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Winston-Salem North Carolina Family Law Blog

Refusing the shame behind divorce and moving forward in healing

Is it shameful to admit when things didn’t work out the way you imagined? It may be easy for someone on the outside to judge your divorce from an external position. Even you yourself can fall into a pit of shame and emotional suffering when you feel you let yourself down. However, marriages are never a guarantee, they are a leap of faith, hope and love. We leap towards something, and in the end, it can result in you and your ex-spouse going your separate ways and that’s okay.

There is enough turmoil surrounding a separation and divorce to become suffocated with the shame of it. You can grieve the death of a relationship, and it is healthy to do so. But remember to let go of the shame that wants to latch onto you and harass you away from social circles and into a den of depression.

It’s time to start thinking about a summer visitation schedule

The rapid approach of summer signals a shift in visitation schedules. For kids summer means a transition to outdoor fun and games instead of the stifling routines of the school year. But for parents the warmer months represent a visitation scheduling challenge. Planning scheduled summer visitation and trips in advance alleviates the stress of the unknown.

Review the custody agreement

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.

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