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Dividing retirement accounts in divorce

Your retirement assets are significant, perhaps more valuable than any other single asset that you own. When you start heading toward divorce, what happens to these assets? Do you need to divide them with your spouse?

You may. Retirement accounts built up during marriage generally count as marital assets -- barring the use of a prenuptial agreement or something along these lines -- and have to get split up like other financial assets. You can do this with a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO).

DOT preparing to relax hours-of-duty regulations

Hours-of-service regulations limit the amount of time that truck drivers in North Carolina and around the country can remain behind the wheel. The rules are designed to prevent drowsy driving accidents, but industry groups claim that they are too restrictive. The Trump administration may have been swayed by this argument as recent media reports suggest that the Department of Transportation is planning to relax hours-of-service rules.

Under the current regulations, truck drivers can only spend 11 hours behind the wheel during a 14-hour shift. They must also take a 30-minute rest break after 8 hours of driving. Groups including the American Trucking Association say that this is unfair as most commercial vehicle drivers are paid for each mile covered. Press reports do not say what changes will be made by the DOT to the current hours-of-service regulations.

Americans divorce for a wide array of reasons

Marriage is difficult for many couples in North Carolina. Sometimes, nuptials fall apart at the seams and result in divorce. In 2017, approximately 800,000 divorces took place in the United States. Statistics show that couples divorce for specific reasons. The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) conducted research regarding the main reasons Americans end their marriages.

Domestic violence constitutes one important reason couples get divorced. Physical harm and verbal abuse are both viable reasons to separate. Whether the abuse is physical or emotional, any type of threat tends to destroy a marriage. Although anger management classes may help some spouses, others continue to play abusive roles that lead to an eventual divorce. Substance abuse is another reason for splitting. Whether the culprit is liquor, beer or harder drugs, any type of substance abuse can cause a spouse to become irresponsible or violent.

Reports: "anti-crime" apps stoke fears, don't prevent crime

Apps that claim to improve neighborhood safety and vigilance about crime are popular among many people in North Carolina. However, critics say that these apps fail to make a difference in stopping actual crime but can instead stoke racist stereotypes and unnecessary fears. While violent crime is at its lowest in decades across the country, an increasing number of social media apps advertise themselves as promoting crime awareness and safety by publicizing local crime alerts and promoting discussion with fellow nearby users.

Surveys have shown that Americans believe crime rates are worsening even though they are not. On the contrary, crime rates have sharply declined over the past 25 years. However, these social media apps, combined with sensationalistic news coverage, make people feel that the world is a more dangerous place. Some of the apps seem to knowingly encourage these fears. For example, one such app, Citizen, urges users to turn on its access to GPS location services by showing a mock crime alert for a nearby shooting. When users scroll down, they are instead informed that such alerts will only be possible if they activate location permissions.

Negligence explained as it applies to car accidents

"Negligence" is a term most people in North Carolina have probably heard at one time or another. However, in the legal world, it has a very specific definition when it's used in reference to a motor vehicle accident. Drivers with a better understanding of this term may have more an incentive to be safer while behind the wheel.

In order for negligence to apply when a car accident occurs, there are several requirements that need to be met. First, there are requirements for reasonable care, which means there's a reasonable expectation to operate a vehicle in a way that keeps drivers and pedestrians as safe as possible. There also has to be evidence that reasonable care wasn't taken. This evidence may include video footage of an individual driving erratically or a failed breath test. Additionally, there must be evidence that the driver's negligent actions caused the resulting accident.

CVSA cracks down on speeding with Operation Safe Driver Week

According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, speeding accounts for more than 25% of all the car crash deaths that have occurred since 2008. The organization also reported that 94% of the traffic crashes in 2015 involved speeding. Drivers of both passenger and commercial vehicles in North Carolina should know, though, that something is being done to reduce car crash numbers, especially speeding-related ones.

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance will increase enforcement of traffic laws during its yearly Operation Safe Driver Week. In 2019, it will take place from July 14 to 20, and the focus will be on speeding. Passenger and commercial vehicle drivers will be under increased observance from law enforcement officials.

Critical steps to take after a car accident

If you have suffered an injury in any type of motor vehicle accident, you can expect to face a variety of challenges. In addition to your physical health, you may have concerns about emotional distress and the impact on your finances.

By taking the right steps after a car accident, you put yourself in position to make a full recovery and receive all the compensation you deserve.

Assessing the contributions of stay-at-home spouses in divorce

In North Carolina, like most states, property division in case of divorce is supposed to be equitable. This means that a court may consider the contributions of both spouses when deciding how to split up assets. While this may be straightforward if both spouses earned an income, it can be more complex if one spouse did not. These spouses are often stay-at-home parents whose support has helped the career of the breadwinner.

More of them are mothers than fathers, and this is consistent with Americans' belief that mothers are better caregivers for babies than fathers. One-quarter of mothers in America do not work outside the home compared to 7 percent of fathers. A study by two Vanderbilt University professors examined attitudes about the value of each person's contributions when assets are divided in a divorce and found that men and women differed.

New technology to monitor driver behavior

Starting in 2020, North Carolina motorists will be able to purchase Volvos that will not exceed a speed of 112 miles per hour. By the early 2020s, the company will begin rolling out safety features that detect certain driver behaviors. These are part of an overall effort by the company to cut down on accidents caused by drunk driving.

The company says it is focusing on prevention rather than minimizing how severe accidents are. Volvo will begin to equip its cars with cameras and sensors that detect when drivers close their eyes or do not look at the road for a significant time. The technology will also monitor whether drivers have not steered for some time and slow reaction times. The cars may take action in response, such as by reducing speed or even parking in a safe spot.

Assuming a mortgage after divorce

When couples in North Carolina divorce, every aspect of their shared finances is open to negotiation and division. In many cases, a shared home is one of the most valuable assets the couple owns. If the home is not yet paid off and there is still a mortgage, the spouses will have to decide how they want to manage that responsibility.

In many cases, divorcing couples decide to sell the family home and then agree to a fair division of the proceeds. However, it is not unusual for at least one spouse to want to remain in the home. If there are young children living in the home, parents may feel that a move is not in the children's best interest. In other cases, a spouse may simply not wish to move from the home in which he or she has lived for many years.

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