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North Carolina Family Law Blog

Paternity testing and DNA fraud

Potential fathers in North Carolina are usually required to take a paternity test to determine if they are the father of the child. These tests are done using DNA samples from the child, father and mother. Samples are then tested, compared and analyzed to determine if the man could be the father. As with any type of laboratory test, there is the potential for fraud or mistakes.

According to Identigene, paternity fraud is when someone alters or switches one of the DNA samples in an attempt to falsify the test results. This could happen if incorrect samples are submitted on purpose. If an error is made through mislabeling or through some other accidental action, though, it is not fraud.

Don't be doomed by debt division

When differences between two spouses cannot be reconciled, divorce is inevitable. Unfortunately, this can be emotionally challenging no matter how long or short of a time a couple has been married. It can also be financially difficult.

In addition to dealing with the division of property, you and your spouse during a divorce proceeding must be prepared to deal with debt division. In North Carolina, the court will determine the fairest way of dividing your debt.

What is an action for support of a minor child?

If you are like most North Carolina parents, you realize that you and your spouse are responsible for the support of your children and welcome this responsibility. In some divorce situations, however, one parent may not be as willing as he or she should be to provide support. In such situations, Section 50.13.4 of the North Carolina Statutes sets forth the requirements for an action for support of a minor child.

You can bring such an action if you have custody of a minor child in need of support. It does not matter whether you are a parent of the child, another person, or the representative of an agency or institution that has custody of him or her. Be aware that if either or both parents of the minor child are themselves a minor, their parents; i.e., the grandparents of the minor child in need of support, share in the primary responsibility for the support of the child until their own child reaches the age of 18 or otherwise becomes emancipated.

What is supervised visitation?

In North Carolina, it is possible for a judge to order supervised visitation in a custody case. While this ruling is not used often, it is used when absolutely necessary to protect the children involved. Visitation is important for families, so being ordered to undergo supervised visitation can be a blow.

Courts encourage both parents to be involved in a child's life. They want healthy relationships with good communication. However, sometimes this is not possible. Supervised visitation may be implemented in cases where there has been domestic violence. It may also occur if a parent is a danger to the child or lives in a dangerous area.

Achieving the best child custody agreement

Divorcing couples in North Carolina have a great deal of power and control in determining the best custody arrangement for their children. In fact, North Carolina has an official policy, as stated in Section 50 of the General Statutes, of encouraging parents to share in the rights and responsibilities of raising their children after a divorce.

Ideally, divorcing parents will have the best interests of their children as their primary goal in negotiating matters of physical custody, liberal visitation for the non custodial parent, and all other aspects of continuing to raise their children together despite the divorce. They should bear in mind that, all things being equal, both parents have the right to child custody. There is no presumption favoring mothers.

What are the non-custodial parent's rights to school information?

If you have school-aged children, you likely want to stay involved in your children's education even if you are not the custodial parent. The school is not responsible for managing your custody issues, but it must follow the custody order from the court and any applicable laws.According to the National Center for Education Statistics, if you are the non-custodial parent, you have specific rights when it comes to the school unless specified otherwise in custody orders.

You are granted the right to have access to your children's school records under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. This act, though, does not grant you the right to get other information, such as notices about special events, school calendars or lunch menus. These things are usually sent to the custodial parent's home. In addition, you do not have the right to be informed of parent conferences.

Methods of establishing paternity in North Carolina

As an unwed North Carolina parent, there are numerous reasons you may want to establish legal paternity. Maybe you are a mother and are hoping to collect child support from the man you know fathered your child, or perhaps you believe you fathered a child and want rights to that child, but the child’s mother disputes your parentage. At the Marshall Taylor Law Firm, we have a firm understanding on the methods used in North Carolina to establish paternity, and we have assisted many mothers and fathers across the state in their attempts to do so.

Your reasoning for establishing paternity notwithstanding, the North Carolina Office of Indigent Defense Services outlines the methods you may use to do so. First, if a name appears on a child’s birth certificate, then the state assumes that the named person is the child’s father.  A second way for you to establish paternity is through signing an affidavit of parentage. To take this route, both mother and father must sign the legal document before submitting it to the vital records office within the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

Understanding your visitation schedule

When you and your spouse divorce, one of your most important tasks is establishing a visitation schedule which will work for your whole family. At Marshall and Taylor, P.C., we understand that many mothers in North Carolina have questions about putting together this schedule.

As you develop your visitation plan, it is important to consider your custody arrangement. According to, this arrangement forms the basis of your schedule. If you and your ex-husband have joint custody, you may want to divide your children’s time evenly between the two of you. If you have sole custody, though, it might be best to create a plan which gives your children plenty of time with their father without upending their daily schedule too much.

How can I increase the chances of being awarded custody?

If you are concerned about being awarded custody of your child in a North Carolina divorce, there are some things you can do to help improve your odds. The court generally will place the children based on what is in their best interests. There are many different factors considered when this decision is made, but the Huffington Post notes there are some standard things that can help set you apart from the other parent and increase your odds of being given custody.

No parent will be awarded custody if it is proven they are unfit. This includes having issues with drugs and alcohol or being prone to violent actions. If you have been threatening your spouse during the divorce, this will look bad when it comes to custody. If you have ever been convicted of a violent crime, this, too, will affect what the court rules. It is important not to make your situation more difficult by fighting with your spouse or having an outburst in court. You must maintain a calm attitude and be sure you can provide proof that you have gotten help for any past issues that could affect your chances at custody.

Property division includes all marital assets

Some couples simply grow apart while others break apart. Whether your divorce was a long time brewing or came about because of some sudden realization, you are facing the enormous and stressful task of separating your marital assets. If you were fortunate enough in your marriage to have accumulated substantial wealth, the thought of dividing that wealth may cause concern.

As with any divorce, the division of assets will follow the law of your state. In North Carolina, as in most states, the court divides marital property equitably, meaning it will determine the fairest way for you and your spouse to separate your assets. You may have questions about which assets the court considers part of the marital estate and which ones fall under the definition of separate property. These issues can easily become contentious.