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Charlotte Family Law Blog

North Carolina man awarded $8.8 million after destroyed marriage

In most states, cheating is simply frowned upon. Such an act might get a tap on the wrist or a waving finger. It’s a different story in North Carolina. If a marriage falls apart, sometimes a judge might decide who will pay the price.

Can I get punitive damages for my heart balm claim?

Despite being the subject of periodic criticism and skepticism from various quarters, heart balm claims are alive and well in North Carolina, presumably for good reasons.

Cheating and extramarital affairs, after all, do cause a lot of emotional heartache, and while they cannot restore marriage, heart balm claims can help a spouse feel that their pain has been acknowledged and justice has been served in some way.

May I ask for my alimony order to be changed or ended?

As the result of a formal divorce or a long-term separation, many Charlotte, North Carolina, residents will wind up paying alimony or spousal support to their former partner. Oftentimes, this may be done by agreement, perhaps as part of a package-deal negotiation between the two parties.

Even in the event of an agreement, however, North Carolina law allows someone who is paying alimony to ask the court who awarded it, or signed off on it as the case may be, to change or even eliminate the obligation altogether.

How much proof do I need for a heart balm claim?

As this blog has discussed previously, heart balm claims are still alive and well in North Carolina. To review, in this state, one party to a marriage can sue someone outside the marriage for either having sexual relations with one's spouse or, as is more common, simply acting in such a way that breaks the marriage up.

The latter situation can give rise to an alienation of affection claim. With this type of lawsuit, a person who was enjoying a happy marriage can sue a so-called home wrecker for emotional damages resulting from the third party's interference. Perhaps in part for this very reason, however, Charlotte residents who have been involved in an affair are often mum about their activities.

More on parental alienation and parental alienation syndrome

A previous post on this blog talked about how one half of a former celebrity couple has apparently been alienating the other parent from the children.

As this post mentioned, experts suggest that parents who engage in a pattern of pitting their children against the other parent are doing a great deal of psychological harm to their kids. Parents can pit their children against the other parent in a number of ways, including making negative comments about the other parent or intentionally keeping the other parent from having the time they need to build up a relationship with their children.

The consequences of parental alienation

Parental alienation is a term that has come into popularity thanks to the ongoing custody battle between Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Surprisingly, this celebrity couple is fairly representative of the struggles many divorcing couples go through. The one major caveat being assets, of course!

They are like many divorcing couples in that they built a family on the seemingly strong foundation of their relationship. Overtime, life became more complicated and the foundation began to crumble. In the case of Pitt and Jolie, the soured relationship is beginning to impact the children.

How alimony and spousal support orders are enforced

As previous posts on this blog have discussed, alimony and spousal support make up an important part of the divorce or separation process in North Carolina. Judges have broad discretion to issue alimony awards, and they often do so with an eye toward providing for a spouse's basic financial needs or making sure that, overall, their orders are fair and treat the parties even-handedly.

This is why it is almost always a frustrating experience when one spouse simply decides to ignore the court's orders and not pay alimony or spousal support. Oftentimes, the failure to do so may come in the wake of a barrage of excuses that do not really add up when one thinks about them.

Overview of visitation rights in North Carolina

Many parents in Charlotte, North Carolina live in separate homes and thus must share their children. When this happens, parents will usually either have a custody and visitation arrangement that will specify when each parent will have the child. Alternatively, the court will issue its own order setting up a parenting schedule. In situations other than a true joint custody arrangement, one parent will get custody and the other parent will generally have visitation rights.

As with other legal issues involving children, the specific contours of a parent's visitation rights will depend on what the court sees as the best interest of the children. As such, there are not black and white rules as to how much time a parent will get, as that will depend on a number of things, like the parents' jobs, how the old the children are, and where the parents each live.

Heart balm claims and social media

As this blog has discussed on previous occasions, so-called heart balm claims are alive and well in North Carolina. To review, a Charlotte resident can file a heart balm claim against a third party who has an affair with his or her spouse or who otherwise engages in behavior that disrupts a happy marriage.

In today's age, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media play an important role in heart balm claims. After all, family lawyers and spouses going through a divorce or separation have discovered that these social media sites can store valuable, and sometimes damning, information about the other party.

Schools out for Summer

What can be a joyous time for some children and parents--the last day of school--can be filled with fear and anxiety for others. We know that this time of year brings increased litigation around summer schedules, travel details and passports. Don't hesitate to contact us if you're feeling stuck or pressured. Please also follow us at @queenofcustody on Instagram for inspiration on this coparenting journey.

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