Protecting Your Parental Rights And Your Relationship With Your Child
For many parents facing divorce, their main concern is how the end of their marriage will affect their children. Ideally, divorcing parents will be able to work together to minimize the impact of divorce on their children and begin a cooperative effort to parent as best as they can separately.
At The Stiltner Law Firm, PLLC, we bring a positive approach to resolving child custody and parenting plan matters. Attorney Gary W. Stiltner understands the concern that divorcing parents have regarding their children. Whether you expect to be the custodial parent or you wish to secure valuable time with your child through the creation of a parenting plan, we will work to protect your interests and your relationship with your child.
Understanding How Custody Decisions Are Determined
Courts will designate physical and legal custody. Physical custody refers to where the child spends his or her days and nights. Legal custody refers to the right of a parent to participate in decisions regarding the child’s education, religious upbringing and medical decisions. In both areas, custody can be shared or one parent can be awarded sole custody. North Carolina courts prefer to keep both parents involved in a child’s life whenever possible.
If an agreement between both parents cannot be reached amicably, a judge will make decisions based on the best interests of the child. Factors included in that decision are:
- The child’s relationship with each parent
- The health and well-being of each child
- The child’s developmental needs
- Each parent’s home and surrounding environment
- The wishes of the child depending upon their age and maturity
- Whether the child has siblings and where they will be staying
It is important to know that you and your child’s other parent have the ability to control what your parenting situation looks like following divorce. If parents are able to work together during their divorce to develop a parenting plan that meets the best interests of their child, they can retain control over how it is structured. Disputes occur when one parent requests more from a custodial plan than the other parent wishes to give.
Determining Child Support In North Carolina
In most cases, a noncustodial parent will be ordered to pay child support to the custodial parent. North Carolina law stipulates that child support be paid until the child reaches age 18 (or 20 if he or she has not graduated high school). The court determines the amount of child support to be paid monthly by using the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines. Factors that affect child support include each parent’s income, daycare expenses and which parent covers the child’s medical insurance.
It is important to note that determining the amount of support often involves more than simply plugging numbers into a formula. Families may have extenuating circumstances that require exceptions to the child support guidelines. Whether you expect to receive child support or pay it, we will protect your interests and those of your child. Where you land on a child support order can significantly impact your overall financial foundation in post-divorce life. Working with a knowledgeable family law attorney who understands the guidelines and when it makes sense to deviate from them is crucial.
We Assist With All Aspects Of Child Custody And Support
We are here to help you help your child. We can answer your questions about custody and support, and provide a realistic idea of what you can achieve regarding these matters. Call 828-600-7383 or use our online contact form to schedule a consultation. We work with parents in Catawba County and surrounding counties.