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North Carolina Family Law Blog

Divorce: What should I do when domestic violence is an issue?

Divorces are usually stressful situations in Raleigh that both parties want to finalize quickly. When domestic violence is a factor, one spouse usually has more reasons to rush through the process. Besides feeling trapped, afraid and frustrated about your circumstances, you may feel as if divorce is the only way for you to get the freedom you need. 

Leaving your spouse is one of the biggest decisions you can make to break free of the abusive grip your partner may have on you. Keep in mind that it is not the only thing you can do to protect yourself and your kids from them. Here some other steps you should take to ensure your safety as you close the door on this chapter of your life. 

A divorce and child custody guide: breaking down a break up

At the time of a marital breakup, you will likely be concerned for the continued welfare of your children. Depending on the individual circumstances of the parent, you may utilize one of several types of custody arrangements. Parents can choose an informal or formal method of reaching a custody and support agreement. Staying present for the children emotionally can be important, too.

Luckily, this terrain is well-traveled, and experts have documented some of the basics of child custody and divorce. From the types of arrangements to reaching an agreement with your spouse and determining child support, when you become more informed about all the aspects of the divorce process and the potential options available to you, you will be better prepared to face any negotiations.

Tips for the holidays and visitation

The holidays can be a trying time for divorced or separated families in North Carolina. Trying to coordinate everyone's schedules while also being aware of extended family commitments and traditions can leave families feeling very worn out. It can also lead to misunderstandings, hurt feelings, upset children, and arguments. To avoid such hassles, parents in this situation should work together to find a good holiday plan. The following is some additional advice to help make this easier. recommends parents should never treat the holidays as a competition. Trying to outdo each other with gifts and amazing activities can create an uncomfortable situation for the children. The better thing is to work together to try to create a sense of normalcy and following old routines as much as possible. 

How to get through the holidays as a blended family

With the holiday season upon North Carolina, many blended families will be trying to figure out how to handle them for the first time. This can be a difficult task because instead of having one family, there are now multiple families. This means parents have to coordinate not only with their children's other parent but also with new family members, including new spouses and their families. As complicated as it can be, many families deal with it and make it work every year.

Perhaps these families can make the holiday season work because they have followed some advice from Operation:Parent. One great tip is for the new family to begin creating their own traditions. This can ease children into the new routines and help make the changes easier to handle. In addition, parents need to all work together. Everyone should be involved in creating a schedule of who will be where and when. 

What are some custody concerns for same sex couples?

With the legalization of same-sex marriage in the United States, there have been some new legal difficulties for same-sex couples. In North Carolina and other states, these couples have learned when it comes time to dissolve their marriage, custody issues are not always easily resolved. While there are sure to be the typically arguments over who the children will live with and what the visitation schedule will look like, there are even more pressing issues you may face.

The Spruce notes state custody laws have not been changed to reflect the unique situations of a same-sex couple. For example, it is typical for biological parents to get preference over non-biological parents when it comes to physical custody. However, if your partner was the one to give birth to your child, that could leave you out in the cold. While you both took on parent roles and were considered the parents of the child, the court may be obligated to offer preference to your partner because she is the biological mother. However, if you legally adopted the child, then this is a moot point because then you would both have legal rights to the child. The issue arises, though, if you both have not established legal rights. For example, if your partner adopted a child and you never did, then that child would be only your partner's legally speaking. 

Divorce tips for keeping your kids' holidays merry and bright

So you're recently divorced. Or in the midst of a divorce. Or even just considering a divorce. Regardless of the chronological details surrounding the end of your marriage, one thing you likely have in common with other single parents this time of year? Stress over navigating the upcoming holiday season with your children.

Especially if this is your first Thanksgiving as a divorced parent, you may be feeling overwhelmed and uncertain of how best to proceed. The good news is that, with a few adjustments and a small amount of effort on your part, you can work toward making new, happy holiday memories to make your family's festivities just as good as -- if not better than -- ever!

What are the grounds for divorce?

If you want to divorce your spouse in North Carolina, it is essential that you understand the available grounds for a divorce. While you may hope that you can reveal damaging information about your spouse, such as cheating allegations, through filing that is not likely to happen because the state only allows two grounds for divorce.

According to the North Carolina Bar Association, you may divorce your spouse on the basis of incurable insanity with a three year separation or you may divorce on the grounds you have been separated for one year. There are no other options and fault is not assigned. This means you cannot divorce because your spouse cheated on you or because he or she has a substance abuse problem unless you have been separated. 

What can you when your child's other parent has a drug problem?

With the opioid epidemic hitting mass proportions in North Carolina and across the country and the face of addiction changing to include people from all walks of life, it is not surprising that you may run into a situation where you become concerned your child's other parent may have a substance addiction problem. Of course, she may be addicted to anything, from alcohol to heroin. However, addicts often exhibit behavior that could put your child in danger regardless of what substance they are addicted to, so this is a valid concern.

Your concerns may be that she is using the substance around your children. This can be incredibly dangerous. There are news stories all the time about children who have died because they were exposed to illegal substances accidentally. You may also worry that when she is using a substance, she may be unable to care for your children properly or expose them to other dangerous situations.

How can we balance visitation and extracurricular activities?

One of the things you may struggle with when it comes to North Carolina visitation arrangements with your former spouse is working around the kids' extracurricular activities. Some children are involved in so many things, it can make it tough to ensure parenting time is not infringed upon. However, you also do not want to make children feel bad about being involved in sports and other activities. So, how can you work around this issue?

Divorce Magazine notes that many divorced parents struggle with balancing visitation and their children's busy schedules. Knowing it is a common issue can help to at least ease tensions a bit. Sports, theater, dance and a range of other activities are great for kids, so you do not want to stop them from being involved. The best thing parents can do is be supportive. Trying to stop a child from being in an activity could only lead to problems and resentment. It is far better to support them and do your best as parents to figure out a solution.

Can you go to jail for not vaccinating your child?

In North Carolina, you have the right to refuse vaccinations for your child for non-medical reasons. However, if you are a divorced parent, you may face additional scrutiny for your decision from the child's other parent. It is possible you could face serious punishment for not vaccinating your child if the other parent takes you to court.

The Washington Post reported on a recent parental rights case where a mother refused to vaccinate her child despite having been ordered by the court to do so. The court ruled in the favor of your former husband, saying his parental rights were being violating by her refusal. The case was not looked at by the court as a case about vaccinations. It was considered a case about parental rights.