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Asheville Legal Blog

You may deserve a portion of your ex's pension

If you're getting divorced, you need to carefully consider all of the assets to which you have a right. One of the assets that is easiest to forget and yet potentially very valuable is your ex's pension or work-sponsored retirement fund.

In cases where your ex earned that retirement plan during your marriage, it may be viewed as a marital asset. What makes this easy to overlook is that your ex may not yet be getting payments. The employer controls the plan until their worker's retirement. Some individuals do not even realize that their spouse has a retirement plan and do not fully understand the benefits they receive at work.

Divorce can be peaceful

Sometimes on TV and in the movies we see estranged spouses refusing to respond to divorce filings, arguing about their future or threatening to never let their spouse see the kids again. Yes, these high-tension divorce cases do happen, but don't assume it has to be that way. Your divorce can be a much more peaceful affair.

One way to do this is by using mediation, rather than going to court. A mediator is a third party who is not involved in the split and can guide you through it. However, they don't make any rulings like a judge would. They help the two of you come to decisions on your own so that you still control the divorce process.

Predictive policing is touted as being fair -- but is it?

Predictive policing using artificial intelligence (AI) is certainly controversial, but proponents tout it as anything but. They say that having a computer predict where crime will happen means there cannot be any bias in the system. The computer just uses numbers. It just uses data. When they send officers to the hot spots that it identifies, they claim that is the fairest way to decide where to run these patrols.

However, there are those who say this isn't true at all. They say that it just makes the bias worse.

North Carolina ranks 19th in national divorce rates

How many people do you know who have gotten divorced? Are you thinking about getting a divorce yourself? During this process, you may have wondered where your state ranks in terms of divorce rate in the United States.

One study put North Carolina at 19th in the country. It was tied for that spot with New Hampshire, Missouri and Montana. All of those states saw about 3.1 divorce cases for every 1,000 residents.

A business owner faces unique challenges in divorce

Owning a business is a complicated experience, in good times and in difficult times, but when a business owner faces a divorce, they must prepare carefully to protect themselves and their business. Without a strong legal strategy, divorce may impact the business significantly, and may even close its doors.

If you are a business owner and believe that divorce is in your future, now is the time to begin identifying your priorities and building a strategy to protect them. Divorce is rarely simple, even in ideal circumstances, and it is important to use the legal tools that you have to keep your rights secure throughout the process.

Where are a truck's blind spots?

Sharing the road with semitrucks is necessary, but it's also dangerous. Most passenger cars are a mere fraction of the size and weight, so they can get obliterated in an accident between the two vehicles. Those in cars face far more danger than semi drivers in these crashes.

One way you can work to avoid a crash is by staying out of the truck's blind spots. These are the areas where the driver cannot see you and may have no idea you're there. The main ones are:

  • Directly behind the truck
  • Directly in front of the truck
  • Along both sides, but especially back along the truck's right side, farthest from the driver

The benefits of settling a divorce before trial

Going through a divorce in North Carolina can be a highly emotional process. When spouses decide to end their marriage, they may have a difficult time agreeing on almost anything. They might find themselves frequently arguing, and it could seem like there is no alternative to an extended trial in family court to manage the divorce. However, these couples should consider the ramifications of going to trial.

In the first place, a divorce trial takes longer than reaching a settlement. Court calendars can be crowded, and a trial will need to be scheduled long in advance. The court process is highly structured and can require a significant amount of an attorney's time. Because trials can take so long, judges themselves will often encourage the parties to settle before proceeding with the trial. In some areas, such as child custody, parents are encouraged to reach an agreement about their parenting plans because they will have a higher level of control.

Fancy cars are less likely to stop at crosswalks

North Carolina pedestrians may wish to take note of the cars passing through when they are trying to walk through a crosswalk. This is because there are various factors that may dictate whether the driver stops and yields including the value of the car. In other words, the driver of the expensive luxury car may be more likely to plow through the crosswalk when someone is waiting to cross.

The research shows a number of biases when it comes to stopping at crosswalks. Race, gender and culture are factors in whether the driver will yield. Drivers are less likely to yield for black and Hispanic pedestrians than they are for white pedestrians. In addition, drivers also have a higher statistical probability of stopping for women in the crosswalk.

Addressing racial bias in criminal trials

The criminal justice system in North Carolina and around the country has been criticized in recent years for the harsh sentences that are often handed down to minority defendants, but an article published in the Seattle Journal for Social Justice suggests that touching on race issues during the early stages of criminal proceedings can lead to a more equitable outcome. The federal public defender who wrote it reached his conclusions after analyzing criminal trials involving Latino defendants.

The article advises defense attorneys to tackle issues like police bias and cross-racial identification during pretrial motions and the voir dire jury selection process. Making these arguments could lead to evidence being excluded if the police officers involved obtained a search warrant based on racial factors, and experts could be called on to raise questions about the reliability of eyewitness identifications that cross racial lines.

Clearing a past criminal conviction in North Carolina

Your criminal record is holding you back. You already paid your fines. You did your time. You have never broken another law. You've expressed remorse over what happened.

Regardless, that record is a black mark that you can't shake. It has prevented you from getting a job, for instance, or advancing your career. You feel like you have done everything right since the arrest. Do you have to suffer for that one mistake for the rest of your life?

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Bull & Reinhardt, PLLC
160 E. Chestnut Street
Asheville, NC 28801

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