Family Law

King Law Offices is a recognized leader in the area of family law, evidenced by the NC Bar designation of founding partner Brian King as Family Law Specialist. Our family law attorneys have notable experience representing men, women, and children with legal matters that involve family and domestic relations.

Each of King Law’s office locations in North Carolina and South Carolina provide family law legal services. We work as a team with each client to identify the essential information for each case and to develop a strong legal strategy with a continued focus of bringing our clients to a better place.

We value relationships and understand the importance of families and their needs. Our North Carolina and South Carolina family law attorneys are excellently qualified to help you. Call us at 888-748-KING (5464) or fill out our online form to schedule your consultation with a family law attorney.

Adoption

There is little that we do at King Law more rewarding than completing an adoption for our clients.

Adoption covers a wide range of ways to bring a person into a family. From step-parent adoptions, to international adoptions and even adult adoption, this is an area of law full of legal language and often bureaucratic puzzles.

As a family law specialist, Brian King has had experience with adoptions in North Carolina and between other states. Our firm has worked around the clock to bring children back here to the Carolina’s even when problems developed.

Often, there is a single mother giving birth, making the most difficult decision of her life on the one hand, and an excited, but nervous, couple on the other side waiting for papers to be signed. Remember, each state has a waiting period where that mother can change her mind concerning the adoption. Having the proper legal counsel during this time makes the difference between and successful or interrupted adoption.

You do not want to go to a law firm that does not understand the laws of adoption for a decision this important. We look forward in working with you on such a life-changing situation. Do not wait, begin the legal process even before you have found a child to prequalify for the adoption process.

I remember one case where we adopted a baby that was literally left on our client’s doorstep one morning. A young girl had went to a church one Sunday, and determined that our clients should adopt the child. Months later, she found their house and left the child with them. That child is now a big kid like any other, surrounded in love—I know because I recently ran into the mother bragging in Wal-Mart. Our clients are more than just a number, they are our friends and neighbors.
– Brian King, Esq

Alimony

Perhaps the most devastating long-term problem of divorce is the tragic distribution of money. A couple, who has often already struggled to maintain a budget together, is now facing two households and expenses for the same (or less) amount of income as they had before.

North and South Carolina protect spouses who are dependent on the income of the other spouse through alimony. Both states have provisions to allow this money to begin even before the final trial of the entire case.

As an additional factor, this can force the supporting party to reimburse litigation expenses. Unfortunately, this system can be abused. Many times alimony is used as a tool of revenge and must be properly defended against.

Our firm has some of the most successful litigation in our area concerning support and alimony. Brian King is a family law specialist in North Carolina, having taught lawyers at Continuing Education classes across the state concerning these matters. All of our attorneys have worked on these type cases, with specific arguments tailored for your situation and court system.

If you are separated or thinking of separation, you need to understand this area of law. Our firm will guide you through these steps, and move you quickly to resolution in this time of great need.

Annulments

There are only a small list of reasons that in our Carolina practice you would ever qualify for an annulment. These issues are basically legal ones (for example, one party was already married) and a couple of odd ones (the wife lied about pregnancy).

One thing is certain in all of these issues, you must act immediately. If you believe that a marriage needs to be annulled, please contact our office immediately. Make an appointment today at one of our locations and deal with this now. There is no benefit in waiting, and our team of legal professionals is here to listen and help you move forward with annulment.

Child Custody

Nothing is more stressful in a divorce action that trying to come up with an appropriate child custody schedule. Courts find it very difficult to be of aid in a situation as delicate as this, and often fall back on their own personal judgments. That’s why you need a child custody lawyer fighting for your best interests in North Carolina and South Carolina.

In determining custody, the court will look at the development of the child in five clear ways: physically, mentally, morally, educationally and spiritually. Blackley v. Blackley, 285 N.C. 358 (1974).

Many clients are concerned how the court will discriminate against them. Often fathers feel disadvantaged, or mother’s feel overconfident due to their gender. The truth, however, is much different.

There are no presumptions between a mother or father. The Court in Rosero v. Blake, 357 N.C. 193 (2003) held, “between a mother and father, whether natural or adoptive, there is no presumption as to who will…better promote the interest and welfare of the child”. As your child custody lawyer in South Carolina and North Carolina, King Law Firm will make sure the court looks at what’s best for your son or daughter.

There should be no illusions that an appeal will change an outcome after a court date. In fact, trial courts are almost never overturned.

There are little opportunities for appeal in custody cases. The Court of Appeals is not any more inclined that the trial courts to get involved in the facts of a custody case. “In a child custody case, the trial court’s findings of fact are conclusive on appeal if supported by substantial evidence, even if there is sufficient evidence to support contrary findings․ Unchallenged findings of fact are binding on appeal .” Peters v. Pennington, 210 N.C.App. 1, 12–13, 707 S.E.2d 724, 733 (2011) (citing Koufman v. Koufman, 330 N.C. 93, 97, 408 S.E.2d 729, 731 (1991)) (other citation omitted). “Whether [the trial court’s] findings of fact support [its] conclusions of law is reviewable de novo.” Hall v. Hall, 188 N.C.App. 527, 530, 655 S.E.2d 901, 904 (2008) (citation omitted). “ ‘If the trial court’s uncontested findings of fact support its conclusions of law, we must affirm the trial court’s order.’ “ Respess v. Respess, ––– N.C.App. ––––, ––––, 754 S.E.2d 691, 695 (2014) (quoting Mussa v. Palmer–Mussa, 366 N.C. 185, 191, 731 S.E.2d 404, 409 (2012)). Our South Carolina and North Carolina child custody lawyers are experienced in navigating these regulations to help clients achieve the best outcome for all parties involved.

Under N.C. Gen.Stat. § 50–13.1(a) “the word ‘custody’ shall be deemed to include custody or visitation or both.” N.C. Gen.Stat. § 50–13.2(a) provides in relevant part that:
An order for custody of a minor child ․ shall award the custody of such child to such person ․ as will best promote the interest and welfare of the child. In making the determination, the court shall consider all relevant factors ․ and shall make findings accordingly. An order for custody must include findings of fact which support the determination of what is in the best interest of the child.

In Burger v. Smith (November 2015- North Carolina Court of Appeals), the Trial Court said that a minor child that was breastfeeding was required to visit his father in Malawi.
The finding of the Court was that the “Plaintiff is concerned about the minor child traveling to Malawi to visit with the Defendant due to health reasons, parasite disease, the threat of malaria, the presence of poisonous snakes, extreme heat, and the unreliability of the hospitals located there”. In this case, the Trial Court still found visitation was proper and the Court of Appeals affirmed.

If you have any questions about the complex nature of the child custody system in North Carolina and South Carolina, our child custody lawyers and legal staff would be happy to accept a call or email from you.

Child Support

There is no reason that every child should not be given an equal opportunity to thrive in America. The goal of child support is to put the child of a couple who do not live together in the same financial position they would have enjoyed if both parents lived together.

Many times I hear my client say, “I just want custody, I don’t want his support”. This is unfair to your children. They deserve the law to give them every opportunity at money they are entitled to under the child support statutes in North Carolina and South Carolina. Further, the state is set up to collect and send payments (and punish when payments are not made) for little or no cost to you. The “waiver” of child support should not “buy” a person custody.

However, many times we see custodial parents attempt to “punish” the other side with an outrageous allegation of child support. Proper amounts should be reviewed for child custody in North Carolina and South Carolina to find a fair ground, based on the guidelines in effect.

Our firm is on the forefront of child support law. Recently, a book “Critical Cases in Family Law” was published, and included Brian King’s case as a top ten case of child support, Head v. Mosier, 677 S.E.2d 191 (NC App 2009); where he won a case for his client and established the way child support is calculated for the self-employed. Brian has spoken at several continuing legal education classes on this case and others as a child support lawyer across North and South Carolina.

Our firm is prepared to move forward with any case of child support. You can be assured you are getting cutting edge representation in every matter, and your child support case will be given top priority from our lawyers in North Carolina and South Carolina.

There are many cases regarding deviation from the child support guidelines. Basically the process is:

  1. There must be a written motion and notice to request deviation (although the Court may do it in the best interests of justice).
  2. The Court then must do a child support guideline.
  3. The Court will look at the:
    1. Need for support.
    2. Ability of each parent to pay.
  4. Determine when the presumptive award would not meet or would exceed the reasonable needs of the child considering relative ability to provide support, or should be otherwise unjust or inappropriate.
  5. These are some facts important in a deviation case:
    1. An actual inability to pay amount of support; Blair v. Jackson, 138 NC App 284
    2. extraordinary medical expenses related to parent’s current spouse; Fisher v. Luckinoff, 131 NC App 642
    3. contributions received from 3d party for support; Easter v. Easter, 344 NC 166
    4. one parent pays 100% health insurance
    5. either party pays alimony to ex-spouse

To learn more about NC child support guidelines and worksheets visit the state’s website at https://nddhacts01.dhhs.state.nc.us/WorkSheet.jsp.

Collaborative Law

Divorce is never easy. In fact, you will have a difficult time finding an individual who considers the divorce process a positive, no matter what they thought of their former spouse. In courtrooms across the State of North Carolina, divorce issues like the division of property, payment of alimony, and the custody of children are decided through the adversarial process, pitting one spouse against the other. The traditional adversarial process has been around for as long as the divorce process, but an alternative way of handling your divorce is now available. That alternative is collaborative law.

In a collaborative divorce, each spouse has an attorney that is knowledgeable in the legal aspects of the case, much like in the majority of traditional divorces. However, unlike in a traditional divorce, each attorney works together with the spouses to provide direct, open, and honest communication about the best possible resolution for all parties. To make this arrangement work, an agreement is signed at the start of the collaborative process, stating the intention to resolve all matters without going to trial. If either spouse chooses to go to court, each attorney must withdraw from further representation. In addition to being low on conflict, the collaborative process can also save money. A lot of the expense in litigation comes from the preparation and drafting of specialized documents, filed with the court. These documents take time, and ultimately money, to draft. In collaborative law, the attorney is not forced to draft these specialized documents for the court, saving both time and money.

Collaborative law is not for everyone. If you have been in an abusive relationship or cannot be honest and open with your ex, then the collaborative law process may not be for you. With that in mind, if you think the collaborative process may be appropriate for you, collaborative law may lead you down the path to a future relationship that is healthy and beneficial for the entire family, without the hard feelings that can be associated with the traditional courtroom process. Either way, King Law is available to assist you in your divorce. If you are interested in a less hostile divorce, call (828) 652-3334 now to setup an appointment with an attorney that is trained in the collaborative law process.

Divorce

Divorce is difficult and the process can be stressful. The first thing you need is a solid understanding of how divorce works in North and South Carolina. Our divorce lawyers can guide you through the process.

An absolute divorce can be obtained by either party, once you or your spouse have lived separate for at least one year. With the help of our South Carolina and North Carolina divorce lawyers, you can start to work toward this goal, meeting every regulation. During this time of separation you cannot resume your marital relationship. You do not need anything written regarding the separation and you are not required to have a separation agreement. South Carolina and North Carolina are “no-fault” divorce jurisdictions, so neither party has to prove marital misconduct in order to obtain the divorce based on a one year separation. As long as the separation period is a year and your paperwork is processed correctly through the court system, you can get a divorce. You can receive a divorce after a one year separation period whether or not you and your spouse have settled any of the other issues that may arise from the separation such as: custody, child support, spousal support, and alimony or property division. You can also obtain a divorce whether or not your spouse wants to be divorced, provided that you have been separated 12 consecutive months.

When considering a divorce you need to first ask yourself; is there is still hope for working things out? Have you considered divorce mediation? Is there anything that can be done to strengthen the marriage? Have you exhausted all options for your marriage?

Our divorce lawyers are in cities across North Carolina and South Carolina are here to help you through this process; we understand that this decision is a difficult one. We are here help you grasp the overall outline of the separation and divorce process. The first step to contact our office for a consultation with an attorney that can help guide you through the vital steps of your divorce process.

Domestic Violence

I want to express my heartfelt thanks to the both of you for your help in resolving this matter with expeditiousness and relatively minor consequences on my behalf. I really can’t express strongly enough how what you’ve done for me has kept my world from turning upside down. Certainly as these things go, if I ever have a need to call upon your services again I will do so without delay.
– C. G.

Domestic Violence charges are taken very seriously in North and South Carolina. We are here to help those who are being charged with domestic violence and who are victims of domestic violence. Cases such as these can be difficult as the emotions run high when most of the time both parties have or had a personal relationship.

If you have been charged with domestic violence we want to help protect your rights. Please know that we will work with you through the court process to receive the best possible outcome. If you are a victim of domestic violence again, we will help get you the protection needed through the court.

A domestic relationship is not only a marriage relationship. It can be a relationship consisting of a current or former spouse, roommates of the opposite sex or people who are dating or have dated. Events that take place between the examples above, such as attempting to or causing bodily harm, placing the victim or their family in fear of bodily injury or harassment leading to emotional distress, or any sexually-related assaults are incidents that can be charged as domestic violence.

Once there is a domestic violence charge the court has the decision to order and emergency protective order keeping the defendant away from the victim. A protective order can help protect both the defendant and the victim. Both parties are required to abide by the protective order.

If you have been charged with domestic violence or are a victim of domestic violence please call our firm at 888-748-5464 (KING) to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys who can help guide you through the legal process.

Recent Related Results Attained by our firm in North Carolina – Client wrongly charged with Domestic Violence Protective Order (DVPO), known as a “50B”. King Law Offices argued the case before District Court Judge, client found not responsible and case dismissed.

Grandparent’s Rights

Grandparents in North and South Carolina may be granted visitation through an order for custody. In any action in which the custody of a minor child has been determined through proper court procedure, the grandparents of the child are entitled to such custody or visitation rights as the court, in its discretion, deems appropriate. Unfortunately, Grandparents in North Carolina normally cannot maintain an independent action for custody [NCGS 50-13.5(J)].

Being a grandparent is a very special time and the thought of not being able to see your grandchild or grandchildren is inconceivable. There are avenues in which visitation can be negotiated. It is important to document the relationship with your grandchildren. If you are being denied visitation with your grandchildren then the documentation will help the court determine if an award for visitation is appropriate. Visitation for grandparents is usually negotiated in the custody order of your grandchildren’s parents.

It is difficult for many grandparents to see their role as anything other than legitimate and even sanctified, parents rights do trump grandparents unless parents can be proven unfit. Personal negotiation and legal mediation, serve as tools that can be used to aid in this process. We here at King Law can help guide you through and find the best possible solution for your needs.

Guardianship

We all prefer to decide for ourselves how we will live our lives – where we will live, how we will dress, what we will eat, with whom we will share friendship – but, unfortunately, this is not always possible. Every day, people suffer injuries or experience health failures that lead to being unable to make good decisions for themselves. These people need someone to assume their rights and make decisions about many aspects of their daily lives.

A guardianship is the legal proceeding by which a corporation or disinterested public agent can be appointed to manage the personal or financial affairs of an individual who has been judged to lack the capacity to do so on his or her own. It is a legal relationship between a capable adult entity (the guardian) and a person who has been declared legally disabled in a court of law (a ward).

The guardian may be a family member, a close friend or neighbor, or a professional guardian (an unrelated person who has received specialized training). He or she will support the right of the incapicated ward to make decisions whenever possible, and will solicit and respect the views and wishes of the ward, unless these views and wishes must be overridden in the ward’s best interest.

When an individual is determined to be incapacitated and there is no alternative to guardianship such as power of attorney, a healthcare directive, or a living trust, the court may appoint a guardian to exercise those delegable rights which have been taken away. For that reason, the initiation of guardianship proceedings should be considered only after all other possible alternatives have been explored.

Medical evidence is normally sought to support a finding of incapacity, but it is important to remember that incapacity is a legal term, not a medical definition and the threshold issue is whether or not the alleged incapacitated person is capable of exercising certain legal rights, such as the right to manage money or to consent to medical treatment. Many factors, including mental and physical health, personal environment, and financial status can impact an individual’s capacity.

King, Law is a firm prepared to move forward with any case of guardianship. You can be assured you are getting cutting edge representation in every matter, and your guardianship case will be given top priority.

Prenuptial Agreements

A prenuptial agreement is a document that has the signatures of both parties who intend to enter into marriage. It outlines the responsibilities, rights, and certain property of each party in the event of a divorce in the future. The basic purpose of a prenuptial agreement is to determine how assets or property should be divided if the couple gets divorced or if one of the parties dies during the marriage. It can also waive alimony and support. A properly executed and well-written prenuptial agreement provides protection and comfort for both spouses.

According to the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act of North Carolina, a prenuptial agreement may contain limited alimony rights, property rights and a variety of other rights. Many couples also provide stipulations about their future children as well as future remarriage for the purpose of protecting the rights of future children. At Chapter 52B of the N.C. General Statutes, for a premarital agreement to be valid, it must be in writing and signed by both parties of the marrying couple.

For a prenuptial agreement to hold up in court, be sure to: (1) Disclose all of your finances. If your spouse finds out that you’re hiding assets, the prenuptial agreement could get tossed out by the court; (2) Avoid coercion, distress and undue influence. Plan ahead and sign the agreement at least 30 days prior to the wedding; (3) Be fair and deal fairly with your soon-to-be spouse in determining the amount of support he or she will receive if the marriage ends or if you should die during the marriage; (4) Don’t combine assets after the marriage. This makes it very difficult to determine your property before the marriage; and (5) You may need a postnuptial agreement to protect some types of retirement plans. Ask your attorney if further agreements will need to be made in the future and discuss those with your fiancé in advance.

Without the legal assistance of an experience NC family law attorney, it’s easy to make a mistake in making a prenuptial agreement which can render the document void. It’s best to have a good NC family lawyer review the agreement and to explain the implications of each statement in the document. This is to ensure that the prenuptial agreement is legally binding.

King Law is a firm prepared to move forward with any prenuptial agreement. You can be assured you are getting cutting edge representation in every matter, and your prenuptial agreement will be given top priority.

Equitable Distribution / Property Distribution

During a marriage, husbands and wives generally acquire property, whether it’s a home, cars, bank accounts, a business, IRA’s or stock options. North Carolina law provides for the division and distribution of this property. Once a couple has separated, either party may ask the court for an equitable distribution. The court will determine the marital and divisible property of the couple then provide for an equitable distribution.

According to North Carolina General Statute § 50-20, Marital Property is defined as real and personal property acquired by either spouse or both spouses during the course of the marriage and before the date of separation of the parties, and presently owned, except property determined to be separate property or divisible property.

Separate property is defined as all real and personal property acquired by a spouse before marriage or acquired by a spouse by bequest, devise, descent or gift during the course of the marriage.

Divisible property is defined as: all appreciation and diminution in value of marital and divisible property occurring after the date of separation and prior to the date of distribution, (except that appreciation or diminution in value which is the result of post separation actions or activities of a spouse); all property, property rights, or any portion thereof received after the date of separation but before the date of distribution that was acquired as a result of the effort of either spouse during the marriage and before the date of separation, including but not limited to, commissions, bonuses, and contractual rights; passive income from marital property received after the date of separation, including but not limited to, interest and dividends; and increases and decreases in marital debt and financing charges and interest related to marital debt.

In North Carolina, the division of property between the parties will be equal, unless the court determines that an equal division of property is not equitable.

King Law specializes in family law and is a firm prepared to move forward with any case of equitable distribution. You can be assured you are getting cutting edge representation in every matter, and your equitable distribution case will be given top priority.

Separation

When considering a separation you need to first ask yourself; is there is still hope for working things out? Is there anything you can do to strengthen the marriage? Have you exhausted all options for your marriage? Divorce is difficult and the process can be stressful. The first thing you need is a solid understanding of how separation and divorce work in North and South Carolina.

An absolute divorce can be obtained in North and South Carolina; by either party, once you or your spouse have lived separate for at least one year. During this time of separation you cannot resume your marital relationship if you intend to move forward with a divorce. You do not need anything written regarding the separation and you are not required to have a separation agreement. A separation agreement, on the other hand, can be effective especially when you have children and property involved. It allows you and your spouse to agree on things like custody, child support, alimony, and property division. If you and your spouse can agree to terms that accompany an agreement then, when the time period arrives for the divorce, the court can simply incorporate the separation agreement into an order with your divorce. This does allow a more “hands on” approach with your separation. At any time after the separation of the parties, either may file an action through the court for property division, custody, child support,spousal support or Alimony; but a separation must take place. The court will not consider you and your spouse separated if you are still living together with the intention of resuming the marital relationship.

Our firm is here to help you through this process; we understand that this decision is a difficult one. We are here to help you grasp the overall outline of your separation. The first step is to contact our office for a consultation with an attorney that can help guide you through your separation process.

Termination of Parental Rights

A North or South Carolina court can terminate the rights of a parent for: Abuse or neglect of the child; Willful abandonment of the child to foster care for more than twelve months; Failure to pay child support pursuant to a court order or agreement for more than one year; Father of child born out of wedlock’s failure to legitimate the child, establish paternity, or financially provide for the child; Abandonment; Parent is incapable of providing for proper care and supervision; or For other reasons as set out in North and South Carolina Law.

Either parent may seek to terminate the other parent’s rights. A guardian judicially appointed for the child, a person who has filed a petition to adopt the minor child, and anyone with whom the child has continuously lived for two or more years may also petition for the termination of parental rights.

If the person, who petitions for termination of a parent’s rights, proves there are grounds for the termination, the court must consider whether such termination is in the best interests of the minor child. In making this determination, the court must consider: The age of the juvenile; The likelihood of adoption of the juvenile; Whether the termination of parental rights will aid in the accomplishment of the permanent plan for the juvenile; The bond between the juvenile and the parent; The quality of the relationship between the juvenile and the proposed adoptive parent, guardian, custodian, or other permanent placement; and any relevant consideration.

An order terminating the parental rights completely and permanently terminates all rights and obligations of the parent to the juvenile and of the juvenile to the parent arising from the parental relationship, except that the juvenile’s right of inheritance from the juvenile’s parent shall not terminate until a final order of adoption is issued.

King Law specializes in family law and is a firm prepared to move forward with any case of termination of parental rights. You can be assured you are getting cutting edge representation in every matter, and your termination of parental rights case will be given top priority.

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