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Does a Supporting Spouse Have Control Over How Child Support is Spent?

In Child Support by Elizabeth Stephenson

If you are paying child support, you understand the pain of knowing that your paycheck is significantly less every month than before your child support order existed. But you can tolerate this pain, knowing that you are doing right by your child and providing financial support. Nevertheless, it is natural to wonder how that money is being spent. In fact, the thought has probably occurred to you that maybe it isn’t all going directly toward the benefit of your children. Therefore, you might wonder if you have any control over how child support is spent. Unfortunately, the answer is that you have little to no say about how the parent receiving the support spends it. Simply put, court dockets are already stressed and overwhelmed, and the last thing the courts …

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When Does Court Ordered Child Support End in North Carolina?

In Child Support by Sarah Hink

While child support is a legally and morally necessary obligation that parents must contribute to their children’s expenses, it can represent a significant amount of a paying parent’s paycheck. Therefore, if you have been ordered to pay child support, there is nothing wrong about wanting to understand how long this obligation is going to last. In fact, the question of when a child support obligation ends matters a great deal to your financial security and future. Generally, a parent’s child support obligation ends upon the child’s 18th birthday. However, there are scenarios where an obligation may end before or after this 18th birthday. Termination of Child Support BEFORE the Child’s 18th Birthday The North Carolina General Statutes allow for a court to terminate a child support order if a minor …

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Is it Possible to Get Attorney’s Fees For Divorce Proceedings?

In Child Custody, Child Support, Separation & Divorce by Elizabeth Stephenson

It is exceedingly common for a financial imbalance to exist between couples that are divorcing. This can lead to fundamentally unfair situations where the spouse with greater resources can afford to retain an attorney while the other spouse cannot. This can create inequitable outcomes to critical legal issues like child custody, property division, alimony, and child support. To address this imbalance and to offer both sides an opportunity to a just resolution, the legislature has made it possible for a dependent spouse to obtain attorneys fees in certain situations. Post-Separation Support and Alimony — The North Carolina legislature has given the court the discretion to award attorneys fees in alimony and post-separation support suits. This makes logical sense as a spouse who is financially dependent on the other spouse probably …

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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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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 …