Articles Posted in Children

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The month of May is Mental Health Awareness Month.  Each year, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (“NAMI”) joins the national movement to raise awareness about mental health.  For the year 2021, the message “You Are Not Alone” is the amplifying theme for the month.  This theme is relevant now more than ever, given that the resounding impacts of COVID-19 have left many people feeling isolated and alone during these challenging times.  Mental illness affects every aspect of a person’s life, especially if that person is facing divorce and/or a child custody battle.  Although it can be difficult to talk about, sharing your struggles with others to get the help you need will be highly beneficial for your family law case. Continue reading →

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Utah recently enacted a new statute that denies hunting and fishing licenses to those who are delinquent on child support payments. They have recently began notifying some of those people that they may be denied licenses based on their delinquency. According to their state child support enforcement records, roughly 19,000 are currently behind on payments, and of those 19,000, roughly 9,500 are hunters or fishermen that have applied for licenses in the past. The interesting correlation between hunting/fishing and child support aside, Utah’s new statute is not groundbreaking in any way. In fact, North Carolina has had a similar statute for years. Continue reading →

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May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and here at Woodruff Family Law Group, we are cognizant that the ongoing pandemic has caused much harm to our collective mental health. The school closures and loneliness associated with social distancing are major factors. A remarkable Harvard study following 224 children found that 66% of the children were showing clinical signs of depression or anxiety. Similar studies in Europe and Asia also show the same trend: COVID-19 likely contributes to rising depression and anxiety rates. It is an alarming trend that may not be visible on the surface. Continue reading →

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Fecteau v. Spierer, COA20-532 (2020).

Child custody orders are modifiable under North Carolina law. In order to modify, the party seeking a modification must show a substantial change in circumstances, from those found in previous order, that warrants modification. It may seem obvious that big changes in the custodial parent’s life meet that standard. But in the case below, we discuss how improvements in the noncustodial parent’s life can warrant a modification in his favor, which can grant him more time with his kids and more decision-making abilities. Continue reading →

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Fecteau v. Spierer, COA20-532 (2020).

Child custody orders are modifiable. In order modify, the party seeking a modification must show a substantial change in circumstances, from those found in the previous order, that warrants modification. In some cases, primary physical custody is awarded to a nonparent. Most often, this nonparent is a relative, such as a grandparent. Below, we discuss a case where a parent was granted primary physical custody from the grandparents, and we address the legal standard for how to get there. Continue reading →

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What happens when a wife gives birth during a marriage, but the husband is not the biological father per DNA? Paternity in North Carolina is a legal issue—there are rights and responsibilities that come with being a legal father. As a primer, the common terminology in this area of law is as follows: Continue reading →

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When it comes to child custody, the court has the authority and discretion to consider a wide array of factors to further the best interest of the child standard. One such factor is the physical and mental health of the parent. Impairment of one parent in a child custody dispute that stems from alcohol or substance abuse may raise a number of legitimate concerns about that person’s ability to parent.

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Angel v. Sandoval, COA20-236 (unpublished 2020).

If your ex, or you, lost a job and income and considered modifying child support to a lower amount in response, it may not always mean that the modification will be granted. Here in North Carolina, it depends on the circumstances surrounding the job and income loss. If it was intentional, with bad faith, then the court may impute income based on the parent’s earning capacity rather than actual current income. However, the analysis is nuanced and can be difficult to show. Below is one such case where there simply was not enough evidence to impute. Continue reading →

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There are unfortunate times where one individual who has become fully insured for social security benefits passes away or gives up a child for adoption. In such cases, however, the Social Security Administration has enacted rules to pass on the benefit to the children. But exactly what happens when the child receiving a benefit is going to be adopted? Does the benefit simply end because he or she now has a new parent? Potential adoptive parents should speak to an attorney if they are considering adoption of a child receiving social security benefits. Continue reading →

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Alexander v. Alexander, ______ N.C. _______ (2021) (COA19-391).

In Greensboro, Grandparents may be awarded visitation rights if the Court deems it appropriate. Often, it is by intervening in the custody battle being fought by the custodial parents. Even after a final custody order is entered, a Grandparent may seek visitation when the circumstances affecting the child have substantially changed. But what happens when one of the parents passes away before the custody issue is resolved? Continue reading →