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Charlotte Family Law Blog

Help children cope with the challenges of parents' divorce

Ask any parent and they will tell you that becoming a parent was one of the best things that ever happened to them. Children are a bright spot in a parent's life and most parents will stop at nothing to provide the best for their children. When a parent makes the difficult decision to divorce their child's parent, it can be not only a challenging decision, but one that can impact the child drastically. Divorce may be the best long-term solution for you and your family but, in the beginning, you may be looking for ways to help your child cope with a divorce.

If you and your spouse are on good terms and you are able to deliver the news of the divorce to your children without any unnecessary strife, it is recommended that parents tell their child together about the divorce. Every child will take it differently, but it is important to support your child during this time of change and be open to discuss the divorce and why it's happening. You may not need to give specific answers about why you are getting a divorce, but instead focus on how the child's relationship with each parent will remain unchanged during and after a divorce. When it comes to you and your ex-spouse, try not to discuss the divorce or argue in front of the children.

How alimony might affect your 2017 tax return

A new year means W2s and other paperwork arriving which forces us to turn our attention to our 2017 taxes. With that fiscal year closed, those who are new to a divorce settlement that includes alimony or child support may have questions about how this impacts their tax return. While it may actually be simpler to file as an individual, rather than as a couple in year's past, you may be finding this process as unfamiliar, especially if your ex-spouse usually handled the financials and the tax return.

For those who are thinking of receiving alimony or child support in your pending divorce decree, it's good to take note of how it might affect your next year's tax filing. For those who make alimony payments to an ex-spouse, they are usually tax-deductible. That means they can be written off from income on a tax return. Certain stipulations must be met including that you are not filing a joint return together, you pay in cash, you aren't living in the same household as your ex-spouse and your payment is not for child support.

What not to do in divorce court (if you want to win)

Courtroom etiquette can play a substantial role in the strength of your case. If you are in front of a judge in a divorce proceeding, it is imperative that you behave appropriately and arrive at the proceeding prepared.

Here are some things that divorce attorneys recommend not doing when their clients go to court.

Determine child custody arrangement that's best for your family

Whether you and your child's parent are soon-to-be divorced or have been living separately for a while, there is likely a need for a child custody arrangement. Child custody arrangements are court-enforceable, so they have more credibility than do casual or verbal arrangements between parents. They are generally advisable for all separated parents since they give structured boundaries and responsibilities to both parents raising a child. They create a stable and thus a better environment for the child.

Since child custody arrangement's first and foremost priority is meeting the best interests of the child, this is clearly a priority. Families come in all shapes and sizes these days, and many are able to successfully raise a child from separate households. However, a child custody arrangement is usually recommended as it helps all parties involved to be their best selves. Child custody arrangements can dictate custody specifics, child support and other responsibilities or rights of the parents.

Seek the child custody arrangement that is right for your family

Whether you are a single parent without a current child custody arrangement, in the process of getting a divorce from your child's parent or are looking for an existing child custody agreement modification, there are lots of reasons to seek a better child custody situation. Every family's situation will be different and will have its own set of smooth sailing and bumps in the road. What a child custody agreement can do is to help illuminate responsibilities and rights of both parents when co-parenting a child from separate households. This is why it is important to seek the custody situation that is right for your family.

When parents want to share a fairly equal portion of the rights and responsibilities that it takes to raise a child, joint custody is often a popular option. However, even in joint custody situations, one parent oftentimes has slightly more control or responsibility than the other parent; it's rarely a totally even split. Even so, not all families are candidates for joint custody situations. Depending on a parent's past and capabilities, he or she may only be granted visitation privileges or limited rights with regard to decision making.

Do courts have discretion when determining alimony awards?

When thinking about what it takes to make a marriage and build a life together, a lot goes into this process. Of course, a person's love and attention to their spouse and other family members. There is the financial aspect, where two people build their lives together. And then their are other aspects, managing personal growth among the marriage and those responsibilities.

It is difficult to see a marriage through with all of the expectations and obligations that are on people these days. With that being said, divorce is a common experience for Charlotte residents today. With a divorce, especially for marriages of many years or even decades, alimony is a factor that will affect the divorce decree. Alimony, also known as spousal support, is court-ordered financial support paid from one ex-spouse to the other based on financial imbalances.

Why Mary J. Blige was compelled to pay spousal support to her ex

Earlier this year, Mary J. Blige – the renowned musician and actress (recently nominated for her first Golden Globe) – was ordered to pay her ex-husband $30,000 per month in temporary spousal support. As the primary breadwinner in her marriage, she was also ordered to pay support retroactively, and to cover her ex-husband’s lawyer fees.

The situation is both typical and unique. As a recent article in Entrepreneur makes clear, many entrepreneurs and business owners involved in divorce actions are compelled, like Blige, to give up assets they acquired independently. Yet Blige’s case stands out. The extent to which her business interests and personal life intersect is somewhat unusual—she is her business, and built up her cache prior to her marriage.

Heart-balm laws in context

Heart-balm laws are civil statutes that allow people to bring lawsuits against those who have had a negative impact on their marriage, such as a spouse’s lover. Laws like these have been around since the 1800s and are on the books in Hawaii, Mississippi, New Mexico, South Dakota and Utah, as well as North Carolina.

In September, the North Carolina Court of Appeals tested these statutes. Originally, a lower court found these laws unconstitutional; however, on appeal the judge ruled in favor of them. Heart-balm statutes in North Carolina have two primary elements: alienation of affection and criminal conversation.

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