Articles Posted in Custody

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Mims v. Parker, 839 S.E.2d 433 (N.C. App. 2020)

In North Carolina, dog owners can be liable for injuries caused by their dogs. We all love our friendly four-legged companions, but a dog is still an animal that can cause devastating injuries if it reacts poorly to a situation. We all have heard stories of how even the most kind and gentle ones can fly off the leash in a fit of madness. But our state limits liability for dog attacks to certain exceptions. Mims v. Parker is a case that addresses some of the liabilities. Continue reading →

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Suppose you are separated or divorced, or you have recently retired or been placed on disability, and are the parent of a minor child. If you receive dependent benefits through Social Security or the Veterans Administration, your child support obligation may be reduced or eliminated, provided you are not behind or delinquent on your current court-ordered payments. Continue reading →

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Spicer v. Spicer, 607 S.E2d 678 (2005)

North Carolina child support cases are mostly handled by guidelines that set a presumption on what each parent can pay after considering income, some expenses, and percentage of physical custody. But the guidelines are not the final word in child support. Certain income levels move the case out of the guideline range. And in other cases, a parent may request a deviation from the guidelines. In those cases, the Court must consider four things: 1) what the presumptive award would be under the guideline; 2) what the reasonable needs for the children are and how much can each parent afford to pay; 3) whether the presumptive award would meet or exceed the reasonable needs of the child when considering the parent’s ability to pay; and 4) make findings of fact on whether the Court decides to deviate or not. Continue reading →

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Tuel v. Tuel, 840 S.E.2d 917 (2020).

After separation and divorce, it is not unheard of for one spouse to move out of state. If the former couple had minor children together, then the question is which spouse is primarily going to have custody of the children? Improvement to quality of life is only one of the factors that must be taken into account when making the determination. If custody litigation arises, then the Court must review any factor that has bearing on the best interests of the children. These can be complicated cases (as can be seen below), and the parent seeking custody needs to demonstrate that relocating the children to another state best serves the development and growth of the children. Continue reading →

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On Friday, December 11, 2020, Chief Justice Cheri Beasley announced that in North Carolina non-essential, in-person court proceedings would be postponed for 30 days, beginning Monday, December 14, 2020.  Unfortunately, this has become the norm as the state continues to battle the widespread effects of the coronavirus pandemic.  With in-person court proceedings grinding to a halt, many divorced and separated parents are finding themselves in uncharted territory in terms of co-parenting.  As a result, many parents have taken matters into their own hands and are beginning to make day-by-day decisions regarding what is best for their children in these situations.

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In 2020, the holiday season will be one of the most tumultuous in recent years now that Covid-19 rates are beginning to rise again. For parents with ongoing custody cases or custody orders already in place, it presents an especially trying time. Travel is a large component of every holiday season. But before parents and children travel to see their relatives, they need to spend few minutes reflecting on their current custody arrangements. Violating a court order or recklessly leaving on a holiday trip can hurt your case or bring you in contempt of court. Continue reading →

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Holiday travel and child custody issues are often sources of contention between parents. Ensure that your custody order allows you to travel out of state with your children before leaving your state. Suppose there is no language to prevent either parent from taking the children out of the state. In that case, either parent is free to travel during their custodial time even when the other parent disagrees with the travel, particularly during the recent rise in COVID-19 cases. Continue reading →

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So you’ve moved to Guilford County from Florida and up until your move you and your ex-spouse have been operating under a child custody order that was entered by a judge in a district court in Florida.  Now what? North Carolina General Statutes § 50A-305 provides guidelines for registration of child custody determinations in North Carolina. This procedure is optional but may be of benefit to you and your situation. By registering a child custody order in this state, a parent can send a child to another state without concern that the state will not enforce the order if the parent in this state refuses to return the child.  Continue reading →

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With the 2020 holidays rapidly approaching, newly separated and divorced parents may be experiencing increased stress over when and how to deal with spending the holidays sharing their children.

The first thing to remember is that if you have a child custody order entered by the court, you must follow the court’s orders for holiday visitation. Time often tends to get away from us when we are spending time with our children and families. If your court order says that a custodial exchange shall occur at a specific place or time, ensure that you are mindful of being prompt. Failing to follow the judge’s orders, especially if your relationship with your former partner is contentious can subject you to being in contempt of court and payment of the other parent’s attorney fees.

The only way you may not have to follow a court-ordered schedule is if the child custody order contains language that allows the parents to make mutually agreed-upon schedule changes. The best advice, if the order permits the parties to make changes, is to keep proof of the agreement to deviate from the custody order in writing by either email or text message. Remember that once you agree to the change in the schedule, you should abide by those changes just like the change was in the court order.

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We all love a good Mulan-esque warrior story with a happy ending. Family law attorneys have seen it all and are the warriors and champions of family law related issues. Delving into the chaotic family disputes that clients present daily means almost nothing could come as a surprise.  Yet, when a Kansas man challenged his Iowa ex-wife to a trial by sword fight to settle their child custody dispute, it appeared that there may indeed be something new under the sun.

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