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Tag Archives: Domestic Relations

Domestic Relations – Custody – Visitation – Substantial Change in Circumstances – Contempt (access required)

Mull v. Mull. (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-16-0897, 7 pp.) (Sanford L. Steelman Jr., J.) Appealed from Buncombe County District Court (Rebecca B. Knight, J.) N.C. App. Unpub. Holding: A modification of a final visitation order must be supported by evidence ...

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Does $5.9M verdict show bench trials are best for heart balms? (access required)

The latest large heart-balm award - a bench verdict this time - has North Carolina practitioners debating whether judges or juries are more advantageous for plaintiffs. Pitt County Superior Court Judge W. Russell Duke awarded a jilted spouse $5,896,943, plus $865,150 in prejudgment interest, in a July verdict. Greenville attorney Cynthia A. Mills (pictured) said the facts made it the best heart-balm case she had taken in 21 years of practice.

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Domestic Relations – Alimony – Separation Agreement – Attorney’s Fees – Reasonableness (access required)

Jackson v. Penton. The trial court had the authority to award reasonable attorney's fees under the express provisions of a separation agreement; however, the amount of fees was unreasonable where they were awarded to enforce a provision of the separation agreement that was unenforceable as against public policy. Affirmed in part; reversed and remanded in part.

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Domestic Relations – Child-Support Guidelines – Retirement Benefits – Medicare & Social Security Benefits – First Impression (access required)

Caskey v. Caskey. Contributions made by an employer to an employee's retirement accounts, including any 401(k) accounts, and insurance premiums may not be included as income for the purposes of the employee's child-support obligations unless a trial court, after making the relevant findings, determines that the employer's contributions immediately support the employee in a way that is akin to income. Social Security and Medicare taxes that employers are required to make on behalf of an employee may not be considered income as applied to an employee's child-support obligations.

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Domestic Relations – Parent & Child – Termination of Parental Rights – Mother’s Substance Abuse – No GAL (access required)

In re S.R. (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-07-0865, 16 pp.) (Wanda G. Bryant, J.) Appealed from Mecklenburg County District Court. (Rickye McKoy-Mitchell, J.) N.C. App. Holding: Where (1) petitioner Youth and Family Services Division did not allege dependency as a ground ...

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