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North Carolina Child Custody & Support
Who will get custody of our children?
You and your spouse can decide which of you will have custody of your children. If you are unable to resolve this question, then a court will resolve the issue of custody for you. Judges consider a variety of factors in determining which parent is entitled to custody including the age of the child, the time each parent has available to spend with the child, the stability of the parents, efforts by either parent to undermine the other parent, abductions, moves out of state, facilitation of visitation and involvement of the other parent, child abuse and neglect, drug and alcohol problems, religion, non-marital sexual relationships and the preferences of the children. In almost all cases, the parent not being awarded custody will be awarded a period of visitation with the child. Typically, the natural parents of the child are awarded custody; however, the law provides for custody by grandparents and other third parties when circumstances warrant such an arrangement.
If both parents share custody does anyone pay child support?
Yes, in North Carolina both parents are responsible for paying child support and there will always be a payment except in the unusual circumstance of both parents having exactly the same income and spending exactly the same amount of time with the children.
If I have custody will I receive child support payments?
The court will order that child support be paid to the custodial parent by the non-custodial parent. In North Carolina child support payments are based on guidelines. These guidelines are adhered to by the court in the typical case; however, the court may deviate from the guidelines. The non-custodial parent is ordered by the court to pay a percentage of that parent's gross monthly income.
What can I do if my spouse refuses to pay child support?
The Child Support Enforcement Agency is a government agency which works with custodial parents to obtain child support. Private attorneys also assist custodial parents in the collection of child support. A number of remedies are available for the enforcement of child support including seizure of real estate and personal property, orders that bonds be posted, assignment of wages, garnishment, arrest, and interception of income tax refunds. The Child Support Enforcement Agency does not require payment of its fees in advance and it is the most cost efficient mechanism for the collection of child support by those who are unable to pay the fees required by private attorneys.
Can my spouse avoid paying child support if he files bankruptcy?
No, child support obligations are not dischargeable in bankruptcy court.
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When a case is contested, the best interests of the child determine child custody. Between the mother and father, whether natural or adoptive, no presumption applies as to who will better promote the interest and welfare of the child. The court considers acts of domestic violence between the parties, the safety of the child, and the safety of either party from domestic violence by the other party.
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"A Plain English Guide to Protecting Your Children"
Author: Mary L. Boland, Attorney at Law
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