Month: January 2018

Jim and Brenda honored by 2018 Super Lawyers

Siemens Family Law GroupSiemens Family Law group is pleased to announce that Jim Siemens and Brenda Coppede have been selected to Super Lawyers in 2018.  Jim was first recognized by Super Lawyers in 2012 and is included again in North Carolina’s Family Law category.  Brenda is included in the Family Law category as a Super Lawyers Rising Star for the second consecutive year.

The Super Lawyers selection process combines peer review and evaluation with independent research.  Once nominated, lawyers are evaluated based on indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement, then reviewed by practice area.  The final Super Lawyers list includes no more than 5 percent of North Carolina lawyers.  More information about Jim, Brenda and Super Lawyers can be found on Jim and Brenda’s Super Lawyers profiles.

Jim successfully defends orders on appeal

Jim Siemens, Court of Appeals

Jim Siemens presenting his argument before the Court of Appeals in October.

The NC Court of Appeals published its opinion this week on a case Jim argued before a special session of the Court in October.  Jim was successful in defending equitable distribution, alimony and child support orders entered in Buncombe County last year.  The Defendant-Appellant raised fourteen issues on appeal.  All but one of which were ruled to be without merit.  The equitable distribution and child support orders were affirmed in full, and the alimony order was remanded in part for additional findings on the parties’ expenses.

Judge Valerie Zachary wrote the opinion for this case, and Judge Calabria and Chief Judge McGee concurred.  The Court of Appeals upheld the trial court’s adoption of most of the Plaintiff’s proposed findings and conclusions, as well as acceptance of the Plaintiff’s witness as an expert in accounting, and the application of the terms of the parties’ premarital agreement.  The trial court’s classification, valuation and distribution of assets in its equitable distribution order were also upheld.

The Court of Appeals specifically upheld the trial court’s use of a coverture fraction to value the marital portion of a TSP and subsequently funded IRA and annuity in the equitable distribution order.  The use of the coverture fraction in the context of N.C. Gen. Stat § 50-20.1 and Watkins v. Watkins* was supported by Jim in his brief, and seemed to be of particular interest to the panel during his oral argument before the Court.

The opinion stated in summary, “the trial court’s alimony order must be reversed and remanded for entry of additional findings concerning the parties’ expenses.  We conclude that the trial court did not otherwise err and that in all other respects, its equitable distribution, child support and alimony orders should be affirmed.”

The full published opinion on Kabasan v. Kabasan (COA 17-254) is embedded below, and can be found on the N.C. Appellate Courts website.

*Watkins v. Watkins, 228 N.C. App. 548, 746 S.E.2d 394 (2013).