Experienced Child Custody Lawyers Fayetteville, NC
Rand and Gregory PA provides compassionate legal advice and counsel with regard to child custody matters, understanding that child custody is often one of the most difficult issues to resolve.
Child Custody Laws – Legal & Physical Custody
Child custody laws are distinguished between legal and physical custody of a child. Legal custody refers to the responsibility to make major life decisions for a child, and physical custody refers to where a child will primarily reside. When determining the type of custody arrangement that is in a child’s best interests, courts look at many factors, such as:
- Which parent has been the child’s primary caretaker
- The quality of each parent’s home environment
- The parenting skills of each parent, their strengths and weaknesses, and their ability to provide for the child’s special needs, if any
- The mental and physical health of the parents, including whether either parent drinks or uses drugs
- Whether there has been domestic violence in the family
- The work schedules and child care plans of each parent
- The child’s relationships with brothers, sisters, and members of the rest of the family
- If the child is old enough, which parent the child wants to live with
- Each parent’s ability to cooperate with the other parent and to encourage a relationship with the other parent, when it is safe to do so
An experienced child custody lawyer can help divorcing parents achieve fair and beneficial child custody arrangements, often through processes of mediation or collaborative law, which avoid the stress and uncertainty of trial. Should litigation become necessary to protect our clients’ rights, however, we will go to court and zealously advocate on behalf of our clients’ interests.
Child Custody Law – Sole & Joint Custody
Both legal and physical custody may be sole or joint. In joint legal custody, the parents make major decisions about the child together, such as decisions regarding education, health, and religion, while the smaller, day-to-day decisions are made by the parent who is physically caring for the child at the time. In sole legal custody, only one parent has the right to make major decisions about the child.
Child Custody – Visitation (Parenting Time)
If one parent is awarded sole physical custody, the other parent is almost always given access to the child, with courts aiming to provide “frequent and meaningful” parenting time with the child. Under North Carolina child custody laws, visitation may be unsupervised, supervised, or therapeutically supervised. This means that even an abusive parent can get supervised daytime visitation with his or her child.
Any child custody lawyer from Rand and Gregory PA can also help clients modify a custody or visitation order if there is a significant change of circumstances that affects the child’s best interests.
Expertise in Child Support Law
Rand and Gregory PA helps clients determine child support payments at the time of divorce, and also helps clients modify or enforce child support arrangements after a divorce has been finalized. With decades of divorce and family law experience, we are able to explain how child support in North Carolina is calculated, and effectively assert the rights of custodial and non-custodial parents.
Child Custody Attorneys Explain Child Support
When a parent does not live with his or her child, he or she is required to pay child support to the custodial parent or to the person who is taking care of the child. Child support includes:
- Cash payments based on the parent’s income and the needs of the child; and
- Health insurance or medical support for the child; and
- Payments for child care; and
- Payments for reasonable health care costs that are not covered by health insurance or regular medical support; and
- Typically, payments for educational expenses and extra-curricular expenses.
Our attorneys will explain the child support guidelines, and how the process of paying and receiving child support works in North Carolina.
Experienced Alimony & Spousal Support Attorneys
Our attorneys assist clients in all matters related to divorce, including pre-divorce spousal maintenance and post-divorce spousal support determinations.
Alimony in North Carolina – Spousal Maintenance
Spousal maintenance, previously called alimony, is the legal term for money one spouse or former spouse may be required to pay the other spouse after divorce. While spousal maintenance may be set for life, it is generally awarded for a specific period of time. To determine the amount and duration of a maintenance award, courts consider these factors:
- The income and property of each spouse, including each spouse’s share of the marital property as divided by the court
- The length of the marriage
- The age and health of the parties
- The present and future earning capacity of both spouses
- A spouse’s need to incur training or education expenses
- The existence and duration of a joint household before marriage or separate households before divorce
- Acts by one spouse against the other that inhibit the other’s earning capacity or ability to get a job
- The ability of the party seeking maintenance to become self-supporting, and the time and training it will require
- Whether the spouse seeking maintenance has reduced or lost lifetime earning capacity as a result of having forgone or delayed education, training, employment, or career opportunities during the marriage
- Where the children live
- Whether a spouse’s earning capacity is inhibited by ongoing care of children, stepchildren, adult children with disabilities, or elderly parents or in-laws
- Whether one spouse will have trouble finding work due to age or absence from the workforce
- Exceptional, additional expenses for the children
- The tax consequences to each party
- The equitable distribution of marital property
- The contributions and services of the party seeking maintenance as a spouse, parent, wage earner, homemaker, and to the career or career potential of the other party
- The wasteful dissipation of marital property by either spouse
- Any transfer or encumbrance made in contemplation of a matrimonial action without fair consideration
- The loss, availability, and cost of health insurance
- Any other factor that the court expressly finds just and proper
Spousal Support in North Carolina – Temporary Spousal Maintenance
If spouses are in the midst of divorce, a spouse who earns less than his or her spouse may be eligible for temporary spousal maintenance, or spousal support, while the divorce case continues. The courts consider many factors in determining temporary spousal maintenance, with many of the factors the same as or similar to those determining spousal maintenance after a divorce.