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Raleigh Family Law Blog

Who owns the ring when North Carolina fiances dis-engage?

Engaged couples in Raleigh can spend a lot of money getting ready for a wedding. The spending frenzy usually starts after a single, significant purchase – an engagement ring. According to the New York Times, a Jewelers of America report placed the average price of an engagement ring in 2012 at $4,000.

A couple who broke off their 14-month engagement in 2012 couldn't make that decision without the help of a judge. The man, a restaurant owner, gave the woman a diamond ring valued at $53,000. He later sent his fiancee a text message breaking off the engagement and a second text that would keep him from getting the ring back.

Congressman's ex files new contempt charge over divorce

You wouldn't rush through negotiations of a business agreement that has the power to impact your company's entire future. Why would you hurry through a divorce settlement? Some Wake County spouses might say the faster a divorce is over, the sooner they can get on with their lives.

Events leading up to the end of a former Southern governor's marriage in 2010 were more public than provisions in the politician's divorce papers. Mark Sanford's affair with a South American woman -- now his fiancee -- was widely publicized. Sanford, now a congressional representative, also has made headlines over charges he broke the terms of his divorce settlement, which were sealed by a court.

How emotions get in the way of divorce negotiations

Property ownership can be a high-tension issue for divorcing Raleigh couples. Some spouses work through child custody and alimony issues without much argument, but cannot resolve how to share marital assets and liabilities. A court can settle property division disputes, but other solutions may be less stressful and more time and cost effective.

An affluent, well-established society couple, married since 1994, decided to divorce in 2011. The husband and his wife were high-profile fashion executives for Ralph Lauren. The former spouses' asset division problems dragged on for years after the marriage ended.

Revised child support order imperils Beyonce’s half-sibling

A Wake County family court cannot change the way a person feels about being a parent. Emotions aren't governed by North Carolina statutes, but the legal duties of parents are. Children have a right to the financial support of both parents whether mothers and fathers are married, separated, divorced or unmarried.

Singer Beyonce shares the same father as a 4-year-old boy, who has been the center of a child support dispute. Alexsandra Wright, the child's mother, and Beyonce's father and former manager Mathew Knowles were never married. According to intouchweekly.com, the pop singer severed ties with her father's music company in 2011, a loss of revenue that later factored into the support battle.

North Carolina divorce rates may not be as low as you think

Research has shown a largely improving marital climate, at least compared to the time when baby boomers were young adults. In 1995, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that he divorce rate across the U.S. had taken a turn for the better after more than doubling between 1966 and 1981. The divorce rate appeared to be on a downward trajectory.

A new study indicates that the divorce rate hasn't really declined as much as it has shifted among demographic groups. Researchers learned that statistics were superficial and neglected to tell the whole story about the success of couples' relationships. A little digging into demographics uncovered surprising revelations, especially concerning the youngest and oldest couples.

North Carolina child support enforcement gets electronic update

Government resources are available to ensure Raleigh parents live up to financial obligations for their children. The Child Support Enforcement Program in Wake County locates non-custodial parents, aids with paternity issues and establishes and enforces child support orders. More than $47 million in child support was collected by the county program in 2012 for over 22,500 families.

Social service agencies work with police to find parents whose child support payments are overdue. Until recently, Forsyth County was dependent upon paperwork for communications about child support cases between the Department of Social Services and law enforcers. The system had its share of inefficiency problems.

Putting emotions in perspective during a North Carolina divorce

Life's hardships sometimes occur when a person feels least able to deal with them. The emotional suffering many Wake County spouses experience during divorce is real and often bewildering. The desire to get beyond a stressful life event is natural, but the urge to hurry can influence decisions that impact post-marital life for years to come.

Spouses have to make hard end-of-marriage choices about child custody and support, alimony and property division. It's not uncommon to feel like giving in to the wishes of an ex-spouse, just to be done with the settlement negotiations so you can move on. Financial and legal advisers offer guidance that keeps emotionally-distressed spouses from making regrettable decisions.

Social media’s negative influence on a North Carolina divorce

What you say is less important than how you act, or is it? Wake County couples aren't the only ones who use the Internet to share their thoughts and lives. Blogs and social media are conduits for free expression, but comments and images may have a wider audience during divorce than you realize.

Like therapy, social media offers a catharsis. The emotions you express in front of a counselor stay private. Rants about a divorce on Facebook or Twitter are open and accessible to the public including your ex, his or her divorce lawyer and a family law court.

Resources available for adoptive parents in Raleigh

Wake County families who want to adopt a child may be concerned about finances. It's not unusual for prospective parents to invest more than $10,000 before the process is complete. Ninety-three percent of overseas adoptions fall into that range and so do one-third of adoptions within the U.S.

Resources are available to help North Carolina adoptive parents. The Department of Health and Human Resources reported more than half of 940 major American employers in 2008 and 2009 offered some form of adoption benefits -- typically helpful information, leave policies or financial assistance. Some employers offered lump sums, while others reimbursed expenses or pitched in under particular circumstances, like special needs adoptions.

Study: Pre-marital cohabiting doesn’t increase divorce risk

The National Center for Health Statistics released a report last year about the U.S. state of cohabitation. Federal researchers learned nearly half of more than 12,000 women interviewed, ages 15 to 44, entered a "first union" by living unmarried with men. Forty-eight percent of respondents in the 2006 to 2010 study had cohabited, while just 23 percent said their first joint relationship venture was marriage.

A new University of North Carolina cohabitation study, based on an analysis of federal statistics, had a myth-busting conclusion. The study found cohabiting didn't increase the divorce risk. Researchers said couples who lived together before marriage were not and have never been more likely than those who didn't cohabit to divorce.

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