Case Summaries of Recent N.C. Court of Appeals Decisions

By Rebecca PooleJennifer Smith and Rachel Beard

Rule 11 Sanctions

Caroline K. Grubbs v. Robert W. Grubbs Jr., Unpublished, No. COA16-129 (March 7, 2017)

Plaintiff and her trial counsel appealed from the trial court’s imposition of Rule 11 sanctions against them, denial of a Motion to Continue, and denial of a Motion for Reassignment of Judge. The Court of Appeals reversed in part, vacated in part, and remanded in part.

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Child Support Income Calculations and the Value Of ‘Maintenance’

By Kelly Fairman

What exactly is income? Most people think about a Friday paycheck, or profit from a business once the expenses are paid. The North Carolina Child Support Guidelines cast a much wider net. Gross income is defined by a long and non-exclusive list of financial benefits. Specifically included in the definition of gross income is “maintenance received from persons other than the parties to the instant action.”

What is maintenance and how is it calculated? There are many different perspectives in the family law bar, and probably the judiciary, on this issue. One common misperception is that including the value of living expenses reduced by the contributions of a third party is “imputing” income. There are other arguments as to whether the contributions count as gifts, but this may have limited relevance, as both “maintenance” and “gifts” are included in gross income. Many practitioners read inclusion of these benefits as discretionary.

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