Charlotte Legal Blog

Divorce tips from people who’ve been there

Divorce often catches people by surprise. For some, it comes completely out of nowhere. For others, it is something they suspected but did not truly expect. If you are suddenly facing divorce, you might be wondering what you should do or how you should handle it.

When faced with this kind of situation, it is good to search out advice from people who have divorce experience. While certain individuals, such as your divorce attorney or therapist, can provide strong guidance, it is also a good idea to get advice from people who have been in your shoes. You might find these divorce tips useful, from people who have gone through it.

A team can help people survive divorce

People in Charlotte going through a divorce can often struggle with emotional, psychological and financial aspects of the end of a marriage. A divorce can take a while to sort out, especially in a contested court process with a series of hearings and legal developments. Throughout a divorce, the support of a team can be very important in helping affect the outcome of the process.

In a divorce that involves children or significant financial assets, there can be some form of support for everyone, including family members, an attorney, a therapist and an accountant. However, in many cases, this form of support and professional expertise is not as strong as it could be. A team of qualified professionals can be one of the most important aspects in helping a person going through divorce to achieve a positive outcome both emotionally and financially.

Divorce after retirement carries particular issues

Retirement isn't only a time for relaxation and settling down to enjoy life. As people in North Carolina and throughout the United States enjoy longer, more active and healthful retirement periods, their rate of divorce has increased over the years. The divorce rate for couples above the age of 50 has grown by 50 percent since 1987 and is continuing on an upward trend. Even though the overall American divorce rate for couples has declined in the same period, one out of four couples divorces after the age of 50. Departure from the workplace and the exit of adult children from the family home can help to bring existing fissures and tensions in a marriage to the forefront.

However, couples over 50 considering divorce also have specific concerns about the financial and logistical aspects of ending the marriage, especially those who have significant assets. Retirement planning and property division can be particularly complicated in a divorce that happens close to or after retirement. When a long-term relationship comes to an end, couples that have been married for a long time often have extensive shared investments and accounts on which both parties are planning to rely on for their retirement lifestyles.

Report reveals racial disparity in federal sentencing

Federal judges in North Carolina and around the country routinely hand down harsher sentences to African American criminal defendants than they do to white offenders, according to a report released by the U.S. Sentencing Commission. The Demographic Differences in Sentencing report, which was published by the independent judicial branch agency on Nov. 14, revealed that black men get sentences that are 19.1 percent longer on average than white males convicted of the same offenses.

The USSC report provides an insight into how the U.S. Supreme Court decision in United States v. Booker has impacted federal sentencing practices. Federal judges were required to follow guidelines laid down by the USSC prior to the 2005 Booker ruling, but the nation's highest court ruled that these guidelines could be exceeded based on facts that had been established beyond any reasonable doubt in court or admissions made by the defendant. However, the Booker ruling also allows federal appeals judges to modify unreasonably harsh sentences.

Dividing retirement accounts in divorce: Avoid pitfalls

Many couples in North Carolina try to handle their own divorces without legal help. While couples are able to get divorced on their own, they should be careful when they have retirement accounts and pensions that need to be divided.

Making mistakes when dividing retirement accounts and pensions can be very costly for people who are divorcing. If they simply withdraw the amounts that should go to their spouses, the people may face huge tax bills and early withdrawal penalties in the thousands of dollars. When retirement accounts are divided in divorces, many require that the people use specific orders called qualified domestic relations orders in order to divide them.

Reasons that couples get divorced

There are many factors that may contribute to divorces in North Carolina. One of the leading causes of divorce is infidelity. While some couples are able to overcome cheating, others may not be able to do so. Some marriages may disintegrate after a single instance of cheating while others may be able to move past multiple instances.

Money problems also are a leading cause of divorce. In addition to stress over finances, people who have incompatible spending styles may also have problems.

Should I take the breathalyzer test or not?

One moment, you're headed home from work, errands or a social event. The next, you're standing at the side of the road, trying to convince a law enforcement officer that it's safe and legal for you to be behind the wheel. Impairment while driving can put anyone else on the road at risk, so it's no surprise that North Carolina law enforcement officials do their best to deter impaired driving. That can mean a lot of frustration and inconvenience for law-abiding citizens.

You know you're not drunk or otherwise chemically impaired, but you still feel nervous about taking a chemical breath test. You've probably read or heard on the news how commonly these devices can provide inaccurate readings. Anything from diabetes to cough medicine could result in a false positive, and that's if the test unit is properly calibrated and the test is properly administered. You don't want to cause problems, but you also don't want to incriminate yourself. Should you take that test?

Black people may be treated more harshly by prosecutors

North Carolina residents may have heard that black people are disproportionately charged with crimes. A new study shows that black people also face worse treatment by prosecutors and the courts after they have been charged with criminal offenses.

A researcher at the Loyola Law School analyzed information that he gleaned from 30,807 cases in Wisconsin that were filed over a seven-year period. All of the cases were misdemeanor offenses. The researcher looked at the resolutions of the cases based on whether the defendants were black or white and found several startling things.

Online dating may result in lower divorce rates

Many residents of North Carolina have used or continue to use online dating apps in order to find their partners. While these apps have a reputation for adding to the hook-up culture, a study shows that they may actually positively affect marriages.

According to researchers at the University of Essex and the University of Vienna, married couples who met through online dating apps are less likely to end their relationships than are people who met through traditional means. In a study of 19,131 couples who met online and married, only 7 percent got divorced as compared to the U.S. divorce rate of 40 to 50 percent.

Incidents that may indicate the need for a divorce

When people are struggling with a decision about whether or not to divorce, there might be incidents that push them toward ending the marriage. One of those incidents might be a Charlotte spouse's third arrest for driving under the influence. Although the spouse may have promised many times to get treatment for alcoholism, the change in behavior may have only been temporary and the spouse might have begun drinking again. On the third arrest, the partner may decide that the marriage must end despite still loving the spouse.

Another situation that could lead to the decision to divorce is when a spouse who is physically, verbally or emotionally abusive turns that behavior toward the children. When abuse is something that starts gradually, the partner may not initially recognize it for what it is, but when it is directed toward a child, the partner may realize the seriousness of the situation.

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Charlotte, NC 28204

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