Children’s Issues

Child Custody

When parents are not together any longer, the time each parent spends with the child is either agreed upon, or the court will enter a child custody order.  Custody agreements can be included in a contract, such as a separation agreement. If a child custody case is filed in court, parents are required to participate in child custody mediation, which is a free service offered by the North Carolina courts. A trained neutral mediator assists parents in attempting to reach their own agreement about what they think is in the best interest of their children. If they can reach an agreement, the courts will enter the signed agreement as an order of the court. If not, the judge will rule on custody after a trial. Parents then place this very important decision in the hands of a judge. When parents and children live in different states, the case usually takes place where the child has lived for a certain time period.

Read more about child custody.

Child Support

Each state has Child Support Guidelines, which use worksheets to determine the amount of child support that must be paid. The worksheet calculation uses gross incomes, other child support obligations of parents, the number of children, work-related childcare, health insurance and sometimes special circumstances called extraordinary expenses. There are several types of worksheets, which reflect the child custody arrangement. Guideline worksheet A applies when children live primarily live with one parent, meaning that parent has at least 243 overnights with a child per year.  If the other parent spends at least 123 overnights with the child or children, worksheet B must be used. Families with split custody, when one parent has custody of one child and the other parent has custody of another child, use worksheet C to determine the amount of support. Although child support is assumed to include contribution to day-to-day expenses, the law also assigns responsibility to each parent for uninsured medical expenses, meaning those that the insurance does not pay.

See North Carolina Child Support Services.

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