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Charlotte Family Law Blog

How alimony and spousal support orders are enforced

As previous posts on this blog have discussed, alimony and spousal support make up an important part of the divorce or separation process in North Carolina. Judges have broad discretion to issue alimony awards, and they often do so with an eye toward providing for a spouse's basic financial needs or making sure that, overall, their orders are fair and treat the parties even-handedly.

This is why it is almost always a frustrating experience when one spouse simply decides to ignore the court's orders and not pay alimony or spousal support. Oftentimes, the failure to do so may come in the wake of a barrage of excuses that do not really add up when one thinks about them.

Overview of visitation rights in North Carolina

Many parents in Charlotte, North Carolina live in separate homes and thus must share their children. When this happens, parents will usually either have a custody and visitation arrangement that will specify when each parent will have the child. Alternatively, the court will issue its own order setting up a parenting schedule. In situations other than a true joint custody arrangement, one parent will get custody and the other parent will generally have visitation rights.

As with other legal issues involving children, the specific contours of a parent's visitation rights will depend on what the court sees as the best interest of the children. As such, there are not black and white rules as to how much time a parent will get, as that will depend on a number of things, like the parents' jobs, how the old the children are, and where the parents each live.

Heart balm claims and social media

As this blog has discussed on previous occasions, so-called heart balm claims are alive and well in North Carolina. To review, a Charlotte resident can file a heart balm claim against a third party who has an affair with his or her spouse or who otherwise engages in behavior that disrupts a happy marriage.

In today's age, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media play an important role in heart balm claims. After all, family lawyers and spouses going through a divorce or separation have discovered that these social media sites can store valuable, and sometimes damning, information about the other party.

Schools out for Summer

What can be a joyous time for some children and parents--the last day of school--can be filled with fear and anxiety for others. We know that this time of year brings increased litigation around summer schedules, travel details and passports. Don't hesitate to contact us if you're feeling stuck or pressured. Please also follow us at @queenofcustody on Instagram for inspiration on this coparenting journey.

Statistics on the prevalence of cheating in the country

According to a study, about 20 percent of men, and a little under 15 percent of all women, admitted to having sex with someone other than their spouse. These statistics do not account for emotional affairs and other behavior short of full-blown sexual intercourse, and it also does not account for those who simply did not report their cheating behavior.

While the study confirms the traditional notion that men are more likely than women to have affairs, an interesting finding is that this gender gap also fluctuates depending on the age of those involved. For instance, the study found younger women, between 18 and 29, are actually slightly more likely than men of the same age to have affairs.

Prenups and alimony payments on the rocks after tax changes

Recent tax changes may mean people who enter into prenuptial or alimony agreements as part of marriage or divorce could find themselves digging deeper into their pockets. Knowing the details of your prenup or alimony and how to amend it could save you time and money in the long run.

President Trump’s recent tax changes will see the payers of this alimony no longer able to deduct the payments from their tax bill. For many celebrities, sportspeople and business leaders in the top tax bracket – those most likely to have an alimony arrangement -- this results in an effective doubling of post-tax costs.

How long do I have to file a heart balm claim?

As this blog has discussed previously, North Carolina is one of only a handful of states that recognize so-called heart balm claims. These types of lawsuits, which include the torts of alienation of affection and criminal conversation, allow an aggrieved spouse to seek compensation from their husband or wife's partner to an extramarital affair.

These sorts of claims can give a Charlotte resident a sense of justice and closure after their marriage gets damaged or even ends because of a third party. They also allow a person to seek compensation as they would after filing other types of torts. This means the compensation for a heart balm claim can include reimbursement for both out-of-pocket costs and non-economic losses, like a person's emotional distress as a result of the affair.

What factors does a court use when deciding child custody?

When parents in Charlotte divorce, one issue they'll have to settle is who is to have custody of their child and when. This blog has previously discussed the different types of child custody and parenting time arrangements a Charlotte, North Carolina, court may order should the child's parents not be able to agree on these types of issues. What some parents in the area might wonder, however, is what sorts of evidence a North Carolina court will be looking for when deciding a child custody case.

Ultimately, a judge is going to try to make a decision that is in the child's best interests. This is simply a fancy way of saying that the child's needs will come before the desires or even needs of either parent who is party to the custody dispute.

What will a court consider when deciding an alimony amount?

When making decisions regarding alimony issues, courts in North Carolina have to consider whether or not to award alimony in the first place. After deciding that it should award alimony, which some might refer to as spousal support, the court will then have to decide what amount the spouse who is going to pay alimony should contribute each month to the other spouse.

With respect to the first question, how a court handles alimony is largely left to the discretion of the court. There are some very narrow circumstances in which a court will either be required to award alimony or will be under an obligation not to do so, but in the vast majority of cases, a court will look to a number of factors to help it decide whether or not alimony is appropriate. It is ultimately up to the judge how to apply these factors to the unique circumstances of the couple appearing in court before him or her.

What are a father’s custody rights during divorce?

As a father, your greatest concern during divorce may be protecting your relationship with your children. Historically, children were placed in the custody of their mothers during divorce, and fathers had limited involvement in their child’s upbringing.

You desire greater involvement in your child’s life and want to be there for them each step of the way. Will the court favor your ex-wife in a custody decision, or will custody be split between parents?

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