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Monroe NC Family Law Blog

What does 'sole custody' mean?

If a North Carolina family law court awards you sole custody of your child, it generally means that you have exclusive legal custody and physical custody of your child. It's not that common for a judge to award one parent sole custody during divorce proceedings, but it may happen if the other parent is seen as unfit to fulfill the role of mother or father. Drug addiction, child abuse and having committed violent crimes could be potential reasons for a parent to be stripped of his or her parental rights.

If one parent receives both sole physical and sole legal custody, then the other parent will be known as the non-custodial parent and he or she will not have any custody rights. That said, the non-custodial parent may have the right to visit the child. These visits might be supervised if the non-custodial parent has a history of child abuse or domestic violence.

How a single North Carolina mother of 6 makes ends meet

Single parents do not have it easy. They have to spend the majority of their free time taking care of their children, and the other parent may or may not be present to help ease that burden. One single mother in Burlington, North Carolina, has a challenge that exceeds what most human beings might be able to endure. She has six children, and her ex-husband only has limited visitation rights.

How does she do it? How does she pay the bills and find the time to take care of her kids on top of that? This resilient mother happens to be a harpist. While many musicians struggle to make financial ends meet, she is one of the rare few who -- through a mix of hustle and talent -- has managed to make enough money off her harp playing for choirs, local orchestras and events in order to finance her family's needs. In addition, though, she also gets a great deal of help from her parents, who she and her children live with.

Are you involved in a pet custody battle?

Now that your marriage is coming to an end, you're probably looking to your best friends for extra support. If one of those best friends happens to be your dog, and your spouse has as strong of a connection the animal, you could be facing a pet custody battle in divorce court.

A lot of states have created special family laws that treat animals as more than just "property," but North Carolina law has yet to implement these much-needed updates. A such, your pets fall under the category of property -- similar to livestock.

Your spouse's debt is your debt

Money issues and financial concerns are the roots of many divorces. Perhaps, you're a spendthrift penny saver who would never think to hold a balance on your credit card. Meanwhile, your spouse is carrying thousands of dollars of debt due to reckless spending.

Many spouses who don't see eye to eye on financial issues end up in divorce court. When one spouse is a reckless spender, though, the other spouse may be surprised to find that he or she will be splitting much of the debt accrued by the financially irresponsible spouse.

National statistics pertaining to child support

If you're paying or receiving child support, it may be interesting to know what the current national statistics say about this topic. Indeed, considering that everyone pays a different amount in child support, and both custodial mothers and custodial fathers may be eligible to receive it, you might want to know how your particular case measures up.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 13.4 million parents are currently raising 22.1 million children in homes where the other parent did not live with them. Only about 17.5 percent of these parents were fathers raising their children on their own. The rest were mothers. Meanwhile, approximately 26.6 percent of children live with single parents.

Alimony payments, record keeping and taxes

If you're paying alimony each month to your ex-spouse, you should know that those payments are tax deductible. However, just like every tax deduction with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), you need to keep appropriate records to benefit when it's time to file your taxes at the end of the year.

One of the most important reasons why you will want to keep accurate records of each alimony payment you make is because spouses sometimes -- either on purpose or by accident -- report different amounts on their IRS tax statements. In other words, you might state on your tax filing that you paid $500 every month in alimony, but your ex-spouse might say that she received $300 every month in alimony. The IRS could flag this error and look into it, and you'll want to have accurate records if this happens.

Do you want to move to another state with your child?

You may not want to live in North Carolina for your entire life, but if you share children with an ex-spouse, you could be legally bound to remain in a specific area of the county. This does not mean that you can't get permission to move away with your children. It just means that you'll have a few legal hurdles to jump through before you can relocate out of state.

Family law courts generally want to see the parents of a child living close enough together that the child can easily spend time with, visit and have access to both parents. Courts consider this kind of access to be in the "best interest" of the children. As such, if a parent wishes to move away, he or she will need to show why it is in the best interest of the child to do so.

Protecting a business from divorce part 2: priority negotiations

If you are a business owner facing a divorce, you almost certainly are concerned about your business weathering the storm of your personal life. This can get pretty tricky, especially if you did not protect yourself and your spouse with a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement before the relationship began to falter.

Essentially, you're looking at a good news/bad news proposition at this point. The good news is that it is possible for your business to make it through your divorce intact. The bad news is, in the absence of prior protections, your options are much less pleasant.

Protecting a business from divorce part 1: prenuptial agreements

If you are a business owner, it is not only wise to protect your business from a divorce -- it is an absolute necessity. Depending on where you are in the trajectories of the business and your marriage, you may choose from a number of different methods to protect yourself, your business and even your spouse.

Many family businesses throughout the Carolinas and the rest of the South have fallen apart in the wake of a particularly difficult divorce, and yours should not be one of them!

The benefits of legal separation agreements

Divorce is the final separation of all marital ties, but sometimes couples want to separate while maintaining some of the benefits of marriage. Alternatively, a couple may want to come to agreement on certain areas prior to the finalization of their divorce. If you're in either of these situations, a legal separation agreement could be more appropriate than divorce.

What is legal separation and how does it work?

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