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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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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 …

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Keeping Your Kids Active with Sports

In Lifestyle, Parenting by Carly Baker

The Center for Disease Control estimates that the obesity rate of children in America is at least three times higher than it was in the 1970’s. This is not hard to understand. The world has become scarier, in that parents no longer let kids leave the house alone on their bike, go on unknown adventures all day, and come back at night. In addition to having less outdoor time, children have a plethora of electronic devices to ensure a sedentary lifestyle that did not exist prior to the 1990’s. In addition, kids are eating more and sleeping less. As parents, it is important to understand the negative impact that obesity and an inactive lifestyle can have on children’s current and future physical and emotional health. While we cannot go back …

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Do Fathers Have a Right to Seek Child Support?

In Child Support by Carly Baker

There is a common misconception that fathers somehow have fewer legal rights across the board than mothers. This is simply untrue under the law, and it is likely based on anecdotal stories, outdated legal concepts, or just bad information. This is no gender difference when it comes to the issue of child support. Therefore, when we get a question from male clients about whether they are entitled to child support, the answer is exactly the same as when a female client asks the same question: We need to dig a little deeper. Child Support in North Carolina is Not Gender-Based North Carolina utilizes an “income shares” method of calculating child support obligations that is based on the theory that both parents have a legal duty to support their child or …

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Child Support and Fighting Paternity

In Child Support by Carly Baker

Before the era of viral tweets and “memes” on the internet, there were the Maury Povich and Jerry Springer shows, which featured a parade of over-the-top individuals egged on by rabid audiences to behave badly. It made for great, train-wreck television. One of the most popular segments of these shows was often the “Is he the father?” segments in which multiple alleged fathers were confronted by the mother of a child, followed by the live “reveal” of the paternity testing. Often when Maury or Jerry would state “you are NOT the father,” the crowd would go wild and the man would start dancing. It was ridiculous, inappropriate, and highly entertaining at the same time. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of real life, where questions of paternity are no joke. …

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Health Insurance and Medical Support for Children

In Child Support by Sarah Hink

Obtaining adequate health care coverage for your children is a big deal as a parent—you always want to be sure that your children are covered if they have pre-existing medical conditions or in the event of a medical emergency. Unfortunately, the cost of health care continues to rise in this country. Further, there is continued legislative uncertainty regarding the Affordable Care Act. It is therefore in your interest to understand how the laws in North Carolina address children’s health care and medical expenses when it comes to child support.  Medical Support By Agreement or Order Under North Carolina General Statute 50-13.11, parents can either agree or a court can order one or both parents to pay for a child’s “medical, hospital, dental, or other health care related expenses.” These can …

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What is a Child Support Consent Order?

In Child Support by Elizabeth Stephenson

When separated parents can agree to the critical issues of child custody and child support, their children benefit. Both public policy and common sense tell us that it is far better for children to see their parents act in a mature, harmonious manner than it is to see their parents fight during an already difficult period of time. We encourage our clients to attempt to reach amicable agreements and believe that it is important to understand their options when it comes to agreements. Separation Agreements One option to effectuate an agreement regarding child support is a separation agreement. This is a legally binding contract between parents following their date of separation in which they can agree to property division, child custody, spousal support, and/or child support. With such an agreement, …

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The Impacts of Changes in Your Employment

In Child Support, Separation & Divorce by Sarah Hink

Life is fluid. Our best-laid plans are subject to this fluidity and for better or worse, and we have to make adjustments in our lives when things change. One big area of our lives that can create havoc—or can be really positive—is when there is a significant change in our employment status. Our jobs are our lifelines. We rely on our careers as a part of our identities and rely on the income to make ends meet. If you are divorced and are in the role of a supporting spouse, you also rely on your income to make alimony and child support payments. So what should you do, then, if you experience a significant change in income? Alimony Can be Modified Alimony orders can be modified upon the demonstration of …

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Understanding Your Child Support Order

In Child Support by Sarah Hink

Child support is a frequent source of conflict between separated parents. The parent paying support generally thinks they are overpaying, while the parent receiving the support feels the opposite. Nevertheless, from a moral standpoint, we all know that parents should bear the financial responsibilities of their child’s needs. If you have been ordered to pay child support, or are facing the prospect of court ordered child support, it is important to understand how your order was determined. North Carolina uses an “income shares” approach to child support, which means that both parents are legally responsible for the financial care of their children. This approach basically considers a number of factors to reach child support obligations that emulate what a parent would proportionally pay if the family waere still an intact …

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Are Custody and Child Support Linked?

In Child Custody, Child Support by Elizabeth Stephenson

Parents Improperly Fight Using Support and Custody Unfortunately, the two issues are often intertwined in the minds of parents, since they both involve the children and generally come about during the same period of time. As a result, we often see parents attempt to punish one another by using custody and visitation or child support as leverage. In other words, when a parent is late paying support or stops paying support, then the parent deprived of support sometimes decides to withhold custodial time in retaliation. Or, when one parent deprives the other of visitation, then the wronged parent stops paying child support in response. When parents engage in this conduct, not only is it contrary to the child’s best interest, but it is also often unlawful. The fact is child …