When going through a divorce, emotions can run high and feelings can get hurt, especially if children are involved. When you have kids, you want to spend as much time with them as possible, so it’s understandable to want custody and support so you can raise them in the best environment possible.
At the Law Offices of C. Melody Davalos, PLLC we are dedicated to supporting you throughout the child custody and child support arrangement process. You need your voice to be heard because you and your family deserve the best life possible. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with a knowledgeable and compassionate attorney. We proudly serve clients in Raleigh, and surrounding communities including Wake County, Johnston County, Franklin County, and Durham County, North Carolina.
Parents want the best for their children and they want to be a part of their lives as much as possible so establishing a parenting plan can often be contentious. Depending on whether or not the parents agree on the details of a parenting plan will determine the process for creating child custody and support.
If both parents agree on the terms and conditions of a parenting plan then they can draw up their provisions and present them to the court for approval. Whenever possible, this is the quickest, least expensive, and most painless option. An experienced attorney can help keep the conversation productive and on track.
However, where the parents can’t come to an agreement, the decision will be left up to the court who will use their best judgment in establishing a custody/support arrangement. An attorney can present your case to give you the best chance of arriving at the arrangement you know is best for your family.
When deciding child custody matters, under North Carolina law N.C.G.S.A. § 50-13.2(a), the court “will best promote the interest and welfare of the child.” While the law isn’t specific as to the factors considered in making this determination, it does state that domestic violence will be weighed against the child’s safety. Other considerations may include:
Each parent's ability to care for the child
The current living arrangement of the child
The child's relationship with each parent
The ability of each parent to create a stable home for the child
The courts in North Carolina also do not presume favor to either the mother or the father, nor to natural or adoptive parents. The determination is made based strictly on the best interests of the child.
Further, a parent may be granted sole custody of their child or the parents will be given joint custody. Visitation for the non-custodial parent will also be established by the court. Regardless of the custody arrangement, each parent will have equal access to the records of the minor child addressing the health, education, and welfare of the child unless the court orders otherwise.
Child support is a payment that meets the reasonable needs of the child’s health, education, and general maintenance. In North Carolina, both parents must provide child support. However, if only one parent has custody, the custodial parent doesn’t technically make “payments” for child support as it’s assumed that their support is made in the form of paying for the child's day-to-day necessities such as groceries and clothing. As a result, the non-custodial parent is the one that is typically making the support payments.
The amount of child support will be determined based on the custody of each parent as well as the parents’ gross income including their wages, bonuses, commissions, pension, severance pay, and other investments. If a parent isn’t working or is working beneath their means, then the court may impute their income meaning they assign an income they feel that parent is capable of making.
The child’s needs will also be considered in establishing child support such as their medical expenses, education, and childcare needs.
Unfortunately, even the best-laid plans can often go awry. According to a recent study by the U.S. Census Bureau, 69.3% of custodial parents only received the partial amount of child support from the non-custodial parent, and only 43.5% received the correct amount in full. Where support payments are not being met, a parent may petition the court of enforcement.
Additionally, changes in circumstances may necessitate the need to make modifications to an existing child custody or child support order. Under North Carolina law (N.C. Gen. Stat. § 50-13.7.), a parent’s income must have changed by 15% or more for the court to see a need for modification. Other reasons a modification may be necessary is the loss of a job, a new child, or a change in the needs of the child.
At the Law Offices of C. Melody Davalos, PLLC we are skilled negotiators and knowledgeable litigators. Our firm has over 15 years of experience representing the rights of individuals and families. We are committed to providing your child with an environment that helps them flourish and grow. Contact us today for a free consultation. We represent clients in Raleigh, Wake County, Johnston County, Franklin County, and Durham County, North Carolina.