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Child Support

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One of the most emotionally trying parts of any divorce is determining child custody. However, the most important thing to consider in any child custody case is the best interests of the children.

In nearly every case, it is better for parents to find consensus on parenting time that protects both parents’ relationships with the children. We understand that there are some times where this will not be possible. When necessary, we will be ready to fight in court to protect your children and your parental rights.

What determines the Basis of Child Support?

We know that child support issues can be stressful.

North Carolina has set formulas for the determination of child support; however, other elements are open to interpretation and often require the attention of a skilled family attorney to be properly assessed. For example, factors such as health care expenses and day care costs need to be considered when determining the final child support amount. Our lawyers carefully consider your entire situation and work hard to ensure you receive what you deserve or do not pay more than you should.

Guidelines in North Carolina apply to parties who have a combined income of less than $300,000 per year. Child support obligations awarded by the court must continue to be paid until the child is 18 years old or graduates from high school, whichever happens last. Child support payments are terminated if the child is emancipated.

As part of the process, an attorney will assist with all types of child support issues, including:

  • Calculations
  • Modification of payments
  • Enforcement of payments
  • Arrearages
  • Establishment of paternity
  • Show cause orders for failure to pay
  • Calculating Payments

Can I Modify Child Support and Alimony Payments?

Alimony and child support payments exist because big financial changes usually accompany a divorce. And because circumstances can continually change over the years, North Carolina law allows for the possibility to modify those payments.

When Can Terms of Your Order Be Changed?

Much like modifying child custody, courts will only approve a modification of alimony or child support payments if there has been a material, substantial change in circumstances. These changes could be:

  • Your child suffering from an illness or injury that requires more child support for medical care
  • Your child attending a new school that charges more for tuition
  • Drastic change in day care costs or health insurance
  • You or your spouse receiving a substantial raise
  • Involuntarily losing your job

How Do I Protect My Parental Rights in Custody Disputes?

One of the most emotionally trying parts of any divorce is determining child custody. However, the most important thing to consider in any child custody case is the best interests of the children.

Legal Custody Vs. Physical Custody

It is important to understand the difference between legal custody and physical custody in North Carolina law. The parent with legal custody or parents with joint legal custody make major decisions about the welfare of the minor child, including school, education and religious issues.

Physical custody refers to each parent’s ability to physically spend time and take care of the children. The children may live with one parent while spending a few nights with the other parent. Or the children may spend equal time with both parents.

Tailoring Our Approach To Your Situation

Whether you are a divorcing couple or a single parent, we can help you with all child custody issues. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Determining if parents will share legal custody or if one parent will have final decision-making authority
  • Figuring out where the children will live and how much time they will spend under the other parent’s roof
  • Deciding how the children will spend their holidays and summer and school vacations
  • Protecting the visitation or custody rights of grandparents
  • Helping a stepparent adopt a stepchild

As board-certified family law specialists, attorneys Michael Romano and Richard Johnson know how to handle these delicate matters with precision and care. They will help you find the best resolution for you and your children.

In nearly every case, it is better for parents to find consensus on parenting time that protects both parents’ relationships with the children. We understand that there are some times where this will not be possible. When necessary, we will be ready to fight in court to protect your children and your parental rights.

When Can I Modify Child Custody?

Parents know that it is hard to predict what will happen in their children’s lives. No one can say what a child’s needs will be at age 15 when the child is only five years old. For divorced or single parents living under a child custody and visitation order, the law does allow for changes in certain situations.

North Carolina courts will only modify a custody order if there has been a substantial and material change in circumstances that affects the well-being and best interests of the children. Common examples of these substantial changes include:

  • A parent needs to or wants to relocate for employment or educational opportunities
  • The child’s school schedule changes
  • One parent is abusive or is abusing substances
  • The child’s school performance declines while in the custody of one parent
  • A parent suffers from a serious injury or illness that prevents him or her from being a primary provider
  • The teenage child expresses a wish to spend more time with the other parent

When Can I Relocate with My Children?

Relocating with your children post-separation or divorce is a complex process in North Carolina. Many parents relocate for an employment or educational opportunity or to be closer to family. Relocation disputes can be frustrating for everyone involved.

You can relocate with your children after divorce if you have an agreement with the other parent or with the court’s permission. Relocating without an agreement or court approval can result in more legal problems in the future and could even impact your child custody or visitation rights.

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Nick Oberheiden is the absolute best federal litigation attorney. Nick gives you the immediate comfort of feeling 100% protected. He is polite, respectful— and extremely compelling. His legal strategy turned out to be brilliant.

– Marshall M.

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