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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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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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Top Five Reasons to Consult with a Family Law Attorney

In Child Custody, Separation & Divorce by Elizabeth Stephenson

We are often asked if you are required to have an attorney when going through a divorce. The simple answer—no. However, there are several reasons that having a family law attorney is very beneficial. Consider these top five reasons to consult with a family law attorney if you are considering a separation or currently going through a divorce: You may fail to preserve your legal rights on your own. Legal proceedings regarding property, spousal support, child support, and custody are governed by rules of procedure, the rules of evidence, local court rules, and the North Carolina General Statutes. There are strict deadlines and pleading requirements when it comes to these issues. Failure to meet critical deadlines, or filing improper pleadings can irreparably damage your ability to obtain legal relief that …

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Helping Ease Your Child’s Separation Anxiety

In Child Custody by Elizabeth Stephenson

All children are different. They all have different personalities and different ways of coping with adversity. When children find themselves in the unfortunate situation of their parents separating, each child reacts differently. But even if a child isn’t outwardly showing signs that they are struggling, it is important to acknowledge that divorce is traumatic for all children. It is therefore parents’ duty to help their children cope with this trauma and find a path forward. One way that children’s lives can normalize following a divorce is with ample visitation with their parents. However, in the early phases of a separation, children can experience a natural amount of separation anxiety when it comes to leaving their primary caretaker and visiting with their other parent. This can manifest itself in many different …

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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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Tips for Child Proofing Your New Home

In Child Custody, Parenting by Elizabeth Stephenson

When couples divorce in North Carolina, they must live in separate residences for a year before they can seek a divorce decree from a court. While divorce is a significant and sad life experience, the prospect of moving into a new apartment or home can be a positive step toward moving forward. Further, furnishing and fixing up your new place can be a healthy distraction from your worries. If you have young children and plan to have overnight visits with them, then it is a good idea to take child proofing seriously. Here are some friendly ideas on where to start. If you have any heavy furniture, like a television stand, dresser, or shelf, make sure that it is anchored to a stud in the wall behind it. Anchors come …

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The Effects of Domestic Violence on Your Children

In Child Custody, Domestic Violence by Carly Baker

Domestic violence in a relationship is dangerous and can be deadly. While victims suffer both emotional and physical trauma from an abusive relationship, the impact of the violence on children must also be considered. During these formative times in their development, children need stability, safety, and trust. Unfortunately, the presence of domestic violence—whether it is occurs in the child’s presence or not—can throw a giant monkey wrench into all of these critical childhood needs. If this topic is relevant to your current relationship, consider the following: Domestic violence can be incredibly dangerous to children. While you love your children, domestic violence situations involve heightened emotions and bad decisions. This means that an abuser is not acting in children’s best interest and is putting them at great risk of harm; further, …

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COBRA and Keeping Your Kids Insured

In Child Custody, Child Support, Health by Elizabeth Stephenson

Separation and divorce can bring about a great sense of financial uncertainty, which is why it is important to be informed of your options when it comes to anticipating and managing your expenses. One such are is healthcare for your children. Even with insurance, health care for children is expensive. If you’ve ever had to bring your children to the emergency room or an after-hours clinic, you know exactly what we’re talking about. You may get a giant bill from the facility, and when you think that’s the end of it, you can get bills from the private doctor’s group and from labs that performed blood work or x-rays. Imagine then, if you had to cover your children’s ongoing and emergency health care without insurance. This is a prospect that …

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Supervised Visitation and Safe Custody Exchanges

In Child Custody by Elizabeth Stephenson

When family courts enter custody and visitation orders, they do so based on what is in the best interest of the children. This is an open concept that can encompass many different considerations. Sometimes, courts end up hearing evidence that concerns them to the extent that they limit a parent’s custody or visitation. This may include evidence of domestic violence, a criminal activity, substance abuse, child neglect, emotional abuse of a child, or physical abuse of a child. In other words, if the court feels that a parent poses some physical or emotional risk to the child or the other parent, then a court will make decisions it feels necessary to protect them. However, it must also balance the underlying public policy that children should spent time with both parents. …

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Celebrating Halloween When Separated

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

Holidays are among the most fun times you have as a parent. Among these holidays, Halloween is near the top of anyone’s list. There are really cute costumes, happy kids, and tons of candy. When you are separated or divorced, there is only one Halloween night, which means that only one parent can actually trick or treat with them. Despite this, even if you miss the actual Halloween night, there are still opportunities for you to celebrate with your children and to have a memorable time celebrating this fun holiday. Alternate costume—even if you don’t have the children on Halloween doesn’t mean you can’t have your own costume event. Buy or make costumes with your children and have your own dress-up event at home, with games and treats. Decorate your …