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Statesville North Carolina Legal Blog

Why parents might request a child custody modification

There are a number of reasons that separated or divorced parents in North Carolina might need to request a child custody modification. Since courts attempt to make decisions that are in the best interests of the child, if a modification is determined to fulfill that criteria, the custody schedule may be changed.

If a parent believes the child is in danger, there may also be a child custody modification. The court will consider whether there has been domestic violence, whether the child is in immediate danger and whether the child is unwilling to stay in the home. A parent's move to another location might necessitate a change in custody. A court will take the parent's reason for moving into account as well as how it will change the custody schedule and the degree to which it will disrupt the child's life. The court will also consider whether the parents already have a plan in place for modifying the schedule.

Planning for divorce after age 50

Spouses over age 50 who are considering divorce should understand that separation could impact their ability to retire. However, there are steps that a North Carolina resident can take to minimize the potential damage. The first step is to obtain financial paperwork such as copies of tax returns and bank statements. These documents will help to determine who is liable for a debt or who is entitled to an asset.

Someone who is ending their marriage is also encouraged to do a credit check on themselves and their spouse. This may uncover hidden debts or assets that a spouse may have.

"Gray divorce" continues to rise

In North Carolina and across the country, a growing number of Americans are filing for divorce later in life. When people think of a couple deciding to legally separate, they may imagine young people with or without children. However, even as the divorce rate has held steady or declined for most demographics across the country, that rate has increased significantly for older Americans. Since 1990, the divorce rate for people 50 and over has doubled while that same rate has tripled for people 65 and older.

There are a number of factors that could contribute to the growth in later-in-life divorce, dubbed the "gray divorce revolution." In the first place, divorce is much more socially acceptable than it was in the past. In addition, many people have seen divorce operate within their own families. For example, the daughters of divorced parents are 60 percent more likely to end their own marriages while the sons of parents who split are 35 percent more likely to do so themselves.

Research suggests certain wedding dates may not be so lucky

For couples planning to tie the knot in North Carolina, there are many important decisions to make, one of which is the actual date of the wedding. Some individuals insist on picking a wedding day they believe is "lucky" for one reason or another. However, researchers in Australia say that some popular wedding dates might not be so lucky after all.

After looking at situations involving a million married couples, researchers concluded that one of the most popular dates for weddings, Feb. 14, is actually the worst day to get married. Eleven percent of the couples studied who got married on Valentine's Day ended up getting a divorce within five years. After almost a decade, 21 percent had untied the knot.

Alimony tax changes could affect retirement as well

For people in North Carolina who will finalize their divorces in 2019, the impact of the new spousal support tax rules could have more far-reaching effects than they realize. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, passed in December 2017, put in place a significant change in how taxes will be handled in relation to alimony payments for all people who finalize their divorces after 2018 comes to an end. The changes have pushed many people to move to finalize their marital splits before the end of the year in order to retain their eligibility for the existing system.

Under the changed procedures, the payer of alimony will no longer be able to deduct the payments from his or her taxes. In the past, this deduction provided a significant impetus to encourage more generous spousal support payments while providing a tax benefit, especially for wealthy couples going through a high-asset divorce. In addition, the recipient of alimony will no longer need to pay taxes on the funds.

Telling the kids their parents are getting a divorce

For married couples with children, deciding to divorce can be a difficult and life-changing decision. You know what is best for yourself, your spouse and your children, but that doesn’t make the decision or telling the kids about the impending change any easier.

The last thing a parent wants is to cause their child any pain, so it’s important to prepare yourself as best as possible before breaking the news. Each family dynamic is unique, but there are a few basics each parent can utilize in planning how to tell the kids about a divorce.

Highway Patrol trooper's DWI charge dismissed

A North Carolina State Highway Patrol trooper was accused of driving while impaired after he was arrested on July 21. Two law enforcement officers took the man into custody after they found him in the driver's seat in his vehicle on a street in Wilmington. However, a spokesperson for the Wilmington Police Department said on July 27 that the trooper is no longer facing charges.

The arrest occurred at about 3:30 a.m. on Princess Street in downtown Wilmington. The arresting officers, one with the Wilmington Police Department and the other a Sheriff's deputy, said that the dashboard lights in the man's vehicle were on when they detained him. However, the police who investigated the case determined that the vehicle that the man occupied was not in motion nor was its motor running at the time that the officers made the arrest. Accordingly, the charge against the 53-year-old man was dismissed. Police did not file any additional charges against the trooper.

Sharing parental responsibilities after divorce

One of the challenges parents in North Carolina may have to face after divorce is that of co-parenting. However, even if the divorce was acrimonious, it is important for ex-spouses to respect one another in their parental roles.

A structured parenting schedule may help with this. Parents may also reduce conflict by choosing neutral locations to do pickups and drop-offs, such as at the child's school. Parents who feel overwhelmed by negative emotions might want to seek therapy to deal with them. If people are struggling with communication issues and experiencing conflict, they might want to seek the assistance of a parent coordinator. Over time, individuals may find that their negative feelings dissipate, and it is easier to value the other parent's contributions.

Steps to creating a workable parenting schedule

Divorcing parents in North Carolina will need to create a parenting schedule for custody and visitation. It is important that parents make this schedule child-focused because it shows children that their parents are working together toward their best interests.

When creating the schedule, parents should think about what would work best for their children. They need to think about practical factors, such as how far apart they live and what transportation and the child's schedule are like. If the children have a regular child care provider, parents may want to try to keep that person to maintain a sense of consistency. Older children might want to help with the creation of the schedule. Parents should keep in mind that allowing their input does not mean they have to implement all of their suggestions. Finally, parents of children with special needs may need to take additional issues into account.

Can I get an old charge or conviction erased?

Under North Carolina law, all criminal charges could remain on a person’s record indefinitely, including pending charges, convictions, Prayer for Judgment Continued (PJC) and even dismissed charges. However, while a criminal charge cannot be removed automatically, it may be erased if it’s eligible for expungement.

Facing A Criminal Charge
Or Divorce In Iredell County?

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