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It's That Time Again

The middle of Summer is upon us and the thoughts of many parents now turn to the beginning of the school year. Local stores are displaying school supplies and uniforms signaling the return to school is sooner rather than later. Summer is often, hopefully, a stress-free and flexible time of the year for parents who are co-parenting children following a separation and divorce. The start of the school year can bring up problems that require attention and planning, especially if parents want to successfully navigate the upcoming school year together. Even for parents that work well together, back to school usually brings its own set of unique struggles to address. Whether you are working on putting an agreement in writing, or looking to your Separation Agreement or Order for answers, here are some common topics that you should think about as you prepare for the school year.

A Wealth of Information--The Analysis of Mr. Client

So that blankety-blank Owner, General Contractor or Upper-tier Sub thinks he can get by without paying me does he? I recall that my lawyer and our subcontractor association seminars have explained that I must file a lien within 120 days after I last furnished services or materials for the project-but what if it is 5:00 on day 119 after I last furnished for the project?

Summer Fun; No School, No Homework and a Move?

As we approach the end of the school year and the beginning of summer, it is the time when families typically relocate, if relocation is in their future. When contemplating a move, whether to the next county or across the country, parents have plenty to think about. Questions parents ask themselves include, "How do the schools rank? How close (or how far) will my new home be from family? Will my children be able to participate in the same activities?" Will this move be worth uprooting the lives of their children? Depending on the age of their children, parents may even be concerned about how they will feel about the move and the emotional ramifications of settling into a new location.

Probate vs. Non-Probate

We will often get telephone calls from individuals who have been told either through a recent television program or a speaker at a seminar that it is best to avoid "probate" at all costs and recommend the establishment of a trust to avoid probate. It may be helpful to understand what "probate" actually is.

Lacking the Capacity to Proceed to Trial Because of a Mental Illness

Mental illness is something I deal with as a criminal defense attorney almost every day. Many of my clients are dealing with some form of mental illness. People with mental illnesses are coming into contact with the criminal justice system throughout the country. The first area we look at if a defendant has significant mental illness is capacity to proceed to trial. Under North Carolina law, a defendant lacks the capacity to proceed to trial if by reason of a mental illness or defect he or she is unable to understand the nature and object of the proceedings, comprehend his or her situation in reference to the proceedings or assist in his or her defense in a rational or reasonable manner. This is a relatively low bar to get over to show capacity to proceed to trial. There are many defendants with significant mental health issues who nonetheless have the capacity to proceed to trial.

Reflections on the Practice

In keeping with the expected amenities of professional conduct, the care and handling of our clients' cases is the sharpest of two-edge swords. We depend upon our clients for our livelihood and for the ability to continue our practice.

North Carolina's Contact Rule

Did you know North Carolina has a "contact" rule? If you are run off the road by another driver and your vehicles do not come into contact with one another, you may be out of luck as far as getting your harms and losses paid for. North Carolina law requires, in the case where the other driver does not stop and cannot be identified, that there be actual contact between the vehicles before your uninsured motorist coverage will apply.

Things I Wish My Clients Had Done After Their Wreck

In virtually every wreck case there is property damage, though thankfully there is not always anyone injured. Whether people are hurt or only property is damaged, not everyone knows what to do in the event of a wreck, though, so I thought I would try to provide a little guidance in the form of a "Things I Wish My Clients Had Done" list. So here goes:

Sharing Learned Experience

I have been spending a lot of time this year speaking and teaching. On January 27, 2017, I spoke at a continuing legal education (CLE) seminar at the request of the North Carolina Advocates for Justice (NCAJ), more specifically from Noah Abrams, an outstanding attorney in Raleigh. Two weeks later, on February 10, 2017, I co-chaired a CLE seminar entitled "Advanced Personal Injury II", designed for experienced attorneys, for the NCAJ along with attorney Adrienne Blocker, form Durham. (It was "Advanced Personal Injury II" because we had chaired "Advanced Personal Injury I" back in 2014.) Then on March 6 and 7, 2017 I spoke to the honors civics classes at North Rowan High School. Finally, on March 10, 2017, I did a two hour presentation for the Rowan County Bar Association entitled "Personal Injury for the General Practitioner", a seminar designed for attorneys who do not, as I do, spend the vast majority of their time handling cases for people who have been injured.

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Kluttz Reamer

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Kluttz, Reamer, Hayes, Adkins & Carter, L.L.P.
129 North Main Street
Salisbury, NC 28144

Phone: 704-216-4012
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