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Satisfied, low-income newlyweds less needy of family law services

The question of why some marriages fail where others succeed is an important one for any North Carolina couple on the way to the altar. Prevailing wisdom has it that marriages always start off optimistically with high energy that wanes over time into stability and ease. In short, marriage is often seen as a path to a place couples are not enthusiastic about being once they get there. One Forbes contributor takes a closer look at the myth through the lens of a study found in Social Psychology and Personality Science.

According to the author, the existing literature has drawn heavily on one population for determining marriage trends, namely white and middle class couples. The study in question took a different tack by selecting its cohort from Los Angeles County's economically disadvantaged neighborhoods. The authors found that economic security tended to influence satisfaction of women more so than men, even at the outset of the marriage.

Dividing a business in divorce

As you move toward divorce, it is clear that your largest and most important asset is your family business. You and your spouse started it the same year you got married. You both own equal percentages.

The problem is that you do not know what the divorce means for the company. You loved starting it and you still believe in it. For both of you, it's your only source of income. How should you proceed? Are you nearing the inevitable end of the company because your marriage didn't work out, or is there enough separation between that business relationship and your romantic relationship?

Property division issues when divorces happen later in life

When middle-aged or older people in North Carolina decide to divorce, they likely have accumulated significant marital assets. To negotiate an equitable division of marital property and possibly calculate child or spousal support, both parties must identify all marital assets and income. Retirement accounts, inheritances, life insurance policies and future Social Security benefits all enter the equation when determining the final terms of the divorce.

The law views retirement accounts as marital property. People getting divorces need to become familiar with the specific documentation for their retirement plans. The plan rules direct how divorce distributions are valued and authorized.

Drowsy driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving

Most North Carolina motorists understand that driving under the influence is dangerous and illegal. However, many people don't realize that driving while sleepy is just as hazardous. Worse, almost everyone does it at some point in their lives.

A study by researchers at the National Sleep Foundation found that being awake for 24 straight hours impairs drivers as much as having a blood alcohol content level of .10, which is above the legal limit of .08. Despite this, a 2018 AAA poll found that nearly one-third of all drivers admitted to driving while drowsy in the last 30 days. Statistics show that this behavior is leading to more accidents. For example, a separate AAA study found that almost 10% of accidents are caused by drivers falling asleep behind the wheel.

Advocates urge exclusion of racist police testimony

When people are accused of a crime in North Carolina, prosecutors and even judges and juries often rely heavily on the statements and testimony of police. Unfortunately, there have been multiple cases of wrongful convictions related to police misconduct, deception or outright lies during testimony. Advocates for criminal justice reform are urging district attorneys and prosecutors to refuse to work with police with records of lying and other forms of misconduct in order to prevent future wrongful convictions. They are also urging prosecutors to exclude testimony from cops who have made racist or violent statements.

The letters by these advocates came in response to exposure of Facebook posts and groups containing members of various law enforcement agencies. One group, The Plain View Project, screens the Facebook pages of police officers for violent or racist posts that call into question their ability to handle matters in an unbiased or objective manner. In addition to Facebook posts, the advocates noted that histories of discipline for misconduct, bias and racism are also relevant to police testimony in criminal cases. For example, corrupt police could have a history of falsifying testimony in exchange for money, drugs or other benefits.

Bill proposes automatic emergency braking for all CMVs

North Carolina residents in the trucking industry may be interested to hear that a bill was introduced in the House of Representatives on July 16 that would require automatic emergency braking on all new CMVs. The bill is likely to create controversy among truck fleet owners, especially those who may not be able to pay $500 for every AEB system they need.

One of the three congresspeople who introduced the bill proposed a similar bill back in 2015, but it failed. This new bill comes just as members of the Truck Safety Coalition, a non-profit organization, were arriving in the nation's capital to push for improved truck safety regulations. Besides mandatory AEB use, the coalition advocates the use of speed limiters and the installation of front and side guards to protect ride-under accidents.

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.

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Asheville, NC 28801

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