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North Carolina Family Law Blog

Shared parenting on the rise in child custody arrangements

Shared parenting may be one option for parents in North Carolina who are getting a divorce and who must negotiate a child custody agreement. These types of arrangements are becoming increasingly popular as fathers want to become more involved in their children's lives, and a number of state legislatures are considering bills that will make it the default arrangement. While it is is supported by fathers' rights groups, some legal organizations and women's rights groups are against it.

One of their objections is that making it a default could result in women losing protection from ex-spouses who are abusive. Another objection is that it could lead to a drop in child support, which opponents say is important in addressing income disparity between men and women. However, advocates say that shared parenting gives women more opportunities to pursue education and careers since they are no longer expected to shoulder the main burden of caring for children.

Selling a home can accompany divorce

For people in North Carolina and across the United States, divorce can lead to an array of financial stresses and major life changes. One of these changes can include the selling of the marital home in order to divide the value of the proceeds accurately among the divorcing spouses. Moving and selling a home can carry unique stresses when they accompany the end of a marriage.

Surveys have estimated that 61 percent of divorces result in the sale of the family home. Sometimes this is accomplished by one spouse buying out the other, but on many occasions, the home relies on both partners' incomes; selling it to start fresh can be the best choice for moving forward. Home sales during a divorce can be particularly emotionally fraught in ways that typical house sales are not. Because of this, it can be important to work with a real estate agent for a plan between both spouses in which the agent is aware of the divorce considerations.

How the new tax bill affects alimony

The Republican tax bill, which was signed into law in December 2017, will affect alimony payments for people in North Carolina and throughout the country who get divorced in 2019 or later. Under the old tax laws, the person who pays alimony does not pay tax on the amount; however, the ex who receives alimony does. The new law says alimony will not be tax-deductible for the payee, and the recipient will no longer have to pay taxes on it.

Some experts have expressed concern that the law will lead to lower overall alimony payments. Under the old arrangement, tax savings were split between the couple. The higher-earning spouse paying the alimony got a tax break that made the payments easier on the budget while the lower-earning spouse paid tax on the alimony at a lower rate. That deduction saves some people who pay thousands in alimony each year.

What to do about a narcissistic coparent

When a North Carolina parent of young children divorces a narcissistic spouse, co-parenting may be difficult. The ex-spouse may attempt to hurt the other parent using the children.

This was the case with one woman who received an email from her ex-spouse stating that the children were afraid to come to her house. Initially, she did not take it very seriously since he had done similar things in the past. Often, they were related to an upcoming court action, and she had just filed for the fifth time to enforce the existing child support order.

The best way to spend your alimony payments

When a North Carolina judge awards you alimony in your divorce, you have received a boon that many women are not so fortunate to receive. That said, just because you get to receive alimony money does not mean that your financial troubles have been solved.

Receiving alimony -- just like the receipt of any kind of money -- is a responsibility. What follows is some sound advice to all recipients of alimony with regard to the best way to spend these payments.

Keeping dads in the picture during custody disputes

Most North Carolina children do better in school and at home when their fathers are involved in their lives. However, there have been prevailing stereotypes that label fathers as being irresponsible, unreliable and inclined towards having abusive tendencies. These stereotypes have hurt many fathers' abilities to seek equal custody rights.

These stereotypes can result in unfair legal situations where a court will award the mother custody of the children and require the father to pay a crippling amount of child support. Further, it is often considered to be out of the norm for children to be raised by a single father. Even with all of the advances both men and women have made in the last few decades when it comes to societal roles, society still expects the mom to raise the kids and the father to be the monetary provider.

Refinancing a home after divorce

A couple in North Carolina who is getting a divorce may need to divide their house. In many cases, this will require refinancing. Refinancing is usually necessary to remove one person from the mortgage. Otherwise, that spouse could remain responsible for the home regardless of what is agreed in the divorce, and this can be harmful to that person's credit.

Many people may not have the funds to buy out a spouse, but there are other ways to do it. For example, the spouse who is not keeping the home might take other assets of equal value such as a retirement account. An ex who is owed spousal support might waive the payments in order to keep the home. However, it's often a good idea to work with a financial adviser to see if these kind of arrangements are workable. A cash-out refinance is another option.

Unique child custody plans can help kids during divorce

Parents in North Carolina who are planning for divorce may be looking for child custody solutions that honor the role of both parents and keep a child's life as undisturbed as possible. Despite the rocky roads that lead to divorce, some parents place a priority on retaining an amicable relationship for the benefit of the children. These couples often seek custody plans that keep both parents fully connected to their children's lives.

While the mother is often granted sole custody with visitation periods for the father, there has been a shift toward joint or shared custody in which parents share time as equally as possible. Research has repeatedly shown the strong benefits of having both parents fully involved. This has also led to the development of innovative child custody plans and agreements.

Custodial mothers and fathers with child support payments

For custodial parents in North Carolina, there are a number of ways that a child support enforcement agency might try to get a parent to pay support. There was an increase in child support collections from $21 billion to $31.6 billion from 2001 to 2012.

Throughout the country, the focus has shifted toward helping noncustodial parents get more involved in their children's lives and pay support. Some jurisdictions are lowering payments and increasing noncustodial parents' access to children. While custodial parents are largely mothers and noncustodial parents are largely fathers, the percentage of custodial parents who do not receive child support is similar.

Is co-parenting possible after abusive marriages?

Some marriages in North Carolina are violent. After parents leave violent marriages, they may be concerned about co-parenting their children with their ex-spouses. Researchers recently looked at co-parenting during the first year following the divorces of those whose marriages had been violent.

The researchers were from the University of Illinois and were interested to find out whether the type of abuse that occurred during the marriage would have an impact on the couple's ability to co-parent their children following their divorces. They wanted to know if mothers who had been the victims of abuse during their marriages would be able to establish co-parenting relationships with their ex-spouses or if they would continue to be their victims.

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