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North Carolina Family Law Blog

The alternating weeks parenting plan: What it looks like

There are virtually an unlimited number of ways to share physical custody of your children with your ex. Parents can organize their parenting plans around their and their children's schedules to best reflect the needs and best interests of everyone involved. In this article, we will discuss the Alternating Weeks parenting plan, which could be a great way to organize your own parenting schedule.

Why the Alternating Weeks plan can work

Modifying a child support order

In many North Carolina divorces where one parent is the primary caregiver of one or more minor children, the other parent is usually required to pay a certain amount in child support each and every month. However, there are situations where the parent who is required to pay child support suddenly cannot due to a significant change in circumstances. Before that parent can get the payment amount reduced, he or she must have the child support order modified by the court.

The process for seeking a modification to the child support order is relatively simple. The parent must document the change in circumstances, such as a job loss or a sudden, debilitating illness. The parent should then file the child support modification with the court that issued the original child support order. Once the other parent has been served, the parent can then go in front of a judge. Alternatively, the parent can try to reach an agreement with the primary caregiver, though any agreement that is made should be in writing and approved by the court.

Teen dads often do not get the support they need

Teen pregnancy is still a major problem for those in North Carolina and around the country who go through the actual experience and become parents. However, much of the focus is on the mothers. Traditionally, teen fathers are only thought of as financial providers. Despite these assumptions, however, teen fathers often plan an active role as caregivers for their children as well.

Active involvement in their children's lives has been shown to be beneficial for both the children and the teen fathers. For example, children whose fathers were actively involved in their lives were more likely to have better reasoning skills, higher self-esteem and higher educational achievement. Teen fathers who were active in their children's lives also showed a decrease in negative behaviors, such as substance or alcohol abuse.

The importance of father's rights

Both the role of and attitudes toward fathers have changed since 1965. Fathers in North Carolina and across the United States are taking a more active role in raising their children, and the importance of having fathers as active parents has also increased dramatically. This shift in perspective may have a profound effect on custody cases.

According to a 2015 Pew Research Center survey, this shift in attitudes has changed both the roles of fathers and society's expectations. While few people consider a father to be a better primary caregiver to children, most people polled give them nearly equal standing with the mother. A more equitable parenting situation has arisen in many households with the mother and father sharing the burdens of parenting and working life.

Children of divorce benefit from co-parenting

A divorced North Carolina father striving to gain custody of a child or visitation rights could promote the effort by emphasizing the importance of both parents in a child's life. Traditionally, family courts have given physical custody to mothers in the vast majority of cases according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Attitudes are shifting, however, as over 50 international studies have consistently shown that children have better lives when their parents share custody.

A conference of child development experts presented research conducted over 40 years in over 18 countries that showed that stress levels in children were lower when they had access to both parents. Over 30 experts expressed their view that children's best interests were best met by long-term arrangements that divided time between the parents in an approximately equal manner.

Rules for tax-deductible alimony payments

When North Carolina couples get a divorce, one person may be obligated to pay alimony. Usually, the recipient must pay taxes on the alimony while the payer can deduct it from taxes. However, there are several provisions that must be in place before this deduction will be allowed. The people must be in separate households, the payment must be one that does not continue after the death of the recipient and the agreement must not specify that the alimony is not deductible or taxable. In 2017, the U.S. Tax Court also found that if the amount claimed as alimony is not specifically mentioned in the legal divorce or separation agreement, it cannot be deducted.

The court concluded this after reviewing a case in which a man claimed as alimony a portion of a bonus that he received the year prior to his divorce. He and his wife had signed an agreement that the bonus was community property and would thus be split.

Can North Carolina dentists help prevent domestic violence?

When domestic violence gets serious, it can result in numerous physical injuries. With slapping and punching, one of the first body areas to be affected are teeth.

Domestic violence victims become especially good at covering bruises with makeup, hair, sunglasses and hats. However, you can't simply ignore a broken tooth and expect it to heal, especially when you're a dentist treating a patient. Furthermore, dentists could notice other signs of abuse. This is why dentists can serve as one of the first lines of defense against domestic violence.

Steps to getting custody of a brother or sister

A North Carolina resident who wishes to adopt a sibling in the event of the parents' death should talk to the parents about this wish. The parents may agree to name the person as the child's guardian in the will. In any other circumstances, a person might face a custody battle to become a sibling's guardian. If the parents die, other family members might want custody of the child as well. If the parents are alive, the court will be reluctant to take the child away from biological parents.

People will need to prove that they are stable and have enough money before they will be given custody of a sibling. It may also be necessary to prove that the child's parents or legal guardians are putting the child in danger.

Determining child support outside of the courtroom

When North Carolina parents of minor children decide to end their marriage, the issue of child support will most likely need to be addressed. The state has statutory guidelines that courts will use when determining the amount of support that a noncustodial parent will be ordered to pay. However, parents can choose other methods to establish the amount.

One way to avoid having a judge make a decision is to go through an alternative dispute resolution procedure. A popular method is mediation. In this process, a neutral third party attempts to facilitate an accord between the two estranged spouses. This can be a good choice for couples who, while they have decided that they can no longer live together, are still able to communicate with each other in a less adversarial way. It is far more casual than a courtroom setting, and their children don't have to be exposed to a battle in court.

How nesting may help children adjust to a divorce

Some North Carolina parents who are getting a divorce may find that an arrangement known as "nesting" suits them and their children. Nesting means that parents share custody, but instead of the children shuttling back and forth between the parents' home, the children remain in the family home while the parents rotate in and out. This helps eliminate the instability that comes from moving between parents' homes every few days.

One couple who followed this arrangement for 18 months rented a small apartment nearby and switched off weekly. Eventually, when one parent found a new partner, the arrangement became impractical and they changed to a more traditional kind of joint custody in which the children moved between their two homes. However, the parents said they felt that their own experiences with moving back and forth between homes helped them better understand the challenges their children would face. They also said they felt the period of stability helped with their children's adjustment.

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