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INFORMATIONAL MEMORANDUM

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					                       INFORMATIONAL MEMORANDUM
                                       FOR

                NORTH CAROLINA FAMILY LAW CLIENTS




                      F AMILY LAW MISSIO N STATEMENT

       Through care, integrity and honesty, we at Woodruff & Associates, Attorneys
at Law, P.A., are committed to leading the State of North Carolina in providing
creative solutions for our clients. We vigorously pursue the needs of the children
and the reasonable objectives of our clients, with emphasis on complete financial
analysis, including accurate valuation of businesses, pensions and other assets, and
in-depth budget designing. We work in an atmosphere of harmony and trust that
provides a positive self-image for each team member.




C opyright:                                             420 West Market Street
W oodruff Law Firm , P.A.                                 336-272 -9122 (phone)
c woodruff@woodruff lawfirm.com                                                        33
W ebsite: www.woodr ufflawfirm.com
            OVERVIEW OF DIVORCE LAW IN NORTH CAROLINA


                                   1. INTRODU CTION

      1.1    The dissolution of marriage is an unusually traumatic event.

       1.2    This memorandum is designed to discuss many areas that might be of concern
to you. It is not intended as legal advice for your particular case; do not let this
memorandum replace discussion and advice from one of our attorneys. Family law is
complex; your case may have nuances that make some of the general statutes herein
inapplicable. This is designed for basic information so we may be able to communicate
with some common vocabulary. We hope it will remove some of the uncertainties that
you may have. You will have specific questions even after you have studied this
information. Please ask those questions and keep asking them until you understand the
answers.

       1.3  There are four basic legal causes of action to grow out of the dissolution of a
marriage in which there are children and three causes of action in a marriage without
children. For purposes of this discussion, these actions are classified as follows: 1. Child
Custody and Support; 2. Alimony; 3. Division of Property; and 4.
Divorce.

        1.4     With the exception of obtaining the actual absolute divorce, the resolution of
these issues can be achieved either by agreement or through litigation.
Furthermore, mediation and/or arbitration may facilitate agreement in some
cases. To obtain the absolute divorce, a simple court hearing is necessary. If other
litigation is involved, each cause of action can be maintained in a separate lawsuit; however,
one or more of these actions are usually combined in one lawsuit with separate claims for
relief for each cause of action. As an example, in a family made up of a husband, a wife,
and at least one minor child, one lawsuit might address (1) child custody and child support,
(2) postseparation support and permanent Alimony and (3) interim possession of the
marital home and property division (equitable distribution).


C opyright:                                                   420 West Market Street
W oodruff Law Firm , P.A.                                       336-272 -9122 (phone)
c woodruff@woodruff lawfirm.com                                                                  33
W ebsite: www.woodr ufflawfirm.com
                           2. TEMPORARY RELIEF

       2.1 If your spouse becomes abusive to you or your children or refuses to
provide reasonable support, the court may hear our evidence on an accelerated basis
and determine if you should receive some relief while the case is pending. The court
will require both you and your spouse to file a complete financial statement of your
earnings and monthly expenses and will restrain both of you from physically abusing
each other. If at any time you feel you need this sort of temporary relief, be sure to
let us know immediately.

       2.2 Your case will be contested unless you and your spouse agree on all
aspects of custody, support, property division and payment of debts, attorneys’ fees
and court costs. If your spouse disputes any of these matters, you do not have an
uncontested case. Mediation, arbitration or trial will be necessary on those items on
which you cannot agree. Even after the complaint for relief is filed, the matter may
still be settled by consent, mediation or arbitration. The court will decide only
unresolved issues.




C opyright:                                              420 West Market Street
W oodruff Law Firm , P.A.                                  336-272 -9122 (phone)
c woodruff@woodruff lawfirm.com                                                          33
W ebsite: www.woodr ufflawfirm.com
                        3. MEDIATION/ARBITRATION

        3.1 Certain lawyers have special training in mediation and/or arbitration,
which may be useful to your case. Your lawyer can negotiate a settlement with the
opposing counsel, with your approval. However, sometimes a lawyer mediator can
facilitate settlement by bringing all parties together with their lawyers in a conference
room for an open discussion of the issue(s). Your lawyer will protect your interests
and make sure you do not agree to something unfair under the law. The opposing
lawyer will do the same thing for your spouse. [The mediator lawyer facilitates
communication but does not represent you or give advice, tax advice or valuation
advice. (It is unethical in North Carolina for one attorney to
represent the interests of you and your spouse because your
interests are not the same.)]

       3.2 Mediation is not binding. The results of a mediation must be written
down in an agreement by your attorney (who represents your interests) and your
spouse’s attorney (who represents your spouse’s interests); after the wording is
satisfactory, then you and your spouse sign the agreement before a notary in the
offices of your respective attorneys. THEN, and only then, are you bound legally.

      3.3 Sometimes, a mediation can be turned into a binding arbitration. Ask
your attorney if you are interested in this option.




C opyright:                                                420 West Market Street
W oodruff Law Firm , P.A.                                    336-272 -9122 (phone)
c woodruff@woodruff lawfirm.com                                                             33
W ebsite: www.woodr ufflawfirm.com
                      4. INITIATION OF A LAWSUIT

      4.1 The first step in a lawsuit is the preparation and filing of a summons and
complaint. The summons is the court document requiring that a defendant has
been given a copy of the complaint. The complaint is the court document in which
the plaintiff tells the defendant why the plaintiff is bringing the lawsuit.

      4.2 After the summons and complaint are filed, the other spouse must
receive proper notice. To avoid needless embarrassment to your spouse, we can
permit him or her to accept service. If your spouse will not agree to accept service,
we will simply send the sheriff. Do not let your spouse worry you by saying that he
or she will not sign an acceptance. If we are unable to locate your spouse, we can
obtain sufficient service by publication in the newspaper.




C opyright:                                             420 West Market Street
W oodruff Law Firm , P.A.                                 336-272 -9122 (phone)
c woodruff@woodruff lawfirm.com                                                         33
W ebsite: www.woodr ufflawfirm.com
                      5. CHILD CUSTODY AND SUPPORT
        5.1    The magic words in North Carolina in child custody trials are “best
interest of the child”. It is part of the Mission Statement of this Firm to protect the
best interests of children. It is generally best for children for the parents to agree on a
custodial schedule through negotiation and mediation. If no agreement can be reached,
after hearing all the evidence, a judge must decide which spouse will make the major
decisions affecting the child’s life and will provide the child’s day-to-day residential
supervision. Except in unusual circumstances, the noncustodial spouse will receive
substantial visitation privileges with the child. Rarely is a noncustodial spouse given less
than alternate weekends, one-half of the school holidays and several weeks in the summer.
There is no presumptive visitation schedule, and the court welcomes mutually agreeable
visitation settlement.

       5.2 The noncustodial spouse will generally be ordered to provide child support by
way of periodic payment to the custodial spouse. The court must follow the North
Carolina Child Support Guidelines unless there are factors requiring deviation from the
guidelines. If there are reasons for deviation such as special needs of a child or high income
in the family, then the determination is based, in part, on financial statements prepared by
the custodial spouse. These financial statements will be filed with the court. The court will
then review the financial statements itemizing the incomes and expenses of each spouse.

        5.3  It should be noted that a noncustodial spouse’s child support obligation
continues until the child reaches the age of 18 or finishes high school (whichever occurs
last). However, if the child is otherwise emancipated, payment shall terminate at that time.
A party by agreement may obligate himself or herself to make such payments beyond these
time limits.

      5.4 Both child custody and child support are issues that can be raised at any time
during the child’s minority. Either spouse can petition the court to change its prior order
of custody or support based on a showing by the moving party that circumstances have
changed materially.




C opyright:                                                   420 West Market Street
W oodruff Law Firm , P.A.                                       336-272 -9122 (phone)
c woodruff@woodruff lawfirm.com                                                                  33
W ebsite: www.woodr ufflawfirm.com
                            CHILDREN OF DIVORCE

       5.5 The Family Life Council, 301 East Washington Street, Suite 204,
Greensboro, NC 27401, hosts a course called "Children of Divorce." The course has a
small fee and is taught, generally, either on two consecutive Thursday nights or all at
once on a Saturday morning. The schedule can be obtained by calling the Family
Life Council at 336-333-6890. To make the experience as positive as possible, the
course does not allow separated parents in the same session. Stepparents and
grandparents are also welcome to attend. Questions can also be answered via e-mail
at rstarnes@flcgso.com. One of the instructors in the course, from time to time, is
our own attorney, Bonnie Rossi.


                 CHILD SUPPORT CENTRAL COLLECTIONS

     5.6 North Carolina Child Support Central Collections has the address of P.O.
Box 90006 Raleigh, North Carolina 27675.

      The website is http://www.dhhs.state.nc.us/dss/central-collect/index.htm.
Check or money order is made out to N.C. Child Support and mailed to Centralized
Collections with a payment coupon in the self-addressed envelope, provided by
Centralized Collections.

                5.7 TAX ISSUES RELATED TO CHILDREN

 Child support is not taxable as income to the payee spouse.
 Child support is not a deduction to the payor spouse.
 Unless there is an agreement to the contrary, the primary custodial spouse gets
  the child's tax exemption.
 You may be eligible for head of household if you are the custodial parent.
 You may be eligible for childcare credits even if you do not have the child’s
  exemption.
C opyright:                                               420 West Market Street
W oodruff Law Firm , P.A.                                   336-272 -9122 (phone)
c woodruff@woodruff lawfirm.com                                                           33
W ebsite: www.woodr ufflawfirm.com
                      6. POSTSEPARATION SUPPORT

      6.1 Effective October 1, 1995 for actions filed on or after that date,
Postseparation Support laws in this State have changed. How much this law change
matters is really yet to be seen and depends on the facts of your case and how the
judges interpret the law.

      6.2 North Carolina no longer has temporary Alimony, but has changed the
terminology to Postseparation Support.

      6.3 The court is instructed to award Postseparation Support based upon the
following:

 Financial needs of the parties;
 Accustomed standard of living;
 Present employment income and other recurring earnings of each party from any
  source;
 Earning abilities of both spouses;
 Separate and marital debt service obligations;
 Necessary living expenses of both parties;
 Each person’s respective legal obligations to support any other person;
 Pre-separation marital misconduct of both parties.

     6.4 Postseparation support is recoverable in North Carolina only to the
dependant spouse and only paid by the supporting spouse.

     6.5 Marital Misconduct means any of the following acts that occur during
the marriage and prior to or on the date of separation:

  1. Illicit sexual behavior, which includes acts of sexual or deviant sexual
     intercourse, deviant sexual acts, or sexual acts voluntarily engaged in with
     someone other than the other spouse;
  2. Causing an involuntary separation in consequence of a criminal act;
C opyright:                                           420 West Market Street
W oodruff Law Firm , P.A.                               336-272 -9122 (phone)
c woodruff@woodruff lawfirm.com                                                      33
W ebsite: www.woodr ufflawfirm.com
  3. Abandoning the other spouse;
  4. Maliciously turning the other spouse out of doors;
  5. Cruel and barbarous treatment endangering the life of the other spouse;
  6. Indignities rendering the condition of the other spouse intolerable and life
     burdensome;
  7. Reckless spending of the income of either party, or the destruction, waste,
     diversion or concealment of assets;
  8. Excessive use of alcohol or drugs so as to render the condition of the other
     spouse intolerable and life burdensome;
  9. Willful failure to provide necessary subsistence according to one’s means and
     condition so as to render the condition of the other spouse intolerable and life
     burdensome.




C opyright:                                             420 West Market Street
W oodruff Law Firm , P.A.                                 336-272 -9122 (phone)
c woodruff@woodruff lawfirm.com                                                         33
W ebsite: www.woodr ufflawfirm.com
                                  7. ALIMONY

Entitlement to Alimony:

      7.1  You must be the dependant spouse, which means you are actually
substantially dependant upon the other spouse for support or substantially in
need of support from the other spouse.


      7.2 It must be equitable to award the dependant spouse Alimony.
Equitable is determined on the following relevant factors:

 Financial needs of the parties;
 Accustomed standard of living;
 Present employment income and other recurring earnings of each party from any
  source;
 Earning abilities of both spouses;
 Separate and marital debt service obligations;
 Living expenses of both parties necessary for support of both;
 Each party’s respective legal obligations to support any other person.

      7.3 Finally, illicit sexual behavior plays a determinative role in entitlement
to permanent alimony.

      a.    If you are the dependant spouse and you engaged in uncondoned illicit
sexual behavior during the marriage and prior to the date of separation, you will not
be entitled to Alimony unless the supporting spouse also participated in an act of
uncondoned illicit sexual behavior during the marriage prior to the date of
separation.

     b.    If you are the supporting spouse, your spouse shall be entitled to
Alimony if you engaged in an uncondoned illicit sexual act during the marriage


C opyright:                                             420 West Market Street
W oodruff Law Firm , P.A.                                 336-272 -9122 (phone)
c woodruff@woodruff lawfirm.com                                                         33
W ebsite: www.woodr ufflawfirm.com
prior to the date of separation (and   the dependant spouse is not guilty of the
same conduct.)


        c.   If both spouses have engaged in an uncondoned illicit sexual act, then
Alimony may be denied or awarded in the discretion of the court after consideration
of all the other circumstances.

      7.4   Amount and Duration of Permanent Alimony:

1.   Who decides? The trial court decides in its discretion the amount, duration
and manner of payment of Alimony.

2.  What are the relevant factors the court must consider in determining the
manner, amount and duration of payment of permanent Alimony?

50-16.3A(b)

   1. The marital misconduct of either of the spouses, which may be determined by
      a jury (see marital misconduct under Postseparation Support. These
      factors are the same);
   2. The relative earnings and earning capacities of the spouses;
   3. The ages and the physical, mental and emotional conditions of the spouses;
   4. The amount and source of earned and unearned income of both spouses;
      including, but not limited to, earnings, dividends and benefits such as medical,
      retirement, insurance, social security or others;
   5. The duration of the marriage;
   6. The contribution by one spouse to the education, training or increased
      earning power of the other spouse;
   7. The extent to which the earning power, expenses or financial obligations of a
      spouse will be affected by reason of serving as the custodian of a minor child;
   8. The standard of living of the spouses established during the marriage;
   9. The relative education of the spouses and the time necessary to acquire
      sufficient education or training to enable the spouse seeking Alimony to find
      employment to meet his or her reasonable economic needs;
C opyright:                                              420 West Market Street
W oodruff Law Firm , P.A.                                  336-272 -9122 (phone)
c woodruff@woodruff lawfirm.com                                                          33
W ebsite: www.woodr ufflawfirm.com
     10.The relative assets and liabilities of the spouses and the relative debt service
         requirements of the spouses, including legal obligations of support;
     11. The property brought to the marriage by either spouse;
     12. The contribution of a spouse as a homemaker;
     13. The relative needs of the spouses;
     14. The Federal and State tax ramifications of the Alimony award;
     15. Any other factors relating to the economic circumstances of the parties that
         the court finds to be just and proper.

     7.5 Modification/Termination of Alimony and/or Postseparation Support

1.    Alimony or Postseparation Support can be modified or terminated by the
court upon a showing of changed circumstances.

2.      Alimony or Postseparation Support terminate:

 Upon the death of either party
 Upon the remarriage of recipient spouse
 Upon cohabitation of the recipient spouse

3.    What is cohabitation? The act of two adults dwelling together continuously
and habitually in a private heterosexual or homosexual relationship. Evidence
includes:

Voluntary mutual assumption of those marital rights, duties and obligations
which are usually manifested by married people and which include, but are
not necessarily dependant on, sexual relations.




C opyright:                                                420 West Market Street
W oodruff Law Firm , P.A.                                    336-272 -9122 (phone)
c woodruff@woodruff lawfirm.com                                                            33
W ebsite: www.woodr ufflawfirm.com
     8. PROCEDURAL TIMING: ALIMONY AND POSTSEPARATION
                                   SUPPORT

      8.1 Your case for Alimony or Postseparation Support must be pending in
the court prior to your absolute divorce.

      8.2 The divorce, however, does not terminate             the   Alimony   or
Postseparation award already in place automatically.

       8.3 The claim for Alimony may be heard on the merits prior to the entry of
a judgment for Equitable Distribution, and if awarded, the issues of amount and of
whether a spouse is a dependant or supporting spouse may be reviewed by the court
after the conclusion of the equitable distribution claim.




C opyright:                                           420 West Market Street
W oodruff Law Firm , P.A.                               336-272 -9122 (phone)
c woodruff@woodruff lawfirm.com                                                      33
W ebsite: www.woodr ufflawfirm.com
     9. TAXATION OF ALIMONY AND POSTSEPARATION SUPPORT

      9.1 When parties file separate tax returns and reside in separate households,
Alimony payments in cash to or for the benefit of the recipient spouse will be
considered taxable income to the dependant spouse and a deduction to the
supporting spouse. Ask about the “designated payments rule” when you desire
another result.

      9.2 If there is a court order for Alimony or Postseparation Support, current
IRS policy in our district requires you to file single or head of household. (This does
not apply to private agreements outside of court.)




C opyright:                                               420 West Market Street
W oodruff Law Firm , P.A.                                   336-272 -9122 (phone)
c woodruff@woodruff lawfirm.com                                                           33
W ebsite: www.woodr ufflawfirm.com
                           10. ABSOLUTE DIVORCE

       10.1 In North Carolina, absolute divorces are almost always obtained on the
basis of one year’s separation. After you and your spouse have lived separate
continuously for one year, without resuming the marital relationship, either of you
may obtain an absolute divorce. Attempts at reconciliation marked by isolated
instances of sexual intercourse will not automatically end the period of continuous
separation. However, instances of sexual intercourse and nights spent together may
add to the totality of circumstances sufficient to cause a court to find that you have
renewed voluntarily the marital relationship. Should a court so find, the twelve-
month clock will be reset. You cannot file for an absolute divorce until the next
business day after your one-year separation. For example, if you and your spouse
separated on February 12, 2001, you cannot file for your absolute divorce until
February 13, 2002. Then your spouse is served with the summons and complaint
discussed in INITIATION OF A LAWSUIT, found at the beginning of this section of
this Client Information Memorandum. From the point of service, your spouse has
30 days in which to answer your Complaint and may even get a 30-day extension to
answer your Complaint, making it 60 days before you can get a court date. If your
spouse does not choose to answer your Complaint, which he/she can do, we can file
automatically for a court date after the 30-day answer period has lapsed. It takes at
least three weeks to get a court day in Guilford County (each county is different)
from the time the 30-day answer period has lapsed or we receive an answer, thus
making it at least seven to eight weeks before you actually obtain your absolute
divorce.

10.2 NEVER PLAN A NEW WEDDING DATE UNTIL YOU HAVE YOUR DIVORCE
                       JUDGMENT IN HAND!




C opyright:                                              420 West Market Street
W oodruff Law Firm , P.A.                                  336-272 -9122 (phone)
c woodruff@woodruff lawfirm.com                                                          33
W ebsite: www.woodr ufflawfirm.com
             11. PROPERTY DIVISION: EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION
      11.1  The court (unless settled by agreement which can be done at any
time after you separate) will divide the property owned by you and your spouse.
You must have a claim for equitable distribution pending on the date of absolute
divorce, or your rights are gone. In North Carolina, this process is described as
“Equitable Distribution of Marital Assets.”

      11.2    There are three types of property that must be considered.

            11.2(a)     “Separate property” includes all property owned by either
      spouse before the marriage, property acquired during the marriage by one
      spouse by inheritance or gift from a third party and property acquired after the
      date of separation with post-separation earnings. A gift from one spouse to
      the other during the marriage is marital property unless the donor states at the
      time of the conveyance that it is intended to be separate property.

            11.2(b)      “Marital Property” includes property presently owned that
      was acquired during the marriage except property determined to be “separate
      property”. “Marital property” includes all vested pension and retirement
      benefits acquired during the marriage and prior to separation.

            11.2(c)      "Divisible property" is relatively new. Divisible property is
      property subject to equitable distribution upon divorce and is defined as real
      and personal property that includes the appreciation and diminution in value
      of marital property and other divisible property acquired as a result of actions
      of the parties during the marriage but before separation, passive income from
      marital property received after separation and increases in marital debt
      including finance charges and interest related to marital debt.

      11.3 The new law further creates a presumption that an in-kind distribution
of marital or divisible property is equitable, but allows this presumption to be
rebutted by the greater weight of the evidence, or by evidence that the property is a
closely held business entity or is otherwise not susceptible of division in-kind.

C opyright:                                               420 West Market Street
W oodruff Law Firm , P.A.                                   336-272 -9122 (phone)
c woodruff@woodruff lawfirm.com                                                          33
W ebsite: www.woodr ufflawfirm.com
       11.4 The new law makes it easier for the court to make interim distributions
of property prior to the final judgment. Under current law, before an interim
distribution may be made, the spouse must show good cause for such a distribution.
The new law authorizes the court to make interim distributions unless good cause is
shown that such a distribution should not be made.

       11.5 The new law further provides that evidence of pre-separation and post-
separation value is competent as corroborative evidence of the value of marital
property as of the date of separation. Divisible property and divisible debt are valued
as of the date of distribution.

      11.6 The change relating to motions for interim allocation applies to
motions for interim allocation filed after October 1, 1997. The remainder of the new
law hereinabove applies to actions for equitable distribution filed on or after that
date.

      11.7 There are thirteen (13) statutory factors the court must consider in
deciding whether an equal division is appropriate in your case. These factors are:

   Income, property and debts of a party;
   Support obligations from prior marriages;
   Length of marriage and age and health of each party;
   Needs of custodial spouse to own or to possess the marital homeplace and
    household effects;
   Expectation of retirement benefits which are separate property;
   Efforts made by each spouse to acquire property;
   Contributions of one spouse to the education of the other;
   Direct contributions that increase the value of separate property;
   Liquid or non-liquid nature of property;
   Difficulty in valuing interest in a business;
   Tax consequences;
   Actions taken by either party to preserve or waste marital assets; and
   Other factors.
    11.8      Adultery is NOT considered in the settlement of property rights.

C opyright:                                               420 West Market Street
W oodruff Law Firm , P.A.                                   336-272 -9122 (phone)
c woodruff@woodruff lawfirm.com                                                           33
W ebsite: www.woodr ufflawfirm.com
              12. EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION AFFIDAVIT

       12.1 If your equitable distribution case goes to litigation (i.e., a Complaint
is filed), then the first party to file the equitable distribution claim must serve an
inventory on the opposing side. The opposing side has 30 days to file a responsive
inventory affidavit. The affidavit must:

 List items of marital property
 List items of separate property
 Give the estimated date of separation value

N.C.G.S. 50-21 specifically provides: that these affidavits shall be subject to
amendment and “shall not be binding at trial as to completeness or value”.

      12.2 Changes with regard to inventory affidavits:

            12.2(a)       Willful obstruction or delay can subject you to severe
      financial penalties and can cause the court to not allow you to present your
      side of the case.

            12.2(b)    After your absolute divorce, the court (unless settled by
      agreement, which can be done at any time after you separate) will divide
      the property owned by you and your spouse. YOU MUST HAVE A CLAIM FOR
      EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION PENDING ON THE DATE OF DIVORCE, OR YOUR
      RIGHTS ARE GONE.      In North Carolina this process is described as “Equitable
      Distribution of Marital Assets”. There are two types of property that must be
      considered. “Separate property” includes all property owned by either spouse
      before the marriage, property acquired during the marriage by one spouse by
      inheritance or gift from a third party and property acquired after the date of
      separation with post-separation earnings. A gift from one spouse to the other
      during the marriage is marital property unless the donor states at the time of
      the conveyance that it is intended to be separate property. “Marital Property”
C opyright:                                               420 West Market Street
W oodruff Law Firm , P.A.                                   336-272 -9122 (phone)
c woodruff@woodruff lawfirm.com                                                          33
W ebsite: www.woodr ufflawfirm.com
      includes property presently owned that was acquired during the marriage
      except property determined to be “separate property”. “Marital property”
      includes all vested pension and retirement benefits. As you might imagine,
      the law of equitable distribution is extremely complex; this brief description is
      a gross over-simplification. Please discuss the specifics of your case with your
      lawyer in our firm.

      12.3 Separate property will be kept by the spouse who owns it while marital
property will be divided between the parties by the court. While there is not a precise
formula for dividing property, there is a strong tendency in North Carolina to divide
the property or its equivalent value equally.

      12.4 Marital misconduct such as adultery is NOT considered in the property
settlement or property rights. (Marital misconduct is considered with regard to
Alimony.)




C opyright:                                               420 West Market Street
W oodruff Law Firm , P.A.                                   336-272 -9122 (phone)
c woodruff@woodruff lawfirm.com                                                           33
W ebsite: www.woodr ufflawfirm.com
               13. TAXATION OF PROPERTY SETTLEMENTS

      Generally, a division of marital property is a nontaxable event. (Discuss
exceptions with your attorney.) Generally, if property is transferred between spouses
pursuant to an agreement or court order, it will neither be taxed as income nor
allowed as a deduction. There may be tax consequences, however, when funds are
transferred from retirement plan and Individual Retirement Accounts and when
marital assets are sold to third parties. There are also traps that need to be evaluated
with regard to your specific case.




C opyright:                                               420 West Market Street
W oodruff Law Firm , P.A.                                   336-272 -9122 (phone)
c woodruff@woodruff lawfirm.com                                                            33
W ebsite: www.woodr ufflawfirm.com
                         14. BUSINESS VALUATION
                              15. COURT COSTS

      15.1 Court costs for filing a lawsuit are less than $100.00. If we employ
depositions and property appraisals, the costs can be substantially higher. You must
pay for these items as we go, since we will not be able to advance money on the case.
You will have the opportunity to approve all such procedures before a commitment
is made and have a right to receive a preliminary cost estimate from the service
providers.


                              16. COUNSEL FEES

      16.1 Please see your fee agreement for more details. Please retain your copy
of the fee agreement.

       16.2 It is impossible to determine the precise fee until the case is completed.
A typical domestic case requires many separate services, including conferences,
discovery of assets, liabilities, income and expenses, settlement negotiations with
your spouse’s attorney, preparation and review of a proposed property settlement
and support agreements, preparation and filing of pleadings or review of pleadings
filed by your spouse, preparation or review of court orders and attendance at various
court hearings.

       16.3 If a trial is necessary, one spouse may be ordered to pay some portion of
the other spouse’s attorney’s fees. You are responsible for paying our fees, but we
will give you full credit for any payments made by your spouse pursuant to a court
order, and will pursue any possible claim for attorney's fees against your spouse. The
court can award attorney’s fees for the custody, child support, Postseparation
Support and Alimony claims, but not for the absolute divorce and equitable
distribution claims.


C opyright:                                              420 West Market Street
W oodruff Law Firm , P.A.                                  336-272 -9122 (phone)
c woodruff@woodruff lawfirm.com                                                          33
W ebsite: www.woodr ufflawfirm.com
                               17. RECONCILIATION

       17.1 Even after we begin our court action you may change your mind and decide
to try to work things out. If you decide to drop your case, you will be responsible for only
those services actually performed. We will wish the best for you.



                               18. CHANGE OF NAME

       18.1 The female spouse may wish to resume her maiden name as part of the
divorce decree. We can accomplish this easily at no additional charge. If you want that
service, let us know before we prepare the absolute divorce complaint or answer a lawsuit.
There is no provision under the law for a male spouse to force his wife to resume the use of
her maiden name.



                 19. ACCOMMODATING NEW RELATIONSHIPS

        19.1 You are married until the divorce is granted. Post-separation pre-divorce
dating can be used by your spouse against you and your new partner. Common problems
are as follows:

   1. Your partner may be sued for alienation of affection or criminal conversation;
   2. With regard to Alimony and Postseparation Support, post-date-of-separation
      marital misconduct may be used as corroborating evidence that misconduct
      occurred during the marriage and prior to date of separation.

If these are risks you are prepared to take, please tell us about all such actions on your part
so that we can be prepared to respond to these circumstances.


C opyright:                                                    420 West Market Street
W oodruff Law Firm , P.A.                                        336-272 -9122 (phone)
c woodruff@woodruff lawfirm.com                                                                   33
W ebsite: www.woodr ufflawfirm.com
                           20. CONFIDENTIALITY

     20.1 We must have all the facts to represent you properly. Anything you tell
anyone in this office is strictly confidential and will not be disclosed without your
permission. IF, AT ANY TIME, YOU SUSPECT ANYONE IN THIS OFFICE OF
RELEASING ANY CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION REGARDING YOUR CASE, PLEASE
CONTACT MS. WOODRUFF PERSONALLY AT (336) 887-6689.



   21. SECURITY OF DOCUMENTS AND/OR FINANCIAL ACCOUNTS

      21.1 As soon as possible, you may wish to copy documents or secure them at
a location where your spouse cannot find them. You may also wish to withdraw half
the funds in joint accounts and place these funds in a separate account in your name
alone. You should also consider notifying all credit card authorities and equity line
lenders that you will be responsible for no further charges made by your spouse. If
you do not take these actions, your spouse may. While (if not settled) these
property rights will be resolved ultimately at an equitable distribution hearing, that
resolution may not occur for eighteen months or longer. Until that time, the party
with possession of those assets may be allowed to keep them.


                        22. CURRENT INFORMATION
        22.1 We will make every effort to keep you informed. You will receive copies
of correspondence and documents prepared or received by us. If you learn of some
letter or documents that we have not sent you, please tell me so that we may correct
that oversight immediately. There may be times when you are unable to reach your
attorney by telephone or speak with your attorney directly as quickly as you would
like. This is particularly true when your attorney is in court, depositions or
mediations. During those times, we must appear at the direction of the Court and
judicial officials (or mediation by commitment to another client). We have very
little control over that. Please feel free to discuss any matters with our able and
confidential staff in the absence of your attorney. In the event of emergency, the
C opyright:                                              420 West Market Street
W oodruff Law Firm , P.A.                                  336-272 -9122 (phone)
c woodruff@woodruff lawfirm.com                                                          33
W ebsite: www.woodr ufflawfirm.com
staff will get in touch with your attorney to determine handling. There may be
something that they can find out for you immediately. If, at any time, you feel that
your inquiries are not being handled appropriately or your needs are not being met,
please call Ms. Woodruff directly at (336) 887-6689.

      22.2 Our goal is not only to meet but also to exceed your expectations
regarding the quality of legal representation and services you receive. If you have
any concerns or suggestions at any time, we welcome the opportunity to discuss
them with you.




C opyright:                                             420 West Market Street
W oodruff Law Firm , P.A.                                 336-272 -9122 (phone)
c woodruff@woodruff lawfirm.com                                                        33
W ebsite: www.woodr ufflawfirm.com
                         23. GENERAL SUGGESTIONS
       23.1 Your well-meaning friends may offer you advice about your case.
Frequently, such advice is not accurate and you should be cautious in following it.
The facts surrounding your marriage, divorce, children and property are unique; they
are different from any other case. Custody and Alimony proceedings are very
emotional; the parties sometime use them to seek revenge. Sometimes one parent
will use the children in an attempt to punish the other parent. Prepare your children
properly without poisoning their minds about your spouse. Obtain professional
advice as necessary. If you need assistance in locating a qualified psychologist for
either yourself or your children, let us know. Continue to cooperate with your
spouse where the children’s best interests are involved. Do not discuss with anyone
the confidential matters involved in your case. Friends often pass information to
other parties that may get back to your spouse, whether it is intentional or
unintentional. It can defeat our efforts to help you.

       23.2 We strongly suggest that you follow the advice of your attorney with
this office. We have specific reasons for all of the advice that we give you; if we fail
to explain those reasons adequately, please ask until you understand.




C opyright:                                               420 West Market Street
W oodruff Law Firm , P.A.                                   336-272 -9122 (phone)
c woodruff@woodruff lawfirm.com                                                            33
W ebsite: www.woodr ufflawfirm.com
                                   24. GAMES

      24.1 (Please   promptly report all games to your lawyer so that the
situation can be discussed and handled appropriately.)


       24.2 Unfortunately, certain games are played in domestic cases by lawyers of
questionable ethics. Your spouse may fall prey to one of these games or may
willingly participate. It is good that you know and recognize these games, because
the games are only intended to cause you trouble in your case and to defeat the best
interest of your case and perhaps your children.

       24.3 Game One: Professional Jealousy. You have hired the family law firm
that strives to do the best. That is our Mission. We will develop your case ethically
by thorough factual analysis and creative application of the law based on a thorough
knowledge of the law. This may make lawyers who do not want to work as hard
jealous. Occasionally, an estranged spouse, via that spouse’s lawyer, may make
statements that are not only false, but also downright slanderous. The goal of this
game is to cause you to lose confidence in your lawyer to gain an advantage over
you. You must recognize this game and treat it for what it is. Report this game
immediately to the attorney in charge of your case.

       24.4 A variation of the game is “my lawyer is better than your lawyer.” Take
that for the childish statement it is.

      24.5 A third variation of the game is “your lawyer will charge you too much
and you will end up getting nothing.” Again, this is an attempt by your spouse to
lessen your confidence in your attorney so that your estranged spouse can exercise
control over you and win by causing you to settle for less than you are entitled to
under the law.

    24.6 This firm will not make negative comments about other family lawyers.
We will either make no comment or a positive comment. Please understand our

C opyright:                                             420 West Market Street
W oodruff Law Firm , P.A.                                 336-272 -9122 (phone)
c woodruff@woodruff lawfirm.com                                                         33
W ebsite: www.woodr ufflawfirm.com
ethical position on this game. We do not play. We do not need to play such a silly
game.

      24.7 Game Two: Retreat. You have the “goods” on your spouse’s marital
misconduct. That spouse knows it. The first thing your spouse’s lawyer may say is:
"reconcile." Do not fall for it. Discuss with your lawyer and marriage counselor ways
to test the sincerity of your spouse’s reconciliation efforts. There usually are
guideposts to keep you from being fooled.

      24.8 Game Three: Wiretapping. Do not participate in wiretapping in this
State. It can kill your case. Wiretapping, simply stated, is recording a conversation
when you are NOT a party to the conversation.

      24.9 You may record conversations to which you are a party, even if on the
telephone, provided all parties are in North Carolina.

      24.10 Game Four: Spy. Guard your confidential information in your case with
your “life”. If you must talk to someone other than those at your attorney’s office
and your psychiatrist, pick out one long-term close friend who can hold a
confidence. (Discuss with your attorney what the psychiatrist /psychologist can
be required to testify about; this is not always safe.)


      24.11 Some “friends,” even well-meaning, true friends, can seriously injure
your case by being “helpful” and passing along your confidential information to
your spouse or to someone who will pass it along to your spouse.




C opyright:                                             420 West Market Street
W oodruff Law Firm , P.A.                                 336-272 -9122 (phone)
c woodruff@woodruff lawfirm.com                                                         33
W ebsite: www.woodr ufflawfirm.com
                               25. NEW WILLS

      25.1 North Carolina’s Probate law invalidates certain portions of Wills that
were made prior to a divorce. Following the signing of a separation agreement or
divorce, you probably will need a new Will. If you wish to pursue this issue, please
ask us for a list of recommendations for attorneys who regularly do Wills.


                 26. NEW BENEFICIARY DESIGNATIONS

      26.1 Immediately after your case is finished (or upon divorce, if divorce
occurs before your case is finished), change beneficiary designations on:

      IRAs
      401ks
      All retirement plans
      Insurance policies
      Trusts
      Savings bonds/Bonds
      Any other document with a beneficiary




C opyright:                                             420 West Market Street
W oodruff Law Firm , P.A.                                 336-272 -9122 (phone)
c woodruff@woodruff lawfirm.com                                                        33
W ebsite: www.woodr ufflawfirm.com
                          27. WAITING PERIOD
      27.1 After service of the summons and complaint, it may take several weeks
to obtain a hearing on any non-emergency issue.


                         27.2 PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE

      27.3 Rome wasn’t built in a day; unfortunately your case, if your spouse
wishes, could take almost as long as building Rome.




C opyright:                                          420 West Market Street
W oodruff Law Firm , P.A.                              336-272 -9122 (phone)
c woodruff@woodruff lawfirm.com                                                    33
W ebsite: www.woodr ufflawfirm.com
                              PATIENCE . . .
         I am extraordinarily
        patient, provided I get
       my own way in the end.
                                               You want nothing but
       ~Margaret Thatcher                      patience - or give it a
                                                 more fascinating
                                                name, call it hope.
                                                 ~Jane Austin, Sense and
                                                       Sensibility



                       If patience is worth anything, it
                       must endure to the end of time.
                                  ~Mohandas Gandhi




                                              He who knows patience knows
     Great difficulties may be                          peace.
   surmounted by patience and                         ~Chinese Proverb
          perseverance.
         ~Abigail Adams
                                                         The secret of patience:
                                                         Do something else in
         It is very strange. . . that the                   the meantime.
         years teach us patience; that                      ~Anonymous
            the shorter our time, the
            greater our capacity for
                     waiting.
          ~Elizabeth Taylor, A Wreath of Roses
C opyright:                                           420 West Market Street
W oodruff Law Firm , P.A.                               336-272 -9122 (phone)
c woodruff@woodruff lawfirm.com                                                    33
W ebsite: www.woodr ufflawfirm.com
                      28. REGARDING OUR LAW FIRM
        28.1 This law firm employs the most efficient staff and technology possible.
It is more cost effective to have staff assistants and computers perform certain
functions related to your case. Our staff members will do everything possible to
assist the lawyers in this office with your legal needs. However, they are not trained
psychologists or lawyers. We care very much about you and your case, but we can
only assist you with your legal problems.

      28.2 We appreciate the opportunity to be of service to you. Thank you for
your trust and confidence. We would like to make sure you understand this
memorandum; therefore, after you have FULLY read it, please feel free to ask any
questions you might have.




C opyright:                                              420 West Market Street
W oodruff Law Firm , P.A.                                  336-272 -9122 (phone)
c woodruff@woodruff lawfirm.com                                                          33
W ebsite: www.woodr ufflawfirm.com
                                 BEWARE!!
                 Domestic Violence Laws are Strong in this State

   Do not touch your ex (estranged) spouse for any reason. (Assault)

   Do not go inside the residence of your ex (estranged) spouse, even if your
    name is on the deed and it used to be your home. (Trespass)

   Do not telephone your ex (estranged) spouse excessively. (Harassment)

   Do not telephone the lover of your ex (estranged) spouse. (Harassment)

   Do not follow, either in your vehicle or on foot, your ex (estranged) spouse.
    (Stalking)

   Do not go to the place of business of your ex (estranged) spouse.
    (Harassment)

   Do not e-mail or write your ex (estranged) spouse. (Harassment)

   Do not block the path of your ex (estranged) spouse to a doorway or car.
    (False imprisonment)

   Do not use corporal punishment on your children unless both parents clearly
    agree. (Assault, DSS)

   Do not confront your ex (estranged) spouse concerning fault issues, such as
    adultery, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, etc. Let your attorney do this in the legal
    process. (Harassment)

   Do not use curse words either around or concerning your ex (estranged)
    spouse. (Harassment)


C opyright:                                            420 West Market Street
W oodruff Law Firm , P.A.                                336-272 -9122 (phone)
c woodruff@woodruff lawfirm.com                                                        33
W ebsite: www.woodr ufflawfirm.com
   Do not threaten to kill your ex (estranged) spouse, EVEN AS A JOKE.
    (Attempted Murder)

   Do not throw anything (even a paperclip) at your ex (estranged) spouse.
    (Assault)

   Do not remove a child from the arms or car of your ex (estranged) spouse.
    (Assault)

Ask about any point you do not understand.




C opyright:                                        420 West Market Street
W oodruff Law Firm , P.A.                            336-272 -9122 (phone)
c woodruff@woodruff lawfirm.com                                                 33
W ebsite: www.woodr ufflawfirm.com

				
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