North Carolina Law Blog

When divorce affects other aspects of your life

For some people, divorce can be a challenging process, bringing courtroom stress, financial concerns about alimony or property division and fears regarding custody and how the divorce may affect kids. However, it is very important to remember that divorce can affect other aspects of life as well, both on a professional and personal level. For example, someone may experience problems at work due to their divorce or they may lose interest in activities and hobbies that they have enjoyed for many years.

Fortunately, there are a number of ways in which people can reduce the potentially negative impact of the divorce process. Sometimes, divorce can lead to numerous positive changes in one’s life, giving them a fresh start, more free time, the ability to pursue new opportunities and even financial freedom. By carefully going over the different options that may be on the table, you could have a less complicated divorce and an easier time moving forward in your life.

Is speeding really that dangerous?

Some of the dangers associated with traveling at a fast speed were recognized early in history. The first speed-limit law in the United States was set in in 1652 to prohibit wagons, carts and sleighs from being driven at a gallop within what would eventually become New York City. In 1901, Connecticut passed the first state law regulating the allowed speed limit of motor vehicles. The speed limit was set at just 12 miles per hour in cities.

Today, speed limits are common throughout the country, but many drivers choose to ignore speed limit laws. Drivers who are caught speeding often blame their behavior on traffic congestion and running late. However, speeding can result in much more serious consequences than being late or receiving a speeding ticket.

Custody disputes, depression and other emotional challenges

For parents who are going through a child custody dispute, the ordeal can be very overwhelming emotionally. Parents may worry about their child’s future and how the outcome of the dispute could affect their child’s emotional state, and they may also be concerned about how their relationship with their child will be impacted by the court’s decision. This emotional strain can be very debilitating, and some parents find themselves virtually unable to function because of the intense emotions that they are dealing with, such as anger, anxiety and depression.

Unfortunately, depression can get in the way of a parent’s pursuit of custody and other facets of their life. For example, a parent who becomes depressed due to a custody dispute may encounter problems with respect to their career and they may have a more difficult time dealing with other family law matters as well. If you are feeling depressed due to a custody dispute (or the outcome of such a dispute), it is imperative to do your best to handle these feelings properly and move forward, as tough as that can be.

Real vs. personal property in intestate succession

Those in Smithfield who have yet to tackle their estate planning are not alone; a number of American adults seem to be hesitant to begin the process of planning how their end-of-life are to be handled. Indeed, study data shared by the American Association of Retired Persons shows that as much as 60 percent of American adults do not have a will. Many may not know this, but the state has laws which detail how one's assets are to be dispersed if they die intestate (without a will). Understanding exactly what the state's intestate succession guidelines are may help one see what limitations their lack of estate planning may impose as to who can benefit from their assets. 

North Carolina's intestate succession guidelines begin in Section 29-14 of the state's General Statutes by detailing what one's surviving spouse is entitled to. If a decedent has no surviving descendants, then their spouse is entitled to all of their real property. If they are survived by one descendant or their parents, then the spouse's interests in their real property is reduced to one-half (with the remaining going to the aforementioned parties). If there is more than one surviving descendant, then the spouse's share is reduced further to one-third, with the remaining portion divided equally amongst the surviving descendants. 

Involuntary intoxication as a DUI defense

We should always have control over the substances that we choose to put in our body. Bottles of alcohol in a store must display their alcoholic quantity, and food packaging should display nutritional information. When we get behind the wheel of a car, it is expected that we are aware of whether we are under the influence of alcohol or not.

If you have been accused of driving under the influence of alcohol but you were not aware of being over the limit at the time, you should investigate the possible defenses at your disposal. If you consider yourself a responsible drinker who always avoids driving under the influence, you may have been a victim of involuntary intoxication. If you can prove this, you may be able to successfully use this as part of your defense.

Understanding negligent entrustment

Holding one accountable for causing a car accident in Smithfield may seem difficult, yet it may be necessary in order for you to get the compensation needed to adequately deal with the expenses you might be left with. Yet oftentimes the issue of liability is not exactly "cut-and-dry." For example, many come to us here at Daughtry, Woodard, Larence & Starling questioning who is liable in cases where the driver who caused the accident was using a borrowed vehicle. The answer to that question depends entirely on the unique circumstances of the incident. 

Typically, if the negligent actions an another caused your accident, that party (and that party alone) is liable. Yet if said party was using another's vehicle, then the issue of negligent entrustment may come into play. This legal principle allows vicarious liability to be assigned to a person who loaned their vehicle to another. Yet it is not the fact that a person loaned out a vehicle that invokes liability; rather, it is what a vehicle owner knew (or should have known) about the driver that invites it. 

Creating a parenting plan that minimizes conflict

When going through a breakup as a parent, it can be easy to worry that your child will suffer. While children can suffer with pain and sadness as a result of parental inconsistencies and broken relationships, it does not have to be this way.

As their parent, you can make sure that your child remains in a safe and loving environment. It is important to remember that a child is likely to be happier when parents are separated but thriving than when they are together but in conflict.

How to estate plan after a remarriage

If you are in your second or subsequent marriage and you and your spouse have decided that now is the time to firm up your estate plans, you will want to learn as much as you can about a range of tools that might be appropriate for your situation. For blended families in North Carolina, a simple will may not be the recommended approach to an estate plan as it may not be able to accommodate all the complexities involved in the varying familial relationships.

As described by Forbes, great care is required when you need to balance leaving assets for your biological children and taking care of your spouse should you be the one to die first. There are specific types of trusts that may help you achieve your goal of providing for your spouse but still ensuring that some assets are left for your children after your spouse dies. Even if your spouse and your children have positive relationships now, you cannot foretell how things might change after your death when discussions turn to who will be inheriting what.

Is estate planning necessary for young people?

As a young North Carolina resident, you may not think you need a will if you do not yet have children or significant financial assets. However, there are many important benefits to estate planning, no matter how old you are. Taking the time to create an estate plan makes it possible for you to have more control over your medical care, digital assets and other property.

North Carolina allows you to make a will if you are at least 18 years old and are of sound mind. Additionally, this state is one of the few that allows handwritten wills, as long as you write and sign it yourself and keep it in a safe place with your other valuables. If you choose to create a handwritten will, it may receive more intense scrutiny than an official typed document.

Who should you choose to be your executor?

Your estate – your property and assets along with your debts that you leave behind after you die – is one of the most challenging legal situations you might never find yourself in.

The status of your estate may not matter to you after you shuffle off this mortal coil, but it will matter to those who are left behind. That’s why you need to name a qualified executor for your estate.

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Smithfield, NC 27577

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Clinton, NC 28328

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