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Author: Tessa Hetherington

The Crews Law Firm > Articles posted by Tessa Hetherington

Psychological Evaluations in a Child Custody Case

Recently we had the opportunity to attend a CLE (continuing legal education) seminar where the main speaker was a psychologist named Sean B. Knuth (not affiliated with our firm; this link is not sponsored). Dr. Knuth specializes in psychological evaluations for custody cases and we learned a lot about what those evaluations are and when they are appropriate. What is a psychological evaluation? For custody purposes, a psychological evaluation is meant to determine what, psychologically, is in the best interest of the children. Usually, the evaluator uses methods such as interviews, surveys, observations of parent-child interactions, and examining court records and...

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Do I have to pay child support for a child that is not mine?

Can the mustache guy stop paying child support? Parents have a duty to support their biological and adopted children. But what if you believe a child is yours, only to find out that that is not true? Do you still have to pay child support? As with every legal issue, it depends on your individual circumstances. A North Carolina attorney should be able to consult you on this issue. This blog post is not meant to stand in for the advice of counsel. It is an overview of how challenging paternity might go in some different scenarios. How do I...

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Help, I’m Stuck in a Contract and I Can’t Get Out!

A man and woman looking over a contract on a desk

Many prospective clients call us wondering if they can break a contract. Some of these clients claim simply that they didn't know what they were signing. Others know what they signed, but circumstances have changed and they feel they need to get out of the contract. Because contract law is very much decided on a case-by-case basis, it is a good idea to have an attorney review any contract before you sign it - or try to break it. This blog post does not constitute legal advice, but it will attempt to give an overview of some of the reasons...

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The Fraud of Lee H. Shoemate: When Civil Law Gets Really, Really Creepy

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Sometimes the facts of a case are far more interesting than the law. Once in a while you stumble across a case so icky, you just have to write about it. Dunkley v. Shoemate, 350 N.C. 573, 515 S.E.2d 442 (1999), is such a case. The legal issue of the case seems dry and boring - whether a certain law firm should be allowed to represent a certain individual, or not, because of things to do with the N.C. Rules of Professional Conduct. But the facts of the case are something straight out of a Hitchcockian thriller. On September 25, 1989, Rebecca Dunkley...

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What Does the New Landlord/Tenant Attorney Fee Law Mean for North Carolinians?

A small white house with red door surrounded by fall trees. Photo credit: Scott Webb on Unsplash.com

A new law, known as Session Law 2018-50, Senate Bill 224, has just passed in North Carolina in June of 2018. This law adds provisions to N.C. General Statute § 42-46, which governs the legal fees landlords can collect from tenants. The bill was originally proposed by an NC Democrat for a completely different purpose - NC Republicans gutted the original bill and replaced it with this. What do the changes mean for landlords? The new law is good news for landlords. It allows landlords to collect court fees and attorney fees from tenants if the tenants breach their lease. The filing fees charged...

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Does the Lawsuit Against “S-Town” Have Merit?

S-Town, a deeply personal podcast about Alabama man John B. Macklemore, was produced by the creators of "Serial" and "This American Life."

"S-Town," a podcast created and narrated by "This American Life" producer Brian Reed, came out in March of 2017. The show, a miniseries about the life and death of an enigmatic Alabama man named John B. Macklemore, immediately became a hit with listeners and critics. The show is incredibly personal and raw. It delves deeply into the life of John B. and the other residents of the small Alabama town of Woodstock - not-so-affectionately nicknamed "s**t-town" by John B. himself, which is where the show gets its name. I've listened to it twice, loved it both times, and plan on a...

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Independence Day Safety!

Fireworks in a dark sky with people standing nearby watching. Photo by Jordan Steranka on Unsplash

Have fun and stay safe on Independence Day! Even though the 4th of July is very fun, it's also a dangerous holiday. I know, I sound full-on paranoid. It's because I've read too many legal cases about horrific injuries and accidents to be calm anymore. 4th of July may involve such hazards as drunk drivers, 'sploding fireworks in your own backyard, and eating BBQ that may or may not have been prepared with food safety in mind. I'm not saying you should stay in your house for America's birthday...

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Landlords Misusing Tenant’s Security Deposit Money

Benjamin Franklin looks up from a crisp $100 bill. Maybe this is part of a security deposit.

Security Deposits: An Overview Most people are familiar with the concept of a security deposit. Landlords typically request these deposits as collateral against the risk that tenants will cause damage. This makes a lot of sense. If a tenant moves in and trashes the property, the landlord can lawfully withhold their security deposit to make repairs. What if the tenant skips town without paying their last month's rent? The landlord can withhold the deposit for that as well. But what if the landlord is withholding the entire deposit and charging more on top of that for no reason? What if, once the...

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Who Gets the Pets?

We don't have to say it. We already know that your pets are important to you. Dogs and cats are sometimes our most loyal companions. They can be a huge source of comfort during a difficult break-up. Unfortunately, when a separating couple owns pets, they do have to decide who keeps them. Needless to say, this can be extremely difficult. What Does the Law Say? Some states treat animals almost like children. They will create a custody and visitation schedule for pets as if they were children. According to this article from The Bark, a dog magazine, Alaska is becoming one of those...

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Child Custody Overview

The Best Interest of the Child Our clients all have one thing in common: they want the best for their children. The State of North Carolina does too. That's why the standard for establishing custody is the best interest of the child. It all goes back to what's best for the kids. But life is messy and sometimes adults cannot cooperate. Sometimes one parent loses his or her way and forgets what is best for their children. And sometimes, a parent is able to turn his or her life around and resume an active role in a child's life. We are here...

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