A Strong Beginning To A Busy Year

The Family Law Section had a great annual meeting in May with high attendance at the seminar and a lofty party overlooking old Charleston. As your section chair for 2012-13, I am pleased to take the wheel of a juggernaut of an organization that has a proud record of service to family lawyers, the NCBA, and the citizens of our state. Family lawyers are exceptional people. They are eager to serve their clients
and to improve the legal profession and the system of justice. They typically have little interest in being on the sidelines. They want to be in the midst of the action.

The breadth and strength of leadership in the FLS goes back more than 25 years making it one of the most active and influential sections of the NCBA. Lori Vitale’s
leadership as last year’s chair continued that tradition. The FLS is widely admired for leadership in areas such as Continuing Legal Education, Legislation, the Family
Forum newsletter, and 4ALL Service Day participation. When members are asked to serve on committees with substantial responsibilities, they take on the tasks with energy and skill. The recent Life Time Achievement Award winners, Howard Gum, John H. Parker, and Carlyn Poole are prime examples of members of the FLS who have given much back to their profession and the citizens of our state.

The Family Law Council met in July and August taking up an ambitious legislative agenda for the upcoming 2-year term of the Legislature. Proposals that were approved by the Council and will be submitted for approval to the NCBA Board of Governors include:

(1) Amendments to the Adoption Statutes presented on behalf of the Adoption Committee by Brinton Wright and Bobby Mills;

(2) Amendments to allow interlocutory appeals of orders for alimony, equitable distribution, permanent child custody and support, and divorce from bed & board presented by Jonathan McGirt as the Appeals/Listserv Monitor;

(3) Amendments to the Divisible Property Statute adding language for “passive increases” and “passive decreases” adopted by the Council as an alternative to the proposal presented on behalf of the ED Committee by Arlene Reardon;

(4) Amendments to §50B providing for consent orders (in response to Kenton) and to §50C regarding attorney’s fees presented by Becky Watts on behalf of the Domestic Violence Committee;

Dave Holm is chair and Stephanie Gibbs is vice-chair of the Legislative Committee that will be working with Kim Crouch, NCBA’s director of Governmental Affairs, and the respective FLS committees to shepherd these proposals through the legislature if they are approved by the Board of Governors.

A special thanks goes to Shelby Benton, our liaison to the Board of Governors, and Jacquelyn Terrell, our staff liaison, for all their special efforts on our behalf. This is a strong start to a busy year for the FLS. The juggernaut moves forward!

This article was originally published in the October 2012 issue of the North Carolina Family Bar Association’s Family Forum. The article is available online athttp://familylaw.ncbar.org. The article is reprinted here with permission of the North Carolina Family Bar Association.