• All
  • Adoption
  • Criminal Defense
  • Education
  • Estate Planning
  • Family
  • Firm Announcements
  • General
  • Juvenile
  • Legal Consultation
  • Legal Education
  • Personal Growth
  • Pro Se
  • Professional Lawyers
  • Recipes
  • Staff Blogs
  • Traffic Tickets
  • Trusted Law Agency
  • Uncategorized

Website updates: Online Appointments, Messenger Integration and Forms!

Apple Payne Law is excited to announce a few changes that have come to our website to help make it easier for clients to access and hire a lawyer, especially for simple matters!   First, we have integrated new online booking links through Calendly that will allow new clients to book appointments online with the [...]

Child Custody: Is a Verbal Agreement Enough?

It is no secret that separation and divorce are stressful events, and that stress only increases when there are children involved. Kids add an extra, complicated layer of custody and child support. That extra layer requires negotiations and agreements, examining your schedules, possibly hiring child care assistance, and wrestling with how your family is going [...]

The First Steps After Divorce

Finally, after months (or in some cases, years!) of working your way through the process of separation, dividing your property and debt, and divorce, you take a deep breath, and sigh. But for many, that sigh is not one of relief, but rather one that arises out of a sense of loneliness and uncertainty.  You [...]

Practicing Gratitude

During my divorce, I read a lot of books about maintaining your mental health through the divorce process. Many suggested practicing gratitude, recognizing things in your life for which you are grateful.  While it isn’t a cure all for the roller coaster of emotions one goes through while ending a marriage, it brings to light [...]


If you’ve ever received a traffic ticket (and maybe if you haven’t) you probably know the term “improper equipment.” When I got my first speeding ticket everyone seemed to know that “improper equipment” was the outcome you wanted, but no one knew how to get it – thankfully, the attorney I hired did! So, what [...]

Great Family Weekend Getaway

Warmer weather is finally here and that means it is a great time to plan a spring family getaway! The one place that has remained in my mind after our visit was Cass Scenic Railroad in West Virginia.  Cass was founded in 1901 as company town for the workers of West Virginia Pulp and Paper [...]

Adoption Tax Credits

April – ah, the joy of finally having spring flowers, a touch of snow, and temperature swings so wild you think you are on a grand roller coaster. The joys of living in North Carolina! Ah, but the one big drawback of April it seems – the dreaded TAX DAY! However, it seems like the [...]

Home Made Instant Pot Yogurt

Years ago when the kids were little and I stayed at home with them I tried all kinds of things to save some money.  One of those things was making my own yogurt.  I had to get the milk up to boiling on the stove, then let it cool down to about 120°. After that, [...]

Why Do I Need a Prenup? Protecting Yourself and Your Marriage

Prenuptial or premarital agreements (also knowns as “prenups”) have been given a bad rap. They are seen as something that only people with a ton of money should get or, even worse, as an omen for divorce. It’s time to bust those two myths! Basically, a prenup is an agreement that a couple makes before [...]

West Virginia Pepperoni Rolls

When I was 10 ½ years old, my family moved from the Baltimore, Maryland area to the eastern panhandle of West Virginia. Going through middle school, high school and college (WVU - Let’s Go Mountaineers!) in West Virginia, the almighty pepperoni roll was everywhere to be seen. They offer them at restaurants, gas stations, at [...]

Don’t forget the next steps after your criminal case is dismissed: Expungement!

Did you know that there is one very important step you can, and often should, take after your criminal case is dismissed?   Have you, or your son/daughter or other family member been criminally charged with something like simple possession (of marijuana), and succeeded in having the State dismiss that charge, or been found “not [...]

Sparking Joy, My Way

It’s hard not to be aware of the whole “sparking joy” movement.  If it wasn’t Marie Kondo’s best selling Life-changing Magic: A Journal : Spark Joy Every Day book, it’s her new series, “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” on Netflix.  Her programs show everyday people using her techniques to downsize, minimalize and create peaceful environments. [...]

North Carolina’s “Raise the Age” Law: Changes Are Coming!

We previously wrote about juvenile law here: Help! My Child Was Charged With A Crime! But did you know - the law has had a MAJOR change since then! As you may or may not know, North Carolina recently passed the Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Act, also known as “Raise the Age.”  This change is incredibly important [...]

20 Songs to Boost Your Mood

         It’s a rainy Tuesday, your pet left a “present” by the door and now you’re late for work. Oh, don’t forget you didn’t eat breakfast and you just suffered through traffic.  Your day is already out to get you and you haven’t even hit the time clock! Does this sound familiar? [...]

APL welcomes our new associate attorney, Raven Ash!

Apple Payne Law is excited to announce that Mr. Raven Ash has joined Apple Payne Law as an associate attorney after running his own law firm for nearly half a year. Raven is a graduate of Wake Forest University School of Law, where he was awarded the North Carolina Advocates for Justice Award, and achieved [...]

APL welcomes new support staff to the team!

Suzy Carpenter (left), a North Carolina Bar Certified Paralegal, joined our team in October as a legal assistant. Suzy is focused primarily on family law, estate planning and probate. She holds a paralegal certificate from Guilford College and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Colorado-Boulder. She comes to Apple Payne [...]

Attorney Ronald D. Payne II Selected to 2019 Rising Stars for North Carolina Family Law

Apple Payne Law, PLLC is honored to announce that firm attorney & partner Ronald D. Payne II was selected for the third straight year to the North Carolina Family Law Rising Stars list. Each year, no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to [...]

We’re growing!

Apple Payne Law, PLLC is excited to announce we are now hiring to join our growing team! We are looking for a team-oriented, goal driven professional to serve as a paralegal/legal assistant - primarily in family law, but also in estate planning, business advising and with traffic matters! For more information, check out our careers [...]


Apple Payne Law, PLLC is honored to announce that firm attorney & partner Ronald D. Payne II was selected for the second straight year to the North Carolina Rising Stars list. Each year, no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to receive this [...]

Adoption Basics in North Carolina

Our firm frequently gets questions about adoption in North Carolina and we hope to answer some of the more common questions here for you! First, does your firm handle adoptions? YES! We handle ALL kinds of adoptions at Apple Payne Law, PLLC – from the more simple step-parent or relative adoptions to complicated interstate adoptions [...]

A Prayer for our teachers

As we start back to school here in North Carolina, I'm reminded of my days in the classroom and of the victories and struggles that lie ahead. As many of you know, my wife is also a teacher and Mary is a former teacher and likewise married to a teacher. We also have our own [...]

5 Questions To Ask Before Hiring A Family Lawyer

Do you find yourself wondering if you need to be hiring a family law attorney? Maybe your spouse has hinted at divorce, or your ex is threatening to withhold the kids for summer vacation if you don’t do ______ the way they want you to. Possibly you both know a separation is coming and you [...]

I Violated My Probation: Now What?

Remember from our last blog that probation is an active jail sentence on pause for a certain period of time while you are ordered to do certain things and ordered not to do certain other things. If you don’t do what you’re supposed to do, or you do things you’re not supposed to do, then [...]

What is Probation?

What is Probation? Probation is an active jail sentence paused for a certain period of time. During that time, a judge orders you to do certain things and not do other things. As long as you do the things you’re ordered to do, and don’t do the things you’re ordered not to do, then at [...]

Help! My Child Was Charged With A Crime!

There's been a MAJOR change in the law since this article was written! To learn more, check out: https://applepaynelaw.com/raise-the-age-juvenile-law North Carolina is a whacky place when it comes to charging kids with crimes. Kids as young as 6 years old are eligible to be charged with crimes in juvenile court and declared to be juvenile delinquents [...]

Legal Separation & Separation Agreements:

Everything you wanted to know about legal separation and separation agreements in North Carolina: A question we often get at our office is what are the legal requirements for separation and separation agreements in North Carolina. So, here’s a short article to help you understand what is (and is not!) required for a legal separation [...]

Attorney Payne selected to 2017 Rising Stars

Ronald D. Payne II, Firm C0-Founder and Managing Partner Apple Payne Law, PLLC is honored to announce that firm attorney & senior managing partner Ronald D. Payne II has been selected to the 2017 North Carolina Rising Stars list. Each year, no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by the [...]

Three reasons why you should hire a lawyer for your speeding ticket

A common question that attorneys get is: Do I REALLY need to hire a lawyer for my traffic ticket? Read here to learn what our attorneys have to say:

FROM “BRANGELINA” TO BRAD AND ANGELINA: Separation, Divorce, and Child Custody

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, one of the most iconic couples of the past decade, are separating. Angelina filed for divorce, stating that their separation began on September 15, 2016. While most news articles claim that the divorce was made for the “health of the family,” there are rumbles that Brad’s substance abuse and anger […]

Holding your composure when it counts – Super Bowl style

Last week, we wrote about David Bowie. This past Sunday, we had the privilege of watching the biggest game of the year, Super Cam Newton celebrating with a young fan Bowl 50, among 15 or so of our family and friends. When it was all said and done, unfortunately my Carolina Panthers lost, but not until [...]

Wills of the rich and famous: David Bowie

Like many of you, we were saddened to hear of David Bowie's passing. During his lifetime, he sold an estimated 140 million records worldwide. In the UK, he was awarded nine platinum album certifications, eleven gold and eight silver, and released ten number-one albums. In the US, he received five platinum and seven gold certifications. (1) [...]

Emergency Custody: When can I get it (or when can I not)?

Can I get Emergency Custody? That’s a question we answer on an almost daily basis. North Carolina, like most states, very strictly controls emergency custody. Unfortunately, almost 90% of the time, the answer is that emergency custody would NOT be granted by the judge. But there are two general situations when it will be granted:

3 Tips for Representing Yourself in a Family Law Case:

While most people would prefer to have an attorney represent them in court, it isn’t always an option. Especially if you or your spouse/opposing party/etc. are accusing the other of deceit, hiding things, etc., or involves complex things such as ownership of a small business, a retainer for an attorney can be anywhere from $5,000 [...]

4 Years and Counting (and a surprise announcement!)

Thank you for 4 great years (and a BIG announcement!)> Greetings, family! I was racking my brain all week for what to write about for this weeks blog post for our firm, when LinkedIn reminded me that I had a work anniversary. Sure enough, it has been FOUR years since I started this venture! We’ve [...]

New Revenge Posting Law: What you need to know

Revenge Posting: No, it isn’t like it is on TV. On December 1st, 2015, a law signed by Gov. McCrory last week goes into effect, and aims squarely at stopping “revenge porn”. Revenge porn, also called “revenge posting” is a situation when intimate photos/videos taken by consent get released without consent – often as the result […]

Grandparent Custody and Visitation Rights 101: What are they, and do I have them?

Greetings! We hope that you have all enjoyed a wonderful Labor Day weekend. In our last post, we talked about one of our most commons questions – “Can I get a divorce?”.  Another one of the most common questions we get is – “I’m the grandparent of  _______… can I get custody or visitation?”   […]

Can I get a Divorce?

Requirements for Divorce in North Carolina A common question we are asked frequently is “Can I get a divorce?” The answer is relatively straight forward, which is why most lawyers accept a low, flat fee for handling a divorce (which in North Carolina is called “Absolute Divorce”. Here’s the requirements (in plain English):

3 things kids want parents to know during their divorce

            Despite the fact that parents try to keep their kids out of their marital problems, most children are aware of the issues long before they get “the talk” from a parent… As a child myself who grew up through a hostile divorce, I can attest firsthand to the below statements: 1) […]

Freedom and Honoring the Fallen

As the beneficiaries of the sacrifice of the many we remember on Memorial Day, Americans should make use of those freedoms these soldiers died to protect. The responsibility of preserving those freedoms is not limited to those who have served, but is a crucial part of every American’s role as a citizen of this nation.
To honor those fallen soldiers who gave the last measure of full devotion to enable all Americans to continue to have our freedoms, we should take action to use those freedoms they have sacrificed all to preserve.

Disability and Bullying in Schools

Children with learning disabilities and other special needs are bullied at nearly twice the rate of mainstream students and are particularly vulnerable to the negative effects of being a victim of bullying. Where students suffer from both a learning disability and peer victimization, this combination “may have separate and additive effects, substantially heightening these children’s chance of experiencing social and emotional problems.” When a child with learning disabilities becomes a victim of bullying, intervention on behalf of the child is necessary and should involve a coordinated effort between the child’s school, home, and community.

The Celebration and Pursuit of Potential

Throughout the crowd, the air was filled with encouragement, the joy of watching children freely play without the weight of the concerns which normally dominate their days, and celebration of these kids’ potential. Though the disabilities faced by the athletes differed, the families in attendance were united by their shared experience of raising a child (or children) with a disability and having become a part of the world of IEPs, therapies, and educational services commonly known as the IDEA.

Lighting Up the Law In Blue: Advocacy, Autistic Rights, and A Month in Review

The presently existing divides and the course of future law and policy surrounding autism will necessarily be impacted by the cure and neurodiversity viewpoints. At the core of the divide between these two viewpoints is how each side defines disability, a term which has, historically, carried with it derogatory connotations.

Lighting Up Law Practice In Blue: The Autistic Client

No matter what specific legal issue initially brings them to a lawyer’s door, several areas of the law are impacted when an attorney represents an autistic client.

Lighting Up Criminal Law in Blue: Autism, Excuse, and the Guilty Mind

A threshold issue before an accused autistic offender can stand trial is whether the individual is competent to do so. However, the standard an accused must meet to be found incompetent to stand trial is high. Further, if an accused does meet the standard and is found incompetent to stand trial, such a decision will likely compel a civil commitment process. Insanity in the context of a criminal defense can be used in two primary ways to prevent or mitigate punishment for an offense. In the case of an accused autistic offender, the offender’s autism could either negate the mens rea element of the offense charged or, despite the presence of all elements of the crime, excuse the offender’s conduct.

Lighting Up Tort Law In Blue: Autism, Disability, and Foreseeability in Negligence Actions

Specifically, as courts increasingly confront autistic defendants in negligence actions, (1) the distinction between physical and mental disability in courts’ analysis of the breach element is likely to be redefined in some measure by autism’s competing views and (2) a core behavioral feature of autism is likely to either encourage more cohesion or result in further inconsistencies in the already splintered landscape of courts’ consideration of foreseeability in negligence actions.

Lighting Up Family Law In Blue: Competing Views and the Best Interest of the Autistic Child

Generally, in making a determination about custody, a court attempts to maintain stability in the life of the child. With the broad judicial discretion granted in making a determination of what is in the best interests of the child, time and increased numbers of cases determining the custody of autistic children will determine which of the competing views of autism will ultimately come to dominate how future courts define the best interests of an autistic child.

Lighting Up Family Law In Blue: Autism’s Impact on the Family and Family Courts

Having an autistic child places great strain on many areas of family life, and parents of autistic children are more likely to become divorced. It will be increasingly necessary, as the numbers of autistic children in our nation rise, for family courts to consider issues involving autistic children.

Lighting Up Education Law in Blue, Part 2

In addition to federal protections, state level constitutional, statutory, and common law protections exist for autistic children. In the area of education law, budgetary pressures combined with rising rates of autism and the struggle between the two primary views of autism are likely to influence legal developments in this area.

Lighting Up Education Law In Blue, Part 1

Many state and federal laws may affect the education of an autistic child. The primary federal laws impacting autistic children in schools include: (1) the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”); (2) the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”); (3) Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (“Section 504”); and (4) the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”).

Lighting Up The Law In Blue: Why Awareness Matters

Many autistic families have cards to hand out explaining that their child is autistic. Why do we wear a shirt or hand out cards notifying strangers our children have autism?

Lighting Up the Law in Blue: A Primer on the Autism Spectrum

What is autism?
What causes autism?
What are the prevailing societal views influencing the treatment of autism in medical, legal, and educational circles?

Lighting Up The Law In Blue: April is Autism Awareness Month

Over the month of April, we will be blogging about several areas of the law and how the law affects, and is affected by, those with autism. We invite you to visit our website, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and read and share our blog as we do our part to raise autism awareness. Join us as we Light Up the Law In Blue.

Our new blog!

At Apple Payne Law, we spend a lot of time focused on our clients! However, we each try to spend some time researching areas of law that interest us. We'll be posting articles that we write here, or linking to other articles that we think our visitors might find interesting! If you have a topic [...]

Looking for legal advice? We are here to help.