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Wilmington Legal Issues Blog

How should I talk to employers about my criminal record?

A criminal past doesn't make you a bad person. It also shouldn't prevent you from securing gainful employment, but unfortunately, many hiring managers are reluctant to hire people with prior convictions. You can paint the issue in a more favorable light when applying for jobs by taking the right approach. In this case, U.S. News & World Report offers the following advice. 

Before your interview, consider what you're going to say should you be questioned about the past. It's best to have a few short sentences in mind so you can succinctly explain the situation. State when the incident occurred and why, but don't feel the need to go into detail. Next, briefly summarize what you've done since to prevent the issue from happening again. You can also provide examples of how you've atoned for past behaviors. It's best to keep things concise, especially if the interview has progressed favorably so far. 

Is my marriage headed towards a divorce?

While all marriages experience difficulties from time to time, for some couples it can seem like divorce is right around the corner. Deciding to divorce is a heart-wrenching prospect, so naturally many people are reluctant to entertain it, even when faced with serious issues. In this case, Very Well Mind asks you to consider the following if you're experiencing problems in your marriage. 

A lack of physical and emotional intimacy is often an indicator of a troubled marriage. Intimacy is natural between people who love each other, and if your love for your spouse is waning you might not feel comfortable sharing intimacy with him or her. This can easily lead to a feeling of indifference, which can be more damaging to a relationship than hatred, which indicates a strong emotional response in the very least. 

Am I overparenting my child?

Many parents feel overly protective of their kids immediately following a divorce. While you naturally want to safeguard your child from bad feelings and hurt caused by the split, overparenting can actually harm your relationship with your child in the long run. Very Well Family explains the signs of overparenting so you can maintain a loving and healthy relationship with your child no matter what.  

Failure builds character and teaches kids how to be gracious about defeat. Virtually all parents find it tough to watch their kids fail, to the point where they might provide assistance above and beyond what's considered healthy. For example, supplying your child with answers to homework problems prevents him or her from developing essential problem-solving skills. It also prevents a kid from learning from past mistakes, which is an extremely beneficial life skill to learn. 

Expungement requirements in North Carolina

Many talk about the importance of you being able to move on with your life in Wilmington following a criminal conviction. Actually doing so can be difficult due to the mere fact that you have such an offense associated with your name. Many in your same situation have come to us here at The Law Office of L. Bryan Smith, P.C. asking if there is some form of relief that can help them find post-conviction success. Like them, you will be happy to there that there is: expungement. 

The state is just as invested in you finding success after having paid your debt to society as you are. Thus, it has removed some of the barriers to you achieving that success through its expungement laws. Section 15A-145.5 of North Carolina's General Statutes states that you can file a petition to have your record expunged five years after having been convicted of a nonviolent misdemeanor or ten years after having been convicted of certain nonviolent felonies. Your petition must contain the following: 

  • Evidence that you have maintained a good moral character since the date of your conviction and have committed to other offenses (other than traffic violations)
  • The testimonies of two witnesses (not related to you) verifying your character and reputation
  • Recognition that the petition is a motion in the case for which you were convicted 
  • Authorization for the state to conduct a background check
  • A statement showing that there are no pending civil actions or judgments against you

Fair division of marital property in your divorce

If you are going through a divorce, one of your main concerns is probably regarding what will happen to your personal property. Divorce typically requires that both parties divide their jointly owned property, but there can be sharp disagreements over what qualifies as marital property. You will find it useful to learn more about how you can protect your property interests and secure a strong post-divorce future. 

North Carolina is an equitable division state, which will impact how you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse will handle your marital property in your divorce. The court will base its decisions on what is most fair, or equitable. It is often difficult for two contesting parties to come to an agreement on what property is eligible for division and what is most fair.

Moving forward from an unfavorable custody decision

Divorce can introduce many challenges, from financial concerns over alimony to property division and adjusting one’s life in all sorts of ways. However, divorce issues involving children are often especially stressful and these cases can have a significant impact on a child’s future as well as their parents’ emotions. Unfortunately, bitter custody disputes are not uncommon, and some parents feel gutted in the wake of an unfavorable custody decision. If you are in this position, it is imperative to do your best to stay positive and continue exploring your options.

Whether custody is not awarded in the way you wished, or you are upset because you will not be able to see your child very often, we know how devastating an unfavorable custody outcome can be. Even though this can be a very difficult time, you should continue to look into some of the legal strategies that may be beneficial. For example, if your former partner lied in order to gain the upper hand in a custody dispute, you may want to take further action in court.

Divorce and your child’s emotions

For married couples, divorce can be extremely challenging when it comes to emotions. Stress, depression and anger, in some instances, can make the process harder to work through. However, the way in which a divorce can impact children should not be overlooked either. For kids, it can be difficult when their parents split up, and some children feel very unsure about their future during this time. Some kids may respond to their parents’ divorce differently depending on their age or other issues they are dealing with, and it is vital for parents to do everything they can to protect their child’s emotional health during this time.

If you have uncertainty regarding child custody, or you currently live with your child and they are asking you questions that you may not have answers for, it is imperative to carefully examine the details surrounding your divorce and do what you can to put their mind at ease. You can reassure your child that you will continue to love them and try to provide them with a sense of peace and happiness. For example, it may be helpful to participate in outdoor activities with them and look for other ways to help them work through some of the emotional difficulties they may be facing in a healthy manner.

The importance of having an escape plan

At The Law Office of L. Bryan Smith, P.C., we know that leaving an abusive marriage is a serious matter. You and other North Carolina residents who are in a relationship that is emotionally or physically violent can feel hopelessly trapped. Escaping abuse is often complex and can even be dangerous. This is why you need an escape plan before you leave.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline warns that the most dangerous time for an abuse victim is often when he or she attempts to escape. It is essential to plan your moves carefully and to involve people you can trust to help you get to a safe place. You may include the following in your escape plan:

  • Tell someone you trust, such as a family member or best friend, that you are being abused and ask for their support.
  • Find a safe place your abuser does not know about to store emergency cash, birth certificates, personal items, clothing and other possessions you want to take with you when you escape.
  • Learn the locations and phone numbers of abuse shelters and police stations.
  • Gather evidence that you are an abuse victim, such as photos of injuries, emergency room documentation, police reports and screenshots of abusive text messages and emails.
  • Learn how to apply for a protective order when you are ready to leave.

Is electronic communication with your kids allowed?

As a parent in Wilmington, you no doubt want to be constantly plugged into your kids' lives. That can become much more difficult if you and your spouse choose to divorce. You may have your own dedicated custodial time in which to talk to them, but what about then they are with your ex-spouse? You may view calling them on the phone or sending them an email in such situations is perfectly harmless, yet your ex-spouse may not. Indeed, they may see it as you infringing on their custodial time. This may prompt the question of whether that state has guidelines for communication with your kids in this scenario. 

Indeed it does. Section 50-13.2 of North Carolina's General Statutes says that electronic visitation is allowed provided the court authorizes it first. In determining whether you can contact your kids electronically when they are with their other parent (and vice versa), the court considers the following factors: 

  • Whether allowing such communication is in your kids' best interests 
  • Whether the equipment needed to facilitate such communication is readily available to both you and your ex-spouse
  • Any other relevant factors the court deems necessary to consider before allowing such communication

Traffic violations, points and your future

While it may seem obvious to you to avoid committing felony acts such as murder or robbery, you may not realize how much minor violations can affect your life. Misdemeanors and traffic offenses can lead to unexpected complications involving your career, your family and your future encounters with law enforcement.

North Carolina, like most states, assigns points in addition to fines and other penalties for certain traffic violations. If you reach 12 points within three years, the state will suspend your driver's license. Think about your current job and your family obligations, and imagine trying to accomplish them without the use of your driver's license.

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The Law Office of L. Bryan Smith, P.C.
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Wilmington, NC 28403

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