The only important thing to understand about this matter is the essence of public records. All court proceedings are public. All papers filed create a public record. Everything you put into those documents you file can be accessed. Even for people who think they found a way around it, like the France’s. So think long and hard about HOW you want to divorce or separate. There are more private ways to do things. Be sure to find an attorney versed in all manners of handling the legal part of separation. Mediation, Arbitration, Collaborative Divorce are all alternatives to litigation that can preserve your privacy.
Unfortunately, whenever couples who have children choose to divorce, they may have a hard time reaching a decision regarding the custody of those children. That said, if divorcing parents are unable to reach a child custody agreement on their own, the court will step in to ensure that the best interests of the children are properly considered.
Under North Carolina law, prior to making a final order of custody, the court will consider factors that address who can best meet a child/ren’s needs emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Some things to address are:
- Availability and work schedules;
- History of caretaking;
- Support systems;
- Any special medical needs;
- Addiction or mental health problems of a parent;
- Age of the child/ren
- Prior acts of domestic violence between the parents;
- The overall safety of the children;
- Strength of the relationship.
The law also requires custody orders to include specific facts that support the court’s determination regarding the best interest of the children. Almost anything is relevant, but the Court will determine what is most relevant to a given situation.
The state of North Carolina follows State guidelines with regard to the determination of child support. In general, the court determines child support payments by applying those guidelines to the incomes of each parent. In special circumstances the court can deviate from the guidelines and will hear evidence regarding the reasonable needs of the children and the ability of each parent to make support payments. Once the court hears the evidence, it will make a determination as to whether or not the guidelines would meet or exceed the reasonable needs of the children based on the parents’ ability to pay. If the court finds it necessary to deviate from the guidelines, it will clearly state its reasons for doing so.
Child support payments are paid monthly. If requested, the payments due can be withheld from the parent’s wages.
Any parents who are going through a divorce and are unable to reach important decisions about child custody and support issues on their own are encouraged to speak with an attorney about their case. An attorney may be able to help resolve some issues without the need for court involvement.