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In this article, you will learn about:

  • How mothers are generally treated in the court system regarding child custody.
  • What impacts the factors of child support.
  • The role of fathers in making legal decisions regarding their children.
  • How child support is calculated in North Carolina.

Are Women Or Mothers Generally Favored In Custody Agreements?

By law, women or mothers are not generally favored in custody agreements. In fact, there is a dispositive statute in Montana that specifically addresses this matter. “Maternal favoritism” under the law is a thing of the past. That being said, this doesn’t mean that mothers aren’t favored when it comes to custody agreements. It is important to realize that there may be judges on the bench that still have an implicit bias regarding the favoritism of women in the parenting role. This is often the case due to the judge’s holding of traditional beliefs and allowing these beliefs to influence their legal discretion.

Just because there’s not a law that favors maternalism for custody in North Carolina, that doesn’t mean you won’t get in front of a judge who leans toward favoring mothers.  Everyone has an implicit bias to a degree, so keeping this in mind when approaching a custody agreement is advisable. Three of the most impactful factors in custody decisions are: 1. Drug or alcohol abuse by either parent; 2. The availability of each parent to take care of the child; and 3. The age of the child. Remember, the court’s focus is on the best interest of the child, not the parent.

When Is Child Support Awarded During The Divorce Process Or If Parents Are Not Raising The Child Together In North Carolina?

Custody and divorce are separate legal matters in North Carolina and Montana to the following extent. Any parent can file for custody and a child support order if they are separated, divorced, or never married. In North Carolina most parents will be required to attend mediation prior to going to court over custody unless a proper waiver is granted by the court. Required mediation in Montana may be established by local court rule or by individual court order. In both states the exceptions or waivers depend on certain past behaviors of the parties.

To take an action against another parent in North Carolina, the parent who takes the action must have lived in the state for at least six months. Additionally, there is an interstate compact regarding where the jurisdiction lies depending on where the child has lived for the last six months. States generally agree that if the child has been living in a certain state for six months or longer, the court will defer to that jurisdiction. There are emergency provisions in place to determine jurisdiction if there is ever a question about it.

For instance, say a child lived in North Carolina for seven years then moved to Oregon to live with his dad. If they have been in Oregon for six months or longer and their mother has not yet filed anything, when she files in North Carolina, the other spouse will hire an attorney in Oregon. From there, the judge in Oregon and the judge in North Carolina will confer about the case, but the jurisdiction will ultimately be in Oregon because the child has been there for six months or longer.  In this situation, the court case will eventually be moved to Oregon, unless there’s some exception.

It is worth noting that you will not receive child support until you ask for it. This can be done between the parties by stipulation, or in accordance with the North Carolina child support guidelines. If there is a dispute, this is settled in court, which takes place right away.  If there is a difficult parent that refuses to pay child support, the recourse would be to file immediately during the separation period in order to gain financial support via legal means as quickly as possible.

Are Fathers Who Have Shared Legal Custody Of Their Child In North Carolina Entitled To Participate In All Legal Decisions Regarding Their Child?

If the father shares legal custody, they are entitled to participate in all legal decisions regarding their child. If a parenting plan/custody order has been drafted, which is highly recommended, this matter is stipulated by the parties or set forth by the court. In the parenting plan/custody order, both parties will make decisions regarding things such as their child’s education, major medical circumstances, and religious environment. Both parents are entitled to make these decisions, and if they can’t agree, the best course of action is to include a mediation stipulation in the parenting plan/custody order. This gives both parties the opportunity to solve their dispute out of court, which avoids expensive legal fees and further complicated circumstances.

How Is The Amount Of Child Support Determined In North Carolina?

There is a state formula that is determined by the number of days that each parent has overnight visits, along with each parents’ gross income. In addition, each parents’ financial contributions towards the child are considered. When determining their child support responsibilities, contributions such as providing medical insurance and daycare are taken into account. This allows the court to obtain a well-rounded perspective on the family’s financial circumstances, and what each parent should be financially contributing in light of these various factors. With this in mind, both parties are expected to contribute to child support, and this is the most unbiased approach that the law is able to use when determining each parent’s role in this process. This is not to say that this formula is perfect, but generally speaking, it is the best possible way for the state to calculate child support amongst both parents.

For more information on Family Law in North Carolina, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling Dugger Law Firm at (828) 884-5400 today.

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