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Charlotte Family Law Blog

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?

The elements of alienation of affection claims

North Carolina is one of the handful of states that still recognize so-called "heart balm claims," which are claims a disgruntled spouse can file against someone who interferes with that person's marriage. The spouse can get monetary compensation from the person who broke up the marriage.

There is a slight distinction between the two North Carolina heart balm claims, which are called alienation of affection and criminal conversation. As a previous post discussed, the tort of criminal conversation implies the person being sued had a physical sexual relationship with a married man or woman.

Did you know that there is more than one kind of child custody?

Thinking about your family, there are few priorities in a person's life that matter as much as they do. Family members, especially children, are a big motivator behind why we do what we do. So, when parents in North Carolina who are no longer in a relationship with one another are trying to figure out child custody arrangements, they are likely looking for the ideal child custody scenario that is in the best interests of the child.

In order to get to that end result, there are a few different ways to set up custody. Since every child's situation is different, a child custody arrangement for one child may look vastly different than that of a child in a different family. Child custody arrangements are tailored around the child and around the family in hopes of achieving the best outcome for the child. There are a few different types of child custody a parent could be granted in a child custody arrangement.

Heart Balm claims offer legal recourse to those cheated on

Most do not enter into a marriage with the intent to dissolve it at a later date. However, for many marriages today, divorce is an option on the table that many opt to take. There could be a myriad of reasons behind you and your ex-spouse's decision to divorce. One of the toughest reasons is due to infidelity on behalf of one or both partners.

Beyond divorce, those in North Carolina actually have civil recourse if their partner was unfaithful. These are called Heart Balm claims, and North Carolina is one of the few states that recognizes this as a legal recourse. The idea is that a current or ex-spouse can seek civil and monetary penalties in situations in which their spouse was unfaithful or even so much as alienated affection. If you are in the unfortunate situation in which your ex-spouse had an affair, this legal option may be attractive to you.

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.

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