Family Law Research DIY


If you want to investigate North Carolina family law on your own, you can find most of the rules that the legislature has made for family law cases on the North Carolina General Assembly’s website.

As an important side note, you should know that each of these rules (in legalese, “statutes”) has been interpreted or explained by the North Carolina Court of Appeals and/or the North Carolina Supreme Court. These explanations of the rules come in the form of written “decisions” by those courts (these decisions are also commonly referred to as “case law” and “common law”). So, in order to have a full understanding of many of the rules, you have to also review the interpretations issued by the courts. Understanding the rules as well as the court’s written interpretation of the rules is a very large part of what makes a family lawyer a valuable resource for you.

Add to Technorati FavoritesIf you are interested in legal representation, please contact me by email or at (919) 781-1311. You can also find me at www.nichollscrampton.com (this site currently being updated).

Please note that nothing on this blog should be considered legal advice and that viewing the information on this blog does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. You are advised to consult with an attorney to confirm the current state of any legal information contained in this blog, as the law constantly changes.

You Can Now Follow Me on Technorati.com

By posting this code: p4iyz938th I am officially placing this blog on Technorati.com. I encourage you to follow my blog at this site, or through Technorati.com.

If you are interested in legal representation, please contact me by email or at (919) 781-1311. You can also find me at www.nichollscrampton.com (this site currently being updated).

Please note that nothing on this blog should be considered legal advice and that viewing the information on this blog does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. You are advised to consult with an attorney to confirm the current state of any legal information contained in this blog, as the law constantly changes.

Is Your Lawyer a Skilled Negotiator?


If you are in the market for an attorney to help you with a family law matter, then you need to make sure that the attorneys you are considering are skilled negotiators. This is true for alimony, post-separation support, child custody, child support, equitable distribution and other types of family law cases. One of the little known secrets about the legal profession is that at least 50% of what a family lawyer does in a day consists of negotiation. That being the case, having a skilled negotiator as your attorney provides you with a greatly increased chance of resolving your case without the time, expense and emotional trauma of going to court. A good family law attorney should also be experienced in the court room and be willing to pursue a case in court if necessary. However, I strongly believe that an attorney should not counsel a client to allow a judge to make decisions for their family unless and until the attorney has done everything they can do to reach an agreed resolution outside of court. Going to court takes all control out of the hands of the client and puts it squarely in the hands of a judge that knows neither the client, nor the client’s family.

Therefore, having an attorney that has actual negotiation skill (as opposed to just experience) is crucial to obtaining the best possible outcome in your case. Many attorneys have experience negotiating. Some have been doing it for decades. But, do not confuse experience with skill. Skill requires possessing knowledge of specific negotiation techniques and strategies. Experience requires neither technique nor knowledge. Acquiring skill as a negotiator requires obtaining training in the many types of negotiation settings (mediation, collaborative law, direct negotiation between attorneys, etc…). It further requires that attorneys obtain training on specific skills such as how to deal with cooperative negotiators, aggressive negotiators, difficult negotiators and unskilled negotiators. It also requires that the attorney study his her own personality and negotiation style to pinpoint their own strengths and weaknesses. Only then can the attorney capitalize on their strengths and bolster their weaknesses. Few attorneys actually obtain training in negotiation and therefore few attorneys actually possess the skills necessary to obtain the best result in your case. Instead many simply rely on their “experience” or “gut”, instead of skill, in trying to resolve your case. This leads to a premature breakdown of negotiations, an increase in hostility and a stranger making the rules for the intimate details of life for you and your family.

If you are looking for an family law attorney, I encourage you to inquire into that attorney’s specific training in negotiation. Don’t rely on their experience alone to help you resolve your case.

Tre’ Morgan is an experienced family law attorney with extensive negotiating training and education to help you obtain the best possible outcome in your case. He is a North Carolina Dispute Resolution Commission Certified Mediator, has trained in the Collaborative Law process and has studied and is trained in numerous other negotiation skills and techniques. He continues to actively supplement his negotiation skills through education, training and daily negotiation in family law cases.

If you are interested in legal representation, please contact me by email or at (919) 781-1311. You can also find me at www.nichollscrampton.com (this site currently being updated).

Please note that nothing on this blog should be considered legal advice and that viewing the information on this blog does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. You are advised to consult with an attorney to confirm the current state of any legal information contained in this blog, as the law constantly changes.

HOW TO AVOID IDENTITY THEFT


An issue that is important for all clients, regardless of they type of case they have is protecting their identity. Attorneys often receive personal information including financial information from clients in the course of their representation. This information is carefully guarded by lawyers and remains secure.

The biggest identity theft threat is from criminals that make a living by stealing personal information from innocent victims. Here are some tips on avoiding the theft of your identity:

1. Protect your Social Security Number: Do not carry your Social Security card in your wallet. When asked for your Social Security number, find out why it is needed and how it is kept confidential. Do not print your Social Security number on your checks.

2. Protect Financial Information: Review monthly credit card statements for unusual charges. Use automatic deposit whenever possible. It is illegal for stores to print receipts with your full credit card number; destroy the receipts and report the store to the Attorney General’s office if this happens to you.

3. Protect Passwords: Do not carry PIN numbers in your wallet or purse. Do not share your PINs with others. Do not use easy to guess passwords like family member names, birthdays, phone numbers, etc…Choose a different PIN for each account.

4. Protect Your Mail: Call 1-888-5OPT-OUT to stop pre-approved credit card bills from being mailed to you. Do not leave your mail sitting in your mailbox longer than necessary. Put outgoing payments in a locked postal service mailbox instead of your curbside mailbox. Avoid placing checks in the mail whenever possible. Use automatic draft or debits instead. You can cut down on junk mail by sending a letter with your first and last name, home address and signature to Mail Preference Service, Direct Marketing Association, P.O. Box 643, Carmel, NY 10512.

5. Check Your Credit Report: You get one free credit report per year from each national credit reporting bureau. Visit www.annualcreditreport.com to receive your free annual report. This site should not be confused with other for profit sites like wwww.freecreditreport.com.

6. Security Freezes: If you suspect credit theft or you simply do not anticipate needing credit in the future and want to freeze your information, visit www.noscamnc.gov to get instructions on freezing your information.

7. Prevent Email Fraud: Never send personal information, financial information or your Social Security number in response to an email. These emails are almost always attempts to steal your information. If you receive an email from your bank or another financial institution requesting information, call that company to confirm that they sent the email and that they need the information. Install virus and spyware programs on your computer to prevent theft of information directly from your computer. Try to use secure websites whenever possible when making online transactions. Secure websites can be identified by the lock icon in the lower right corner of your computer screen and the “https” tag at the beginning of the website address.

8. Telephone and Personal Scams: Nobody in Nigeria actually wants to give you money. Ignore these emails and phone calls. Never give out personal or financial information to people who call you. Sign up for the National Do Not Call Registry at (888) 382-1222. Double check references for charities, door to door sales and others that show up at your door. Look up the official information for the charity or company and call that number to verify their legitimacy before you give out any information or money.

You may not be able to ultimately prevent all forms of identity theft. But, if you follow the above steps, you will greatly reduce your changes of becoming a victim. You can learn more from the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office.

PLEASE NOTE THAT NOTHING ON THIS BLOG SHOULD BE CONSIDERED LEGAL ADVICE AND THAT VIEWING THE INFORMATION ON THIS BLOG DOES NOT CREATE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN US. YOU ARE ADVISED TO CONSULT WITH AN ATTORNEY TO CONFIRM THE CURRENT STATE OF ANY LEGAL INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS BLOG, AS THE LAW CONSTANTLY CHANGES.

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN LEGAL REPRESENTATION, PLEASE CONTACT ME BY EMAIL OR AT (919) 781-1311. YOU CAN ALSO FIND ME AT WWW.NICHOLLSCRAMPTON.COM (this site currently being updated).

More News on the Collaborative Divorce Process

Divorce and co-parenting
From the Daily News Tribune

Reduction of Animosity in the Divorce Process From the Austin-American Statesman

A more humane way to divorce From the Daily Camera

A kinder, gentler process From the Orlando Sentinel

PLEASE NOTE THAT NOTHING ON THIS BLOG SHOULD BE CONSIDERED LEGAL ADVICE AND THAT VIEWING THE INFORMATION ON THIS BLOG DOES NOT CREATE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN US. YOU ARE ADVISED TO CONSULT WITH AN ATTORNEY TO CONFIRM THE CURRENT STATE OF ANY LEGAL INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS BLOG, AS THE LAW CONSTANTLY CHANGES.

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN LEGAL REPRESENTATION, PLEASE CONTACT ME BY EMAIL OR AT (919) 781-1311. YOU CAN ALSO FIND ME AT WWW.NICHOLLSCRAMPTON.COM (this site currently being updated).

Recession and Child Support


http://www.newsobserver.com/news/story/1550242.html

As you can see from this article from the front page of today’s News & Observer, a poor economy has a serious impact on child support payments. If you pay child support or receive child support, do not wait until a payment is due to discuss a change of income or loss of a job with the other parent. Addressing the issue as soon as an economic change happens can save both of you a lot of time in court. If you have questions about whether a reduction in child support payments is appropriate in your case, contact a family law attorney. Lowering or ending child support payments without obtaining court approval can have serious legal consequences.

PLEASE NOTE THAT NOTHING ON THIS BLOG SHOULD BE CONSIDERED LEGAL ADVICE AND THAT VIEWING THE INFORMATION ON THIS BLOG DOES NOT CREATE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN US. YOU ARE ADVISED TO CONSULT WITH AN ATTORNEY TO CONFIRM THE CURRENT STATE OF ANY LEGAL INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS BLOG, AS THE LAW CONSTANTLY CHANGES.

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN LEGAL REPRESENTATION, PLEASE CONTACT ME BY EMAIL OR AT (919) 781-1311. YOU CAN ALSO FIND ME AT WWW.NICHOLLSCRAMPTON.COM (this site currently being updated).

Recent Article for The Nutmeg Lawyer: The Whole Truth?

http://thenutmeglawyer.blogspot.com/2009/05/anybody-who-watches-law-and-order-can.html

I recently authored an article for The Nutmeg Lawyer blog linked above. The Nutmeg Lawyer is a great blog, especially for attorneys. It deals with substantive legal, professional, technological and other issues of interest to lawyers. I would encourage everybody, especially lawyers, to give it a look.

PLEASE NOTE THAT NOTHING ON THIS BLOG SHOULD BE CONSIDERED LEGAL ADVICE AND THAT VIEWING THE INFORMATION ON THIS BLOG DOES NOT CREATE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN US. YOU ARE ADVISED TO CONSULT WITH AN ATTORNEY TO CONFIRM THE CURRENT STATE OF ANY LEGAL INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS BLOG, AS THE LAW CONSTANTLY CHANGES.

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN LEGAL REPRESENTATION, PLEASE CONTACT ME BY EMAIL OR AT (919) 781-1311. YOU CAN ALSO FIND ME AT WWW.NICHOLLSCRAMPTON.COM (this site currently being updated).

SWEEPING CHANGE IN NEGLIGENCE LAW

The North Carolina legislature is on the path to bringing North Carolina into line with 46 other states by dumping the old and illogical contributory negligence system with comparative negligence laws. See the summary below created by the North Carolina Advocates for Justice for an explanation of what this means for you:

COMPARATIVE FAULT:
FAIRNESS AND JUSTICE FOR ALL NORTH CAROLINIANS
HB 813
What is comparative fault?

Comparative fault — the law in 46 states but not in North Carolina – allows judges or juries to divide responsibility among everyone who contributed to an injury, based on their degree of fault.

North Carolina does not have comparative fault. We have contributory negligence, a rule that prohibits an injured person from receiving any compensation if she made even the slightest contribution to her injury.

Why is contributory negligence bad for North Carolina?
• Individuals and businesses hurt because of someone else’s wrongdoing are denied the
opportunity to seek compensation for their injuries.
• Contributory negligence undermines principles of accountability and responsibility that lie at the heart of our civil justice system.

How do we fix the problem of contributory negligence?

Replace contributory negligence with comparative fault – as 46 other states have done.

The North Carolina Advocates for Justice (NCAJ) supports enactment of the Uniform
Apportionment of Tort Responsibility Act (UATRA), a model bill approved by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws in 2002. Drafted by a broadly representative committee, UATRA is a compromise that draws on the experience of the 46 states that have adopted comparative fault.

How does UATRA work?
UATRA replaces contributory negligence with comparative fault. Under current law, if a person is 1% or more at fault, she can recover nothing from the party primarily responsible. Under UATRA, the injured person can recover as long as she is not more than 50% at fault. Her recovery is reduced by the percentage she is at fault.
UATRA also modifies joint and several liability. Under current law, fault is not divided among multiple wrongdoers, and the injured person can collect all her damages from any one of the responsible parties. Under UATRA, when two or more parties cause the injury, fault is allocated among those wrongdoers, based on their proportionate responsibility.

Here’s an example of how it works. A speeding truck runs a red light and hits Beth’s car broadside, totaling the car and fracturing her skull. Beth had the green light, but was driving 5 miles per hour above the speed limit. The jury decides that the truck driver was 90% at fault for running the red light and Beth was 10% at fault for speeding. Under the current law of contributory negligence, Beth would receive nothing because she was partly at fault. Under UATRA, Beth would receive compensation for her injuries, minus 10% for her fault in the accident.

UATRA is a compromise that strikes a thoughtful balance between the
interests of plaintiffs and defendants, fairly apportioning fault to all who
are responsible.

PLEASE NOTE THAT NOTHING ON THIS BLOG SHOULD BE CONSIDERED LEGAL ADVICE AND THAT VIEWING THE INFORMATION ON THIS BLOG DOES NOT CREATE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN US. YOU ARE ADVISED TO CONSULT WITH AN ATTORNEY TO CONFIRM THE CURRENT STATE OF ANY LEGAL INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS BLOG, AS THE LAW CONSTANTLY CHANGES.

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN LEGAL REPRESENTATION, PLEASE CONTACT ME BY EMAIL OR AT (919) 781-1311. YOU CAN ALSO FIND ME AT WWW.NICHOLLSCRAMPTON.COM (this site currently being updated).

FAMILY LAW QUOTE OF THE DAY

“The law should, when practicable, encourage the resolution of family issues without resort to court interference.”

This quote is taken directly from a North Carolina Court of Appeals decision in a child support case. Even the courts think that most family law cases should be resolved outside of court! This is, in my mind, an admission that the courts are poorly equipped to find the best possible solution to family disputes. Yet another reason that parties should work very hard to resolve family law issues before going to court.

PLEASE NOTE THAT NOTHING ON THIS BLOG SHOULD BE CONSIDERED LEGAL ADVICE AND THAT VIEWING THE INFORMATION ON THIS BLOG DOES NOT CREATE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN US. YOU ARE ADVISED TO CONSULT WITH AN ATTORNEY TO CONFIRM THE CURRENT STATE OF ANY LEGAL INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS BLOG, AS THE LAW CONSTANTLY CHANGES.

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN LEGAL REPRESENTATION, PLEASE CONTACT ME BY EMAIL OR AT (919) 781-1311. YOU CAN ALSO FIND ME AT WWW.NICHOLLSCRAMPTON.COM (this site currently being updated).

AUTO INSURANCE YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT


As you read this, do you know if you have uninsured (UM) or under-insured (UIM) automobile insurance? If you don’t, you should call your agent today and find out.

Here’s why:

In North Carolina, if you are in a car accident that is not your fault, the other driver’s auto insurance policy is obligated to pay for your medical care, pain and suffering, lost pay from missed work, etc…BUT, did you know that drivers in North Carolina are only required to have $30,000 worth of liability insurance? That means that in the accident scenario I just mentioned, you could be limited to just $30,000 worth of recovery, regardless of your actual injuries or medical bills.

Further, there are a lot of people driving around in this state without any liability insurance at all. If one of those people hits you, then you will most likely receive nothing for your medical bills or injuries.

Think $30,000 sounds like a lot? Think again. I recently represented a woman who was injured by a driver that ran a red light and hit her in the driver’s side door at 50 miles per hour. Her car landed on an embankment after it was knocked out of the intersection. She had multiple fractures and spent six (6) days in the hospital. Her medical bills alone were well over $30,000. That’s her car in the picture above.

Guess how much insurance the at fault driver had? $30,000. This did not even cover my client’s medical bills, much less lost wages or compensation for the weeks that she could not walk, use the bathroom by herself or live without very strong pain medications and 24 hour help from her daughter and son-in-law.

Now imagine if that driver did not have any liability insurance at all! This is just one of many clients that discovered too late that they did not have enough uninsured or under-insured auto insurance on their policy.

UNINSURED auto insurance is insurance that YOU buy on YOUR auto insurance policy. It pays YOU if YOU are hit by someone that does not have insurance.

UNDER-INSURED auto insurance is also insurance that YOU buy on YOUR auto insurance policy. It pays YOU if YOU are hit by someone that does not have enough insurance to pay all of your damages.

The important point is this: YOU BUY UNINSURED AND UNDER-INSURED COVERAGE TO PROTECT YOU AND THE MEMBERS OF YOUR HOUSEHOLD. It is the way to protect yourself from drivers that have little or no liability insurance. And those drivers are out there in large numbers.

The other thing to keep in mind is that under-insured coverage is reduced by the amount of the other other driver’s liability policy. That means that if the other driver has $30,000 policy limits and you have $50,000 under-insured limits, your total available insurance coverage is $50,000, not $80,000. In my opinion, $50,000 is just not enough uninsured or under-insured coverage.

What’s the bottom line here? I strongly encourage everyone that can afford uninsured and under-insured coverage to buy at least $100,000 worth of both on their policy. And, if you can afford $250,000 or more, then buy it. And, don’t wait for you insurance agent to mention it, because they usually will not.

I hope you never have to recover benefits under either of these types of insurance. But, it will be too late if you are injured by a driver who has little or no insurance of their own. Call your insurance agent and ask them about your under-insured (UIM) and uninsured coverage(UM) today.

PLEASE NOTE THAT NOTHING ON THIS BLOG SHOULD BE CONSIDERED LEGAL ADVICE AND THAT VIEWING THE INFORMATION ON THIS BLOG DOES NOT CREATE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN US. YOU ARE ADVISED TO CONSULT WITH AN ATTORNEY TO CONFIRM THE CURRENT STATE OF ANY LEGAL INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS BLOG, AS THE LAW CONSTANTLY CHANGES.

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN LEGAL REPRESENTATION, PLEASE CONTACT ME BY EMAIL OR AT (919) 781-1311. YOU CAN ALSO FIND ME AT WWW.NICHOLLSCRAMPTON.COM (this site currently being updated).