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North Carolina Family Law Blog

Understanding visitation rights

As you go through the divorce process in North Carolina, one of your primary concerns is likely your children. If you are not granted custody, it is natural to be concerned about how often you will see them. At Marshall and Taylor, PLLC, we understand your children are your top priority and are committed to helping you understand your visitation rights.

While you may like the idea of set rules determining when and where you can see your children, visitation rights are not always so clear cut. According to the North Carolina Bar Association, visitation can often be decided by you and your ex-spouse. If you both cannot agree, however, sometimes a court might get involved. The court usually determines a situation which will be best for your children after conversations with you and your ex-spouse.

3 tips for handling child custody exchanges

As a parent, you undoubtedly want the best for your children and hope to keep them as safe as possible. However, when you have contentious feelings toward the children's other parent, the situation may prove complicated. If you and the other parent have divorced, the children may split time spent with you and with your ex. As such arrangements commonly occur, you may still feel a sense of anxiety around the situation.

As part of your arrangement, you may have to meet with the other parent in order to conduct custody exchanges. For some individuals, these meetings can often prove tense and present the opportunity for the other parent to attempt to pick a fight or make some other type of scene.

What is a Guardian ad Litem?

When you are going through divorce in North Carolina, one of the biggest concerns will likely be who gets custody of your children. While you and your spouse may both want to have complete control over the physical and legal care of your child, a judge will be in charge of deciding who gets custody. If the situation is difficult to determine, The North Carolina Court System states that a Guardian ad Litem will often be consulted to assist in the case.


What problems can arise in visitation?

While many North Carolina residents believe that negotiations are over once the judge declares you legally divorced, the truth is that there are often unforeseen problems that can arise concerning your visitation schedule. Often, parents find themselves heading back to the court room to determine a solution to the problem. The North Carolina State Bar – Legal Assistance for Military Personnel has outlined the issues you may find once your visitation schedule is in place.


Why fathers may receive custody of the kids

As a parent raising children in North Carolina and in the U.S. in general, you may have noticed how family dynamics have changed significantly throughout the years. While women were once the primary caretakers and ran the household, men were often the breadwinners and maintained a career in order to make ends meet. Times have changed, however, and now a number of moms are primary earners and dads are more likely to stay at home and take care of the children. In fact, a study conducted by the Pew Research Center discovered that mothers are the primary earner in 40 percent of U.S households, including those that are headed by single moms.

When filing for divorce, the judge presiding over the case will look at these dynamics, including who spent more time with the children on a daily basis. When determining child custody in a divorce case, the judge may ask you who spends more time with the children. Who takes the kids to their doctors’ appointments, schedules playdates, volunteers at school and attends parent-teacher conferences? In most cases, it is in the best interest of the children to ensure they have time with both parents, as each parent plays a very important role in the child’s life. Yet, the judge often wants to maintain the same type of lifestyle that the children were used to. If that daily lifestyle involves the father as the primary caretaker, he may receive primary custody of the child and the mother may be ordered to pay child support.

An overview of parental visitation rights in North Carolina

The North Carolina court system puts a lot of value on the rights of children during a divorce. This includes their right to have both parents involved in their lives. When it comes to parental visitation rights, children do not have a direct say in what happens, according to the North Carolina Bar Association. Older children’s requests may be considered but are not used to make a determination.

A parent not awarded custody of his or her children has the legal right to visitation with the children. The court does not have to decide visitation schedules. The parents can come to an agreement. However, if the parents cannot agree, the court will step in. Decisions are generally made by the court based upon work schedules, children’s schedules, where the parents live in relation to each other and the children’s ages. Any schedule for visitation needs to include regular weekdays and weekends along with special days, like birthdays, and holidays. Summer schedules should also be determined.

Dads: Don't do these 4 things if you are seeking custody

If you are a father in North Carolina, whether you are divorced or were never married to the mother of your child, you are likely facing an uphill battle if you are fighting for custody or visitation. Besides the challenges of trying to figure out a parenting plan with someone you may no longer like or trust, you might also feel like the legal system is working against you.

All of this can make the process of advocating for yourself and your family seem impossible or too frustrating. You might be tempted to give up or lash out against an unfair situation. However, these are both things you don't want to do if you want to establish or protect your legal rights as a parent in North Carolina. Below are four more things you should avoid as well.

Doing what's best for the kids in a divorce

Not many divorces end easily. There are almost always going to be intense discussions, even during many mediated divorces. Money is one of the most contentious issues facing a divorcing couple, naturally. But emotions probably run highest during a divorce when a child's future is being decided.

4 reasons why it's crucial to confirm paternity

Family units are no longer thought of as only those involving a mom, dad, two kids and a dog. We see families of all kinds, and children are raised in homes with one parent, co-parents, married parents, unmarried but committed parents and adoptive parents.

This diversity in family structure is something to celebrate, to be sure. But there are some added legal considerations that must be made when two people who are not married start a family. In these situations, it can be critical that at least one of the parents requests a paternity test.

This roller coaster isn't at a theme park

If you have children and you're from Raleigh, you've probably been to Frankie's Fun Park a time or two. If not Frankie's, then perhaps you've enjoyed outings to some of the other popular theme parks throughout North Carolina. Spending recreational time together as a family is adventurous, and helps stitch memories that become the patchwork of your lives.

If you've recently gone through divorce, however, the roller coaster you've been riding may not run on a track made of steel. This roller coaster is an emotional one that may have caught you and your children off-guard. You may have expected there to be challenges as you forge your way to a new lifestyle post-marriage - but, if your children have not adapted quite as you'd hoped they would, you may be left feeling as though you're on a non-stop loop-to-loop ride at a major amusement park.