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Wilmington Legal Issues Blog

Tackling the issue of parental relocation

It is not uncommon for many who are recently divorced to want to move away from Wilmington. Most may do so with the blessing of their ex-spouses provided that children are not involved. When a divorced couple shares custody of children, then one parent moving can drastically alter the other's access to the kids. The fear is that a parent may do this simply as a way of "getting back" at their ex-spouse. Therefore, the court does offer some recourse to non-relocating parents in these situations. 

Per Section 50-13.7 of North Carolina's General Statutes, a parent can petition the court to have their custody agreement modified (or even vacated) if they can show that there is good cause to do so. In the case of parental relocation, one might argue that allowing their ex-spouse to relocate with the couple's kids without modifying their custody agreement would place undue strain on their parental relationship with their children. Like most states, North Carolina follows the assumption that it is in the best interest of children to continue to have relationships with both their parents. Contesting a relocation by seeking a custody modification places the burden on the relocating parent to show the court why their move is necessary and why it may not warrant a change in their custodial situation. 

Factors to consider when drafting a parenting plan

The terms of your parenting plan will have a significant and lasting impact on your life and the lives of your children. It is in your interests to ensure that the terms are fair and sustainable and will allow your kids to have security and stability well into the future. There are certain steps you can take to ensure that all final agreements are practical and beneficial. 

When North Carolina parents choose to work on the terms of their parenting plan instead of resorting to litigation, it is likely because they are committed to making a plan that will work best for their kids. If this is your goal, you would be wise to consider various factors. Along with the best interests of your kids, you may also take steps to protect your parental rights. 

Defending against a DWI charge

Driving while intoxicated is against the law in all 50 states. In North Carolina, if your blood alcohol content is .08% or higher, your judgment is considered impaired, and you may lose your license, receive a fine or get jail time if arrested. At The Law Office of L. Bryan Smith, P.C. we have experience representing clients accused of driving under the influence.

According to FindLaw, police typically use one of three methods for determining whether a driver is operating the vehicle under the influence.

  • If you are driving too slow or too fast, fail to stop or yield at the appropriate locations or swerve for no apparent reason, these erratic behaviors indicate you may be driving drunk. Officers may stop you for reasonable suspicion.
  • An officer may ask that you step out of the car for a field sobriety test if he or she believes you may be driving under the influence. They may conduct a speech test, have you walk in a straight line or stand on one leg. During these activities, they watch your eyes. If they are blurred, or your pupils are dilated, the officer may follow up with a chemical test. 
  • A breath, blood or urine sample is needed for the test, and a mathematical formula determines the blood alcohol level. Refusing to take the test invokes the implied consent law, which may result in license suspension, regardless of whether you are found innocent.

Rotational and weekly schedules may help with joint custody

Now that you are going through divorce, you may want to make the process as easy on your children as possible. Because of this desire and your ability to work well with the other parent, you may believe that joint custody will work best for your situation. If the other parent agrees, you could avoid long, drawn-out custody proceedings in court.

Joint physical custody can often help children maintain the relationships they have with both parents. However, this arrangement also means that you and your ex-spouse will try to have the children as close to an equal amount of time as possible. While sending the kids to one house and then the other every other day likely does not seem plausible, you can always consider other custody schedules.

Can men be victims of domestic violence?

The widespread public perception is that, in cases of domestic violence, a man is always the aggressor and a woman always the victim. However, if you are a man who has sustained abuse from a female partner in North Carolina, you are not alone. According to FindLaw, research suggests that numbers of women and men committing violence or abuse against the other gender are almost equal with one another, which means that women abuse men nearly as often as men abuse women in a domestic setting.

Part of the reason for the discrepancy between the public perception of domestic violence and the reality is that men who become the victims of domestic violence are less likely to report than women, for a number of reasons. You may be afraid that if you alert law enforcement, the authorities will arrest you rather than your partner. You may feel shame about admitting to a perceived weakness in light of traditional societal gender roles, or you may feel that others will not afford your claim the seriousness that it deserves.

What is an annulment?

While most people have heard annulments, very fewer understand what exactly they entail. Although annulments end a marriage like divorces, there are actually quite a few differences between them. offers the following information on annulments, including how to tell if it’s the right option for you.

How annulment and divorce differ

Is parallel parenting a good option for me?

Divorce is rarely easy, especially when children are involved. For recently divorced North Carolina couples, coming together on behalf of kids can be all but impossible. In this case, parallel parenting may be a good option to ensure kids receive the attention they deserve while keeping conflict to a minimum. offers the following advice on this trusted technique.

What is parallel parenting?

Social media can hurt your college kid's criminal defense

Your son or daughter, your pride and joy, left the nest and went off at college. Like most young adults, he or she is probably checking and posting to social media sites throughout the day. Some of his or her posts might be questionable in nature since everyone makes mistakes from time to time. When a mistake lands him or her in a North Carolina jail, those social media postings could end up hurting his or her criminal defense.

College kids who are facing criminal charges have a lot to lose. They are young and still have their whole lives ahead of them. They may have to rethink their plans, though, if they are convicted, have to spend time in jail and are kicked out of school. They do not need anything out there for the world to see that can help the court view them in a negative light. Social media responsibility is necessary, but is something many people fail to practice.

How can I plan for a new school year after a divorce?

With a new school year already here, many recently divorced parents in North Carolina are struggling with their changed family dynamic. They’re also concerned about the impact a divorce can have on their children, which often compounds the stress associated with a beginning a new year at school. In this case, Forbes offers the following tips, which can help parents as well as students handle a new school year after divorce.

Talk to your kids about goals

North Carolina has guidelines for addressing child support

Going through divorce is understandably a difficult process both emotionally and financially. This is particularly true if you and your spouse share minor children.

When it comes to your children, child support remains a major area of conflict and confusion for many divorcing couples. Here is glimpse at how the state of North Carolina handles child support cases during the dissolution of a marriage.

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