If you are facing a separation or a divorce and you and your spouse have children who are minors, your greatest concern is most likely issues related to custody and support. Fortunately, the majority of these issues are resolved outside of a courtroom, saving you money and stress-free. Our Raleigh child custody lawyers will put our experience and knowledge to work for you to make the process simple and stress-free while still helping you meet your goals for your case.
Resolving Child Custody and Child Support
While most people think of long, drawn-out courtroom litigation to resolve child custody and child support payments, often, we can achieve a satisfactory agreement outside of a courtroom. Through mediation and negotiation, both parties can be satisfied with a binding agreement for custody, avoiding an expensive, often contentious battle
In some cases, court is necessary, but often, it can be beneficial to both the parents and the children. Our child custody lawyers will work to ensure a straightforward court case that protects your family from a vicious fight or exorbitant fees.
In addition to custody, we understand that child support needs to be a part of the divorce settlement. Whether you are going to be the primary custodial parent or not, child support should be resolved in way that complies with North Carolina law, protects the rights of both parties, and ensures the children are appropriately provided for.
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Steps to a More Successful Child Custody Negotiation
While our team of Raleigh child custody lawyers do everything we can to help you meet your goals, you play an important role in this process, too. For an improved outcome that is beneficial to both you and your children, we’re sharing some steps to guide you through the process.
1. Consult with your Raleigh Divorce Attorney. Explain the circumstances of your separation to your attorney and address your concerns about child custody and support. Discuss your goals and what would work best for you and your children, including school, activities, and holidays. Also, bringing tax information and pay stubs will make it easier to consider expectations about support and custody.
It’s important to note that while North Carolina has child support guidelines, you can agree to any amount. The courts will accept your agreement assuming it is properly formalized and the amount is sufficient to properly care for minor children.
2. Choosing custodial agreements or consent orders. There are two main options to formalizing custody agreements: custodial agreement or consent order.
Custodial agreements are contracts between the two parents that lay out the agreed upon terms. However, these aren’t legally binding and can be changed or ignored in the event of a custody lawsuit. These tend to be suited for amicable, collaborative divorce where both parties are on the same page.
Consent orders is a court-ordered ruling on custody and support and can’t be changed without a proof of a substantial change in circumstances since the entry of the order. Additionally, consent orders carry the penalty of contempt of court for violations, which are much more serious than any consequences for violating contractual custody provisions.
3. Consider whether the other party is likely to agree to your proposal. If you know the other party will never agree to your custody goals, is untrustworthy, or has issues affecting their parenting ability (such as drug abuse or mental health issues), it would be beneficial to skip the time and resources needed for a negotiation and move straight to filing a custody suit. Our child custody attorneys will work with you to determine the best course of action.
4. If you are going to negotiate, send the complete proposal to the other party. Before sending a proposal, it should be complete and ready to sign. This eliminates confusion, misunderstandings, or even hostility that can come from trying to negotiate a partial contract. A letter from your custody lawyer that includes the deadline should accompany the proposal.
5. If you are filing a child custody lawsuit, prepare and gather information. Work closely with your attorney in the planning, preparation, and initiation of any custody action. You should be working on gathering school records, health records, witness statements, photographs, and any other relevant information.
6. Formalize all agreements. Whether you’re the payor or recipient of child support, the support agreement needs to be formalized. This protects you from back payments and legal problems as the payor, and if you are the recipient, a formal, legal agreement ensures consistent support and ramifications if it’s not paid.
7. Focus on your kids. During this process, it is essential to focus on your kids and not get too wrapped up in the legal process or the stress associated with it.
Consider some family or children’s counseling to help them discuss and deal with the changes in their lives or issues that are affecting them. Spend extra time with them.
Let your attorney handle the legal work. Naturally, work closely with your divorce lawyer, but do not let it consume your life.
Schedule a Consultation with Our Raleigh Child Custody Lawyers
Every child custody and child support claim is different and requires specific advice from an experienced child custody attorney. Children are always the most important issue in every divorce. Protecting their future and your rights are our #1 priority.
To schedule a consultation regarding child custody or support, please call us at (919) 301-8843 or fill out the form below.
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