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Ways a Family Lawyer Cannot Help You

In Child Custody, Child Support, Separation & Divorce by Sarah Hink

Separations and divorces encompass a broad array of issues that must be resolved. This includes emergency protective orders, separation agreements, property division, post separation support, child support, child custody, and absolute divorce. It can be incredibly reassuring to have an attorney to skillfully guide you through these issues into the future. Attorneys have a duty to follow the direction of their clients and to zealously fight to achieve clients’ goals. However, as you enter an attorney-client relationship with a family lawyer, it is critical that you understand that there are limits to what an attorney can do when representing you. Ways a Family Lawyer Cannot Help You Advise a client to commit a crime. The rules of professional conduct prohibit an attorney from assisting a client to commit a criminal …

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Managing International Travel With Your Children

In Child Custody, Parenting by Sarah Hink

Traveling can be an exciting opportunity for relaxation and for learning. The joys of experiencing new places, different cultures, and interacting with other people can be eye-opening. For children, it can be breathtaking to sense the greater world with their own eyes, ears, and noses. If you are fortunate enough to have the time and resources to take an international trip with your children, proper planning is the key to maximizing this opportunity. Tips to Traveling Internationally with Children Be mindful of court orders or parenting agreements. Most child custody orders and formal parenting agreements contain provisions requiring approval from the other parent or from the court in order to take a child outside of a specified geographic range. Be sure that you are in full compliance with any such …

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The Basics of Collaborative Law

In Separation & Divorce by Sarah Hink

The decision to separate with the intention of divorce is not a decision that people take lightly. It is the end of a significant chapter in each partner’s life and of a shared history. Sometimes, people want to end their marriage with a legal battle—to get some “justice” for wrongs that ended the relationship. Unfortunately, this often ends up being expensive and creating new resentments. Further, a prolonged legal fight never ends with either side feeling a healthy sense of closure needed to move forward. Collaborative Law Defined With the animosity, expense, and court time of a divorce fight in mind, there is a mechanism in place that allows divorcing couples an opportunity to end things amicably and by agreement. This is referred to as “collaborative law”. Collaborative law is …

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Why an Acknowledgement of Paternity Matters

In Child Custody by Sarah Hink

Becoming a father is a really big deal in a man’s life. You have contributed to the creation of a life—a person who shares your genetics, who has some of your physical looks and features, and who needs a father. It is therefore critical to understand how the law treats “paternity”, or a man’s status as a child’s father. If a child’s father and mother are married at the time of the child’s birth, then there is a legal presumption that the husband is the child’s father and no further steps need to be taken to establish paternity of the child. The same is true if a mother and father get married after a child is born, which retroactively creates the presumption that the man is the father. However, if …

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Seeking a Higher Education After You Divorce

In Separation & Divorce by Sarah Hink

Attaining a college degree, a professional license, a masters degree, or other certification is part of the American Dream for a lot of people. Not only is there a sense of pride and accomplishment in this achievement, but it can also be an essential step toward career advancement and higher salary. For some, dreams of a higher education were put on hold, or did not even start, due to marriage and family. In fact, staying home with children or supporting another spouse’s career advancement is a decision that many people face. Therefore, the spouse that puts aside their educational goals for the sake of family or marriage may find themselves at a disadvantage should their marriages end. Fortunately, there may be relief for spouses in this position. Alimony Supports Further …

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Putting Your Phone Down

In Parenting, Relationships by Sarah Hink

It is hard to imagine that there was a time when the Internet didn’t exist, when there wasn’t social media. There used to be a time when we had to go to a library and use the card catalog system to find the answer to a question. Now, we have Google, or we can even just speak to Siri or Alexa to instantly get an answer. Smart phones have really changed everything. These magical computers can connect us to the entire world, to everyone we’ve ever met, to games, to instant news, to music, to silly cat videos, to love matches, and to car rides. Unfortunately, with the world at our fingertips, it is easy to lose sight of the world around us. Phones and the Internet have a great …

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Appreciating Teachers and Being an Involved Parent

In Child Custody, Parenting by Sarah Hink

Your children’s teachers spend a lot of time with them during the course of the year. For about six and a half hours a day, five days a week, you drop your kids off and leave them in the care of teachers. You put your trust into them to act in multiple roles, as caregivers, as instructors, as coaches, as mentors, and as role models. Being a teacher isn’t an easy job, and good teachers are worth celebrating for what they contribute to your children’s lives. So if your child has a great teacher, let the teacher know it. Let them know it in your words and actions. This may include sending kind notes or emails, talking to them if you see them at school, participating in teacher appreciation events …

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Understanding the Difference Between Civil and Criminal Law

In Domestic Violence, Separation & Divorce by Sarah Hink

For a lot of people, a courtroom is a courtroom, and a lawsuit is a lawsuit. However, while it all may seem intimidating to some people, it is worth understanding that not all legal proceedings are the same. In fact, the law is basically broken down into two separate systems: civil law and criminal law. These cases have very different subject matters, are often heard by different judges, are handled by different attorney, have very different consequences, and have different procedures of appeal. Criminal Law Criminal laws are designed to punish or deter the public from engaging in bad acts. Criminal cases are brought to a court by a state or federal prosecutor (in cooperation with an investigative agency) against a defendant on behalf of the government. The prosecutor’s goal …

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Creating Your Post-Separation Budget

In Separation & Divorce, Wealth by Sarah Hink

One of the often overlooked considerations when it comes to separation is just how expensive it can be. For couples who are already stretching their financial limits, the costs associated with separation and divorce can be eye-opening. Some of these additional costs include moving costs, paying for a second residence and utilities, furnishing that place, postseparation support, child support, and legal fees. Therefore, when spouses separate, it is critical to develop a reasonable budget as a responsible step toward your brighter future. Gather all necessary documentation to determine your post-tax monthly income and your assets. This can include job related income, side income, and additional sources of income such as post-separation or child support. You need to know the starting point of your budget. Determine all of your “fixed” monthly …

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Child Support When a Parent Has a Disability

In Child Support by Sarah Hink

Despite a parent’s desires and intentions to work and maximize their earning potential, living with a disability can stand in the way of those goals. When combined with a parent’s legal obligation to financially support their children, the issue of disability raises some interesting questions. In other words, what impact does a parent’s disability have on their child support obligation? All Parents Have a Duty to Support their Children Under North Carolina laws, all parents have a legal duty to support their children. This duty exists even if a parent is disabled or becomes disabled. What courts look at is based on an “income shares” model, which considers both parents’ relative incomes, the needs and expenses of the child, and the number of nights the children spend at each parent’s …