often involves substantial sums of money – Bill Powers, Charlotte Divorce Attorney 

Property distribution as part of a divorce is handled pursuant to North Carolina General Statutes and is not part of Common Law.  Under N.C.G.S. Chapter 50, the family law statute, in handling the equitable distribution of what divorce lawyers may refer to as the “marital estate” or “marital property” (marital assets), the judge is required to follow a 3-step process:

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529-Savings-Plans-200x200Equitable Distribution:  529 Savings Plans

In an Equitable Distribution NC proceeding, how does the Family Court judge classify college savings plans?  Specifically, are 529 Savings Plans, funded during the marriage and using marital funds, classified as a marital asset, divisible property, or separate property?

In a case of first impression clarifying Equitable Distribution, the North Carolina Court of appeals classified savings pursuant to 529 Savings Plans a marital asset, and therefore subject to distribution – Bill Powers, Charlotte Family Law Attorney 

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Charlotte-Child-Custody-and-Contempt-of-Court-200x200The North Carolina Court of Appeals ruled this week on a longstanding Charlotte child custody and contempt of court legal issue, described as, “an exceptionally contentious and prolonged custody battle” between a father and mother in Mecklenburg County Family Court.  Litigation began in January 2007 involving the custody of two children, one of whom has since “aged out” and has been the subject of various Show Cause Orders, Motions to Show Cause, Charlotte child custody and Contempt of Court proceedings since he was 11 years old.

Another daughter, who is now 17, is the subject of the present appeal in the Charlotte Family Court matter entitled Grissom v. Cohen.  To download a copy of the NC Court of Appeals opinion as published on October 2, 2018, see:  Charlotte Contempt of Court Child Custody 2018

The extent and nature of the litigation in the matter is remarkable, involving four different Charlotte Family Court Judges, 600+ findings of fact in 2 Custody Orders and at least two full child custody trials in Mecklenburg County.  While truly extraordinary in scope and duration, it does serve as an example of the lengths to which parents will fight for child custody and visitation in Charlotte – Bill Powers, Divorce Lawyer Charlotte NC 

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Custody4-200x200The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) is a uniform law drafted by the Uniform Law Commission in 1997. The UCCJEA encompasses a set of guidelines for courts to follow in their determination of child custody. To date, the law has been adopted by 49 states and Washington, DC. The UCCJEA breaks down legal and physical custody, sole and joint custody, grandparent visitation rights as well as factors to assess custodial rights.

Legal and Physical Custody

The law has divided custodial rights into two categories (legal and physical custody). Legal custody is the right and obligation to make decisions about the child’s well-being and upbringing. These include decisions regarding the child’s schooling, medical care and religious activities. Many states normally permit both parents to share legal custody of the child depending on the circumstances of the custody case. Physical custody is the right of a parent to have a child reside with him or her. There are two forms of physical and legal custody: sole or joint custody.

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LGBT_Marriage-200x200The applicability of federal law in a country where each state is its own sovereign can cause some complexity for issues such as same-sex marriage. Marriage is under the ambit of state law, however, where the federal law interprets state law as a violation of constitutional rights, states must yield to the federal interpretation of the law. Same-sex couples seeking to marry have to gain a clear understanding of the marriage laws governing their jurisdiction. North Carolina is an example of a state where some complexity exists.

Same-Sex Marriage Under Federal Law


To fully understand state law, individuals must understand its relationship to the federal law. On June 26, 2015, same-sex marriage was pronounced as legal nationwide in the landmark case of Obergefell v. Hodges. In that case, the Supreme Court of the United States held that same-sex marriage was a guarantee under the Due Process Clause and Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution. With this ruling, same-sex marriages were recognized in all 50 states and Washington D.C. As of today, about seven counties in Texas and Alabama do not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

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