Why is Marital Standard of Living Important?

Judges evaluate marital standard of living to determine whether the alimony or child support a party is seeking is reasonable and necessary.  The expenses incurred by a dependent spouse seeking support should correlate with expenses incurred during the marriage for similar purposes. 

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Equitable Distribution, Part 2: Factors and Local Rules

The assets and debts you receive through the equitable distribution process can lay the foundation for your post-divorce lifestyle and future financial security. There are many factors a judge in North Carolina may consider when distributing a marital estate between parties.

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Equitable Distribution in 4 Easy Steps

One of my goals for 2019 is to sharpen my focus on complex equitable distribution cases.  The identification, classification, valuation and distribution of assets in equitable distribution is a sequential process that I enjoy and understand. 

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Equitable Distribution, Part 1: Classifying Property

North Carolina uses a concept known as “equitable distribution” to divide property between divorcing spouses. There are four types of property that must be identified and classified as part of the equitable distribution process: marital property, separate property, mixed property and divisible property.

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Tax Law Changes and Divorce in 2019

Tax law changes went into effect on January 1 which will impact how separating spouses negotiate agreements in the new year. If you are separating from your spouse in 2019, it is important to talk with an experienced family law attorney and a tax expert about how the new law will affect you.

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Preparing a Financial Affidavit

When preparing a financial affidavit, the best policy is to be honest and realistic. We recommend that you review and verify all financial documents that pertain to your current income and expenses, as well as drawing parallels to the marital standard of living.

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Understanding Financial Affidavits

In all legal actions that include claims for child support, post-separation support, and/or alimony, the local family court rules for Buncombe County require each party to complete and file with the court a “financial affidavit” (local Form 4). 

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Why Should I Consider a Prenuptial Agreement?

Many people think of a prenuptial agreement as a legal document used by celebrities and wealthy individuals to protect their income and assets in the event of divorce. This may foster common misconceptions about prenuptial agreements.

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Spousal Support, Part 2: Determining Alimony

How does a judge determine the amount and duration of an alimony award? One of the goals of alimony is to ensure that a dependent spouse has adequate resources to meet his or her needs in accordance with the standard of living established by the parties during their marriage.  

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Jim Siemens Included in 2019 Best Lawyers

Jim Siemens has been recognized in the 2019 edition of The Best Lawyers in America. Jim is included in Best Lawyers for his work in the practice area of Family Law.

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Spousal Support, Part 1: What is PSS?

When spouses separate, it is sometimes necessary for one spouse to provide financial support to the other spouse. North Carolina recognizes two forms of spousal support: one is post-separation support, and the other is alimony.

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On Joint Custody

I still benefit from having a look at the law each time I handle a case. How does North Carolina law guide District Court Judges to make child custody decisions? How the sentences play out in application differs across the State. In Buncombe County, joint and equal legal and physical custody is awarded frequently. 

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Jim successfully defends orders on appeal

The NC Court of Appeals published its opinion this week on a case Jim argued before a special session of the Court in October.  Jim was successful in defending equitable distribution, alimony and child support orders entered in Buncombe County last year.

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Jim Siemens argues before Court of Appeals in Sparta, NC

Jim Siemens traveled last week to the mountain town of Sparta, North Carolina to present an oral argument before the Court of Appeals. The argument was part of a special session celebrating the 50th anniversary of the NC Court of Appeals, holding a session of court in a hometown or county with a special connection for each judge. 

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What you should know about child custody in North Carolina

North Carolina courts recognize two forms of child custody: “physical custody” and “legal custody.” Physical custody refers to the right of a parent (or guardian) to have actual physical custody of the child. Legal custody refers generally to the right of a parent (or guardian) to make important decisions on behalf of a child, such as those pertaining to the child’s health, education, discipline, and religious or spiritual training.

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What you should know about child support in North Carolina

Like most states, North Carolina uses child support guidelines to help simplify the process of determining child support. North Carolina’s guidelines are based on an income shares model, which is predicated on the concept that the child should receive the same proportion of parental income that he/she would receive if the parents lived together. 

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