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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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What is a “Substantial Change in Circumstances”?

In Child Custody by Elizabeth Stephenson

When it comes to child custody, change is constant. This is because parents get new jobs, enter into new relationships, and move. Of even greater significance is that children get older. As they do, their needs change, their relationships with parents change, they want more time to themselves and school commitments grow. This is why child custody orders and agreements are not expected to last forever. However, just because circumstances change does not mean that parties should ignore existing orders. That could result in civil contempt. Instead, parents should consult with attorneys about modifying an existing child custody order. In order to obtain a modification of an order, a party seeking a change must first demonstrate that there has been a “substantial change in circumstances.”the statute does not define what …

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What if My Children’s Custodial Parent Wants to Move?

In Child Custody by Elizabeth Stephenson

Your children mean the world to you. You want to spend as much time with them as possible, to see them develop, and to be a family. Unfortunately, when you are separated or divorced, your time with your children becomes limited—especially if you do not have primary physical custody of your children. Unfortunately, it can get worse. One reality of child custody is that life will put parents on divergent paths. For example, single parents get remarried and decide to move or find great job opportunities elsewhere. As you can predict, this often does not go over well with the other parent. Relocation with children can be an incredible source of conflict. If you are facing a custodial parent who wants to relocate with your child, you need to understand …

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What to Do When Your Child Custody is Challenged

In Child Custody by Sarah Hink

If you are a parent, the prospect of losing custody or access to your children can be a terrifying one. However, the Supreme Court of the United States has provided case law indicating that parents have a fundamental liberty regarding the “care, custody, and control” of their children, and North Carolina follows the same idea. However, as in all areas of law, there are almost always exceptions to every rule, so if you have been served with a lawsuit for custody or someone is threatening legal action regarding your children, it is important to take a deep breath, read the following, and speak with an experienced family law attorney. No Prior Order or Agreement Exists If you and the child’s other parent have never reached an agreement or obtained a …

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How North Carolina Courts Enforce Child Support Orders

In Child Support by Sarah Hink

For parents who have primary custody of their children, child support is a necessity and not a luxury. This money is essential for meeting children’s basic needs of food, shelter, clothing, medical care, education, and the many additional expenses that come with raising a child. Parents are under a legal and moral duty to provide for their children; unfortunately, not all parents fulfill their duty. When there is a court order for child support in place, this duty becomes legally enforceable. So what happens when a parent who has been ordered to pay child support fails to meet their obligation? Child Support Enforcement Actions North Carolina General Statute Section 50-13.4 allows for any parent or person that has custody of a child to file a legal action seeking child support …

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Relocation and Custody

In Child Custody by Elizabeth Stephenson

Relocating a great distance with children is never an easy decision. You are essentially uprooting them from their home, their friends, their activities, and their schools. However, there may be compelling reasons to move, like a job opportunity someplace else, a new marriage, or a desire for a lifestyle change. On top of this, you have to consider the children’s other parent. In fact, child custody arrangements can become highly contested when one parent moves far away. This is because the other parent will very likely see the child less frequently, because both parents may not see eye-to-eye about what is best for the child, and because it can become expensive to make travel arrangements for visits to occur. When No Child Custody Orders Exist It is not entirely uncommon …

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Modifying Child Support Orders

In Child Support by Sarah Hink

Child support is essential to meeting children’s needs. It is also a legal duty that parents are responsible for. In North Carolina, child support is calculated based on an “income shares” approach, which considers parenting time, incomes, and expenses at the time the support order is entered. However, the circumstances of parents and children are fluid, and change over time. Children get older, their needs change, visitation changes over time, and people change (or lose) jobs. This is why it becomes necessary to revisit child support orders. Modifying Court Ordered Child Support In order to modify a child support order, the party asking the court for the modification must show that there has been a material and substantial change in circumstances. Generally, the courts will revisit child support orders if …

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When a Visitation Schedule and Summer Plans Collide

In Child Custody by Sarah Hink

Summer is a great time for the kids. School is out, they get to spend extended time with friends and go to summer camps. If parents are separated or divorced, summer is a time that the children may have extended visitation with their non-custodial parent. Many non-custodial parents really treasure this time, as it is one of the few occasions that they can spend a great deal of time with their children. Unfortunately, sometimes the other parent has different plans for the children. At New Direction Family Law, we see a great deal of conflict between parents arise over this precious summer time. A frequent, and somewhat complicated question that we are asked is: what happens when parents disagree over the children’s summer plans? Parenting Plans Account for the Summer …

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Child Support and the Extraordinary Costs of Summer

In Child Support by Sarah Hink

The Battle Over Summer Camps Ask any parent what the most expensive time of year is. We can safely say that many will say that summer is the most expensive. That’s because the children, on a traditional school calendar, are out of school for three months, while there is no way our employer will give us three months off to take care of them. This means that parents must pay for three months of childcare in the form of summer camps and other childcare arrangements. Parents with children in year-round schools experience the same expenses, but spread out over the year. These camps can be incredibly expensive, which translates into increased conflict between separated parents as to whom shall pay for these camps. If parents cannot amicably agree to payment …

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Can I Change My Child Support Order?

In Child Support by Elizabeth Stephenson

No one can dispute that parents have a responsibility to financially take care of their children. Child support orders are designed for this specific purpose. If you are currently obligated to pay child support, you know that you must follow this order. In fact, you likely want to follow this order because you know that your child benefits. However, we understand that circumstances sometimes prevent this from happening, despite your best efforts. Life happens fast. Your job status and ability to generate income can dramatically and permanently alter your ability to comply with a child support order. What if you were a singer, but injured your vocal chords? Or if you were a business executive whose job became obsolete you’re your industry tanked? Unfortunately, child support orders are not fluid …