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Category Archives: Divorce

North Carolina Child Support Guidelines

Child Support guidelines vary between states, if you are divorced, separated or looking to become separated knowing your states child support guidelines is extremely important. All of us here at the law firm of GreeneWilson are well versed in the ins and outs of North Carolina child support guidelines, and are ready to help you and your family though the process.

Child support is determined based on the gross monthly income of both parents combined, the portion of the health insurance premium that covers the child, any work related child care costs as well as any extra costs such as medical specialists or therapy for the child. The calculation can become complicated, a good resource to start at is www.nccourts.org, where guidelines as well as child support worksheets are available to start the process. If circumstances change, child support can also be updated. The court also designated that paperwork for child support can be resubmitted and changed 3 years after the initial filing and if there is a substantial change to anything that was part of the initial filing.

We understand that this can be a long and stressful process for you and your family, and are prepared to answer questions and help make the process as smooth and pain-free as possible. Call our office at (252) 634-9400 or stop by our website www.greenewilson.com to schedule an appointment or learn more about our firm.

To learn how North Carolina law may apply to your unique circumstances or to schedule a consultation, please contact GreeneWilson Attorneys at Law by calling (252) 634-9400 or visiting www.greenewilson.com.

 

(source: NC Bar Association)

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Ruined Relationships: Don’t Transfer Your Anger for Your Spouse to Your Child


If you’re divorced, you most likely understand how stressful the process can be. The process not only affects you and your ex, but every member of your family. Children often get the worst of it due to custody battles and a general feeling of instability. In a perfect world, divorcing or divorced parents would make every effort to ensure a child’s needs are at the heart of every decision: Who he will spend the majority of his time with, who will get to take her to soccer practice three times a week, or where will he spend his first Christmas or birthday post-divorce?

Unfortunately, many divorced parents let their own hurt, damaged feelings get in the way of a child’s relationship with the other parent. Children trying to comprehend why their parents are no longer together are more likely to cling to whatever they’re told. They’re eager for any information they can get that will help them feel they understand what’s happening in this new, and often scary, situation. This can create an environment where a vindictive parent can corrupt the way a child perceives his or her ex.

What is Parental Alienation?

Parental alienation (PA) describes conduct in which one parent purposefully (and for no apparent reason) distances a child from the other parent by putting down or otherwise vilifying the other parent. The goal is to “brainwash” the child into hate or even “acting out” the other parent. Over time, this behavior can destroy the relationship between parent and child.

A child who strongly attaches to one parent and rejects the other can result in the false belief one parent is bad or dangerous—the simplest definition of PA. It most frequently becomes an issue in high-conflict domestic violence and child custody cases, usually as an argument over access to the child.

Signs to Look For

An alienated child may show intense anger, use adult language, or speak in a way that sounds “scripted.” Dr. Douglas Darnell, PsyCare, Inc. CEO and Clinical Director of the Liberty Clinic, identifies a few of the many signs of parental alienation, including:

  • Giving the child a choice about visitation schedules when, in fact, they have no choice.
  • Telling the child “everything” about the marital relationship or reasons for the divorce.
  • Not allowing the other parent access to school or medical records and schedules of extracurricular activities.
  • One parent blaming the other for financial problems, breaking up the family, changes in lifestyle, or having a girlfriend or boyfriend.
  • Refusing to be flexible with the visitation schedule to respond to the child’s needs or scheduling the child in so many activities the other parent is never given time to visit.
  • Asking the child to choose one parent over the other.
  • The alienating parent encouraging any natural anger the child has toward the other parent.
  • A parent or step-parent suggesting changing the child’s name or having the step-parent adopt the child.
  • Using a child to gather information for the parent’s own use.
  • Arranging temptations that interfere with the other parent’s visitation.
  • Reacting with hurt or sadness to a child having a good time with the other parent.
  • Asking the child about the other parent’s personal life.
  • Making demands on the other parent that oppose court orders.
  • Listening in on phone conversation with the other parent (generally illegal in our state).

These behaviors, whether conscious or not says Dr. Darnell, may cause a child to be manipulated into believing one parent is the enemy.

PA in North Carolina Courts

North Carolina law does not specifically address the issue of PA, but trial courts regularly hear matters of parental alienation in family law cases. The evidence can have a major influence on how the judge decides custody, how much visitation is granted and other determinations such as whether or not the judge orders ongoing family therapy.

If you suspect parental alienation, talk to one of our experienced attorneys for guidance concerning the best way to handle the issue. Remember, even the other parent is acting poorly, don’t talk to your child about any pending litigation and don’t allow your child to see any court documents.

To learn how North Carolina law may apply to your unique circumstances or to schedule a consultation, please contact GreeneWilson Attorneys at Law by calling (252) 634-9400 or visiting www.greenewilson.com.

(Sources: The Parental Alienation Syndrome; Beyond Divorce Casualties: Reunifying the Alienated Family; Divorce Magazine; U.S. News & World Report; Parental Alienation Awareness Organization; Parental Alienation Education; and National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse.)

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No (Ex)cuses: Getting the Child Support You Deserve

Raising a child is hard work. It’s even harder when you’re divorced, working 40+ hours a week, and struggling to make ends meet. But wait, don’t you receive child support from your ex? You should, but your ex has decided to ignore making payments.

If you find yourself in a constant fight to collect child support ordered by the court, you’re one of millions. The U.S. Census Bureau reported in 2013 that approximately 26% of child support payments are never made and 28% are only partially paid.

So, what now? If your ex is failing to make payments, you have a few options in North Carolina.

Option #1

Child Support Enforcement (CSE), a national program established by Congress in 1975, ensures that both parents are responsible for the support of their children to the best of their ability. The program, now known in our state as Child Support Services (CSS), provides services to the custodians of minor children, no matter the income level.

When a court order has already been established, CSS can manage the collection and distribution of all ordered child support payments. To enforce court orders, CSS agents can initiate legal action against the non-custodial parent (NCP), withhold support payments from the NCP’s wages, and intercept the NCP’s tax refunds.

Other actions used by CSS include:

  • Monthly billing to NCPs not under income withholding;
  • Filing court action against NCPs who have not paid support as ordered;
  • Credit bureau reporting of all child support obligations handled by CSS;
  • Interception of state and federal tax refunds; or
  • Liens on real or personal property the NCP owns.

If you aren’t receiving child support payments as ordered by a Craven County court, call the county’s CSS office at (252) 514-4807. You can also apply online to begin your child support enforcement case and receive a caseworker. But, please be aware that unless you qualify for a fee waiver, a $25 annual fee must be collected to use the program.

Option #2

Choosing CSS to handle the issue might work for many, but you should keep in mind that CSS is a government agency. It, like similar agencies found at every level of government, is often overwhelmed with cases and strapped for time. CSS could take weeks or months to help you get results, but what if you can’t wait that long?

Here’s where consulting with an experienced attorney should be considered. An attorney will focus solely on your case and will fight on your behalf in court. He or she can help you execute several options to recover child support payments, including:

Filing a motion for judgment: This motion asks the court to enter a judgment against the non-paying parent for the total amount of child support owed. Once you’ve obtained a judgment, this opens several different methods for collection.

Requesting a wage garnishment order: This court order will instruct the non-paying parent’s employer to deduct a specified amount from every paycheck they earn and send that money to you, either directly or through CSS.

Requesting a writ of execution: This order allows local law enforcement to seize the non-paying parent’s assets, sell them, and then transfer money raised from the sale to you as payment against the balance of the child support you’re owed.

Filing a motion for contempt: This motion will ask the court to find the non-paying parent violated a court order and is in contempt of court, which can lead to jail time for the offending parent. The threat of imprisonment may persuade the other parent to take their obligation seriously and pay what they owe.

Attempting to collect payments from a spouse can be a hassle even with a court order in place. Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone who knows the ins and outs of the court system on your side?

For more information on spousal support or to schedule a consultation, please contact GreeneWilson Attorneys at Law by calling (252) 634-9400 or visiting www.greenewilson.com.

(Sources: North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services; U.S. Census Bureau; Divorce Magazine; Money Crashers; and The Spruce.)

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