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Grounds for emergency custody in North Carolina

“Can I get emergency custody of my child in North Carolina?” This is a question that we are asked here at ...
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What you should know about legal separation

Taking the steps to get a legal separation in Charlotte, NC can be a difficult, confusing process. Some people are ...
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Six important questions to ask a divorce lawyer

Choosing a divorce lawyer is one of the most important decisions people in Charlotte, NC must make when getting a divorce ...
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Advantages of a revocable living trust

A revocable living trust is an estate-planning tool to help beneficiaries manage their inheritance. For instance, if you are concerned about your beneficiaries’ ability to properly manage their inheritances, a revocable living trust gives you the control as you transfer property and/or assets into the trust over the course of your life.

There are four primary components of a revocable living trust: a trustee who is responsible for distributing and managing the trust, a grantor, or the person who creates the trust, the trust assets which include the property transferred into the trust, and the beneficiaries, the people who benefit from the trust itself.

Here is a partial list of the advantages of creating a revocable living trust:

  • Revocable Status: The fact that the trust is revocable means that it can be changed or amended during the course of your life, providing flexibility.

  • Avoiding Probate: One of the main benefits of establishing a trust is to remove assets from your estate. Numerous probate proceedings can be expensive and time-consuming, so a revocable living trust transfers the assets effectively and efficiently. When assets are transferred through the probate process, details about the transfer can be a matter of public record. Using a revocable living trust, on the other hand, allows details about your assets and their transfer to remain completely private.

  • Separating Assets: Used as an estate-planning tool, a living trust can be an ideal solution for married couples where significant assets were accumulated by one or both parties prior to the marriage. A living trust can also separate assets to be passed on to beneficiaries from other community property assets.

  • Reduce Estate Tax Complications: If you’re revocable living trust is written properly, provisions inside the trust can allow for a credit shelter. A credit shelter trust helps to reduce estate taxes in large estates. Taxes can significantly reduce the value of your estate if you have not properly planned. Work with your attorney to craft a revocable living trust that represents all of your interests.

  • Control Over the Distribution Of Assets: Implementing plans for a professional trustee to manage the property can allow your assets to provide benefits for multiple generations. The structure of the trust is incredibly important in exercising control.

  • Articulate Your Desires: If you’re concerned about siblings or other family members arguing about the estate after you have passed away, a revocable living trust clearly articulates your wishes and plans for your assets. This reduces confusion and arguments.

A revocable living trust is a powerful tool giving you flexibility and control over how your assets will be distributed after you pass away. Working with an experienced attorney like Jonathan Meek at Meek Law Firm is critical for your revocable living trust. Contact him today to schedule a consultation. Call (704) 848-6335 or use the contact form on the right of this page to set an appointment.

Grounds for emergency custody in North Carolina

“Can I get emergency custody of my child in North Carolina?”

This is a question that we are asked here at Meek Law Firm on a daily basis and the one question that we hate to answer because it is so difficult.

The short answer is yes. North Carolina provides for emergency custody in certain situations. The difficulty is when we must tell a parent that almost 95% of all the custody cases in North Carolina do not fall into the category of an emergency situation under the law.

A parent, or other interested party, can get emergency custody of a child where the child is in immediate danger of being harmed physically or sexually. The law also provides for emergency custody where the parent may attempt to take the child out of North Carolina for the purposes of avoiding the jurisdiction of the state.

These situations are extremely rare. North Carolina has interpreted the term “immediate” to be very limited in scope. Where there is a threat of immediate physical or sexual harm to the minor, the Court has the power to take immediate action to get the child to safety. This can even happen through an Ex Parte Proceeding where one parent asks for emergency custody while the other parent is not present. If emergency custody is granted in an Ex Parte hearing, the ruling must be reviewed within 10 days and both parties must be present. The review hearing is required because a parent has the constitutional right to be a parent. If that right is infringed upon by the Court, the Court must give the parent losing the right an opportunity to be heard by the Court.

The truth is that most situations do not rise to the level that a Court could find an emergency exists. The vast majority of cases fall into the category where an emergency custody motion will not be granted.

However, this does not mean that a parent is without hope. The custody process in North Carolina is set up to protect children and ensure that the best interests of the child are served by custody arrangements created by the Court system. Even if your case does equate to an emergency under the law, a parent may use the regular custody process to get swift decisions and eventually arrive at a custody order that is in the best interests of the child.

We encourage all of our parents to go through some sort of custody process where the parents live separately. We encourage collaborative or collective agreement between the parties, where possible, to give the children a stable schedule and the parents a set of guidelines to follow. We encourage the drafting of Consent Orders for child custody where the parents work out schedules and rules for the parenting of their children that can be submitted to the Court.

When agreement is improbable, we advise our clients to seek the decisions of a judge and present a case that leads the judge to do what he or she believes is in the best interest of the child given the facts presented. In either instance, our focus is to get the best possible outcome for the children involved.

If you are inquiring about emergency custody today, then regardless of whether your situation qualifies, it is clear that we need to start a regular custody case on your behalf. Please contact us with any questions or concerns. Let us help you decide if emergency custody is right in your case. Even if it is not, we will be able to steer you in the proper direction to get a custody order that is in the best interests of your children.

Contact attorney Jonathan Meek at Meek Law Firm today. Call (704) 848-6335 or use the contact form on the right of this page to schedule your consultation appointment.

What you should know about legal separation

Taking the steps to get a legal separation in Charlotte, NC can be a difficult, confusing process. Some people are unsure of what to do while others wonder whether it’s even necessary to legally separate. The following information will help you get a better understanding of your situation. Also, keep in mind that while filing for separation is typically a preliminary step toward divorce, it is not the case in every situation.

Evaluate your situation

Even if you’re not sure whether you and your spouse can work together and come to an agreement, there are still benefits to filing for legal separation. More often than not, these situations are ones in which the couple or one member of the cple has large financial assets or where child custody could be an issue. In these cases a legal separation can help to set some ground rules for the situation, whether the couple moves toward divorce or not. Ultimately, this can limit confusion or further problems for the couple and their family.

Check your requirements

Depending on where you live, there may be special requirements for moving forward with a legal separation. Each jurisdiction can have different requirements, so check with your attorney before moving forward with a separation filing to ensure that you have completed everything appropriately. State residency rules are the most important part of verifying that you’re prepared for the separation. A separation can become effective instantly, unlike a divorce, which might take several months or years before a final decree is awarded.

Move forward

You will file a petition for the legal separation with the court. It’s recommended that you retain an attorney to help you from this point forward, since it can be complicated and require additional guidance. Your separation agreement will also be filed with the petition, and this agreement outlines financial arrangements for debts, spousal support, child custody, and any details about who will stay in what house. Marital assets can also be included in a separation agreement.

If you and your spouse choose not to file together, the spouse will have to be served with the paperwork. The spouse does have a right to counter the petition once they have been served if they do not agree with the provisions in the paperwork. Otherwise, the petition can be signed by the spouse and this will require a notary to make the paperwork official.

When the judge has reviewed the submitted information, it is transferred to the court clerk for official filing. Since this paperwork can be so critical, working with an attorney will help you to move through the process of separation as smoothly as possible with your rights represented and protected.

Attorney Jonathan Meek has guided many individuals through the process of legally separating. If you are thinking about filing for legal separation, contact Meek Law Firm today to discuss your case. Call (704) 848-6335 or use the contact form on the right of this page to schedule a consultation appointment.


Six important questions to ask a divorce lawyer

Choosing a divorce lawyer is one of the most important decisions people in Charlotte, NC must make when getting a divorce. You want your rights represented vigorously and you also want to work with someone knowledgeable and experienced. These questions will help you get a better understanding of any divorce attorneys you are considering.

  1. What is your recommendation for my case?

After you’ve had a chance to explain some of the details of your case, a qualified attorney should be able to walk you through the next steps. This will give you an idea of how comfortable they are with the divorce process in North Carolina, as well as how fully they understand the unique facets of your case.

  1. What is your background in this area?

Learn as much as possible about the attorney’s experience in divorce cases.  Experience is a good indicator of several things, including the speed and knowledge with which your attorney will broach the issues in your case. Don’t immediately discount a newer attorney because they are often less likely to be “jaded,” which means they may be more zealous while representing you.

  1. What challenges do you think we might face?

A good attorney will be able to pick up on potential problems before they happen. This is why your initial consultation is so important, because a brief introduction to your case can reveal a lot of information to an attorney. Make sure to answer all of the questions your attorney might have for you, as this data-gathering can be helpful in moving your case forward quickly.

  1. How will I be charged?

Find out the details of what the attorney will require to be kept on retainer. Some attorneys work on an hourly basis and others may prefer to work on a case basis, and knowing the details in advance can help to reduce confusion over payment arrangements in the future. It will also give you a sense of the kind of attorney you’re working with and whether you’ll be able to afford the representation you need.

  1. How will we communicate with each other?

Each person has their own preference about the best way to communicate, and it’s best to work with a lawyer who meets your individual needs and requests. For example, if you prefer to speak by phone and your lawyer also requests this method, it’s a good sign that your communication will make you feel confident throughout the process. It’s not good if the attorney already shows signs of not getting back to you in a timely manner.

  1. How long do you think this might take?

Although it can be hard to estimate, it’s important to ask this question for a few reasons. First of all, you want to know how long you’re going to face the emotional challenges of a divorce case. If you’re paying hourly, it will also give you an idea of how quickly (or not) your case will be completed and what you might expect to pay.

Attorney Jonathan Meek is ready to answer these questions and any others you might have. He is very experienced in divorce cases and will give you the expert representation you need to ensure that your rights are protected throughout the entire proceeding. Call (704) 848-6335 or use the contact form on the right of this page to schedule a consultation appointment with Meek Law Firm.

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