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Winston-Salem North Carolina Family Law Blog

Animal rights: When laws change in one state, others follow

As soon as the clock struck midnight on the first, new laws went into action. In Illinois, one such law now addresses what happens to pets during divorces. They're now being treated more like children than property, which means that people can ask for joint or partial custody in certain cases. While people with service animals will likely retain their rights to the pet after a divorce, those with companion animals have more options now than in the past.

While you're not living in Illinois, this change is something that you might be able to use to your advantage. Using other states' laws isn't necessarily going to work outright, but it may help you negotiate for the custody of a favored pet.

3 tips for explaining shared custody to children

Getting a divorce isn't easy for anyone, but it's particularly difficult for children. They may not understand what having custody means or may be confused as to who will take care of them and when. To help your children, it's a good idea to talk to them about custody and what it means for their futures as soon as possible.

How can you explain custody to your children? Here are three tips to help.

Do grandparents have visitation rights in North Carolina?

North Carolina is one of a few states that protects the rights of grandparents to visit their grandchildren in specific instances. The state does not have laws or provisions that specifically address grandparents, but they are included in custody and visitation laws. One such mention of grandparents' rights states that the courts have the right to order visitation between a child and grandparent at its discretion.

There is one problem with this law. Presently, grandparents need to seek an order during the grandchild's current custody case. The grandparent can't seek custody or visitation independently in most situations. As a result, grandparents who want continued contact need to take initiative during the custody case, even if they're not likely to lose the right to visitation.That way, there's no risk of having no contact with your grandchild in the future purely due to your child or child's ex-husband or wife deciding not to allow you to do so.

Who decides a child's religion after divorce?

When you go through a divorce, one of the things that may come up is a difference in religions. For example, if you have joined a church during your marriage while your spouse decided to join a mosque, you may have differences in how you approach religion and spirituality.

For adults, that's not a problem. The trouble is when two religions could have an impact on a child. Perhaps one parent doesn't want the child to learn about the other religion or the other would like the child to avoid any religious education at all. In either case, both parents need to come to an agreement.

Temporary orders smooth the transition from marriage to divorce

Your marriage hasn't been good for a while, but you and your spouse tried to make it work. You went to therapy, saw marriage counselors and even tried adjusting your schedules to spend more time together doing the things you love. In the end, it seems like you've just grown apart.

When you decide it's time to get a divorce, you need to immediately make some decisions about your life from now on. Things like your child's custody schedule or the possession of your home have to be addressed quickly, since these decisions affect you immediately. The way the courts do this is by appointing temporary orders.

Does everyone have a right to alimony upon divorce?

When you get a divorce, one of the things you might question is whether or not you have a right to alimony. You've been supportive of your spouse, paid for your fair share of items in the home and have worked, but you're still nowhere near as financially stable as your spouse. Thanks to helping him through school, supporting the purchase of your home and investing, you'll be worse off than he is when you get a divorce. What can you do?

Alimony might be a good solution in your case. While many people assume alimony payments are made monthly, it's also possible to get a one-time settlement from your spouse. For instance, if you paid $20,000 for him to complete his education, you might be able to seek that as an alimony payout.

Get child support by establishing paternity

Not only does a father have a moral obligation to help pay for the care of his children, but a father also has a legal obligation. Problems, nevertheless, can arise when trying to collect child support if the father claims that he is not the father.

In order to secure an order to receive child support in these cases, a mother may need to take legal action to establish paternity.

Retroactive child support: Determining the cost

You set up child support with your partner while you were still married. You expected him to pay on time each month, and the obligation seemed fair. You determined support based on an agreement you had between yourselves and put it in your separation agreement. It is sometimes possible to seek retroactive child support if your ex-spouse or partner has not paid what he or she owes. Retroactive child support may also be called prior maintenance by the courts. In your case, the separation agreement could trump your ability to seek retroactive support.

The court determines how much a past commitment was for the purposes of a retroactive payment by looking at how much support would have been required if the current guidelines had been applied at the beginning of the child support time period and by looking at what the fair share of the parent's expenditures are for his or her child's care.

Can false accusations of child abuse hurt my custody case?

If you've been falsely accused of child abuse, you may be insulted and are likely frantic to prove the other person wrong. What matters right now is doing everything in your power to protect yourself and your interests. Whether you're in a heated child custody dispute or are working as a teacher, these allegations could change your life, even if they're disproven.

As soon as you know you're being accused of abuse, you need to immediately stop being around children without other adults present. Taking proactive measures to prevent others from assuming that you could be doing wrong will help your reputation. Do your best to avoid talking about the allegations, since rumors still have a potential to damage your reputation long after the allegations have been disproven.

3 tips to get through the adoption waiting period

Adopting a child can be one of the most rewarding decisions you ever make. By opening your home to a child who needs one, you are not only getting a new member of the family, but you could very well be saving a life as well. However, adoption does come with high levels of stress and anxiety, usually due to the lengthy process of filing the appropriate paperwork and sitting through interviews with Child Protective Services. Sometimes, potential adoptive parents can wait years before they finally meet the child that was meant for them.

At times, it might seem like the process is never going to end. Fortunately, there are some things you can do prepare for the adoption and help distract yourselves during the wait. For some tips for getting through the adoption process, read further.

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