Some divorced or unmarried fathers might face obstacles when it comes to child support and custody. One father who was unable to keep up with child support payments lost his job, went to jail and had to declare bankruptcy. Another was faced with a protection order that said he tried to prevent his wife and children from driving away and had mood swings. A third, who had a child from a short relationship, only got a few days per month with his child. Some North Carolina fathers may face similar difficulties.
Fathers who cannot pay child support should still make an effort to pay as much as they are able. This may prevent a court from imposing the most severe punishments, such as jail time. Hiring an attorney and going to court to request a modification may be an option if the inability to pay is based on a change in circumstances such as losing a job although this modification will not affect past debt.
A protection order can prevent a father from getting access to his children. A court that approves a protection order believes this is in the best interests of the children, and it will be necessary to prove otherwise to get this changed. Fathers who are unmarried may need to prove paternity, and a court may decide on visitation.
In some cases, parents might be able to come to an agreement about child custody, visitation and support without going to court. This should include plans for holidays and vacations. They may still want to submit their agreement to court and make it legally binding. This means that if one parent violates the agreement, the other parent can get legal help. Parents may also want to put together a parenting agreement that addresses rules they would like to make consistent between their households.