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Hickory North Carolina Legal Blog

Options to enforce child support orders

A divorce can be difficult when children are involved. This is particularly true when one former spouse fails to follow through on child support obligations. Here is a review of some of the options a parent in North Carolina may have when attempting to enforce a child support order.

In North Carolina, the standard child support guidelines are binding unless a party can demonstrate to a court that they should be modified in some way. While this provides some needed leeway for parents to arrange a child support program that works well for everyone, it also provides a basis for the enforceability of the child support order.

Handling courtroom stress during divorce

From custody disputes to child support orders and the division of marital property, you may have to work through many different legal matters if you and your spouse have decided to end your marriage. At Cody Law Firm, we know that it is pivotal to do what you can to reduce stress and achieve an outcome that protects your interests.

There are different ways you may be able to reduce stress. For example, you may find peace of mind by talking to a legal professional and having confidence in your decisions, knowing that you have figured out the best way forward. Also, you could be able to lower your stress levels by familiarizing yourself with the ins and outs of the case and having a good idea of what to expect in court. By reducing anxiety, you may be able to present yourself better and could increase your chances of a favorable outcome.

Malicious Mother Syndrome: Watch out for these signs

You know that divorce is a struggle. Sometimes, you and your ex simply can't get along. Other times, you can communicate and work together in the best interests of your children.

Sometimes, people stressed by divorce go too far. They may become malicious or eager to punish the other party. For mothers who act in this manner, there is a term used called Malicious Mother Syndrome. This syndrome describes a medical condition in which one parent intentionally becomes vengeful toward the other during a divorce.

Standardized field sobriety tests: Can you pass?

In any exam where you know you will either pass or fail, it can cause some anxiety. However, when you are pulled over by North Carolina law enforcement and instructed to perform some roadside tests, your driver’s license and more could be at stake. AAA provides this information about standardized field sobriety tests.

Field sobriety tests are standardized, which means that officers have to be trained in how to administer and interpret them. Before the officer administers the various stages of the test, he or she should ask you if you have any issues that may affect the outcomes. This is because many health problems could cause false positives.

Establishing priorities during divorce

Many people in North Carolina tend to rush to divorce their spouses without taking the time to establish priorities. Their eagerness can cause them to miss out on important aspects that can affect them long after the ink on their divorce decrees is dry. It is important for them to realize that they should treat their divorces like business arrangements. By keeping their emotions out of the way and taking the time to determine what their goals and priorities are, they can avoid making critical and expensive mistakes. 

Get up to speed on financial matters 

What’s the fair market value of your marital property?

One of the first things you will need to do after you and your spouse decide to get a divorce in North Carolina is a thorough inventory of all your assets and liabilities. While this naturally includes checking, savings and retirement accounts, it also includes your collections, antiques and artwork. According to the Journal of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, all of these objects must be correctly identified before their conditions can be assessed by a professional appraiser and a fair market value attached.

After you and your spouse have listed all of your personal property, but before you hire a valuation expert, you should provide your own estimate of what you think each item may be worth. The more items you and your spouse agree on, the less you may need to spend on the appraiser. Your inventory should include the following:

  • A picture of the property
  • Its type, title and subject matter
  • Measurements
  • Markings and inscriptions
  • Distinguishing features, dates and maker
  • A brief description

Combating license revocation with responsible driving

Owning and driving a vehicle provide significant freedom and convenience, but that privilege demands your attentiveness and responsibility. If you are one of the thousands of drivers in North Carolina, you can avoid the consequences of having your license revoked by simply driving safely. At Cody Law Firm, we understand how to resolve issues in traffic court.

According to the Huffington Post, five particularly dangerous and irresponsible behaviors can put you in peril of losing your license and driving privileges. These actions include the following:

  • Texting: Manipulating an electronic device of any kind while operating a vehicle is illegal in many states. Using your phone to text while driving takes your attention away from the road which can put your life and the lives of others at risk.
  • Fatigue: What may seem a minor issue, your choice to drive when you are exhausted can impair your ability to make responsible decisions behind the wheel.
  • Impairment: Driving while under the influence of drugs and alcohol is punishable by serious consequences including license revocation, fines and even prison time, especially if your actions result in the harm or death of other people.
  • Aggression: While you may take pride in your stunt-like moves behind the wheel, driving aggressively is irresponsible. Weaving in and out of traffic, acting belligerent with other drivers and trying to intimidate fellow motorists is simply setting the stage for disaster.

Understanding the effects of alcohol

Many North Carolinians have a drink or two at a party, or enjoy a beer with friends at a picnic. In fact, as the American Addiction Centers notes, alcohol is often considered a social lubricant that allows people to ignore inhibitions and do things they would not normally do.  Although it creates feelings of pleasure and makes them feel happier, this is only in the short term, as the effects it has on the brain are directly related to whether a person’s blood alcohol content is still increasing, or if it is on the decline.

Aside from BAC, other factors that affect how the brain functions include how much and how often someone drinks, as well as how many years he or she has been drinking. Health, age, genetic factors and sex also influence the way the brain responds to alcohol. The presence of medication in the system may also exacerbate the effects.

Making your children a priority during divorce

Divorce is rarely easy and can become increasingly complicated if you and your spouse have had children together. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect your children and make them your chief priority throughout proceedings in North Carolina. At Cody Law Firm, we have helped many people like you to achieve a balance and put the needs of their children first.

In a recent article published by the Huffington Post, there are several helpful suggestions that you and your spouse can follow to create a more amicable and relaxed environment for your children. These include the following:

  • Quit arguing: While you and your spouse may disagree vehemently on topics related to your relationship and divorce, it is critical that you save these disputes for times when your children are not around.
  • Encourage honesty: Your children will undoubtedly experience a variety of feelings and emotions about your divorce. Encourage honesty and take the time to listen to their thoughts. If necessary, involve a therapist to help your children work through their emotions in a way that is positive and productive.
  • Time it right: While there is never a perfect time to divorce, you can take precautions to try and time it appropriately to make it the least stressful for your children. For example, you may choose to do things over the summer months so you have the maximum amount of time to help your children cope.

Negotiating a fair and rewarding co-parenting plan

Like you, refiguring a routine and helping their children adjust to a new normal is the primary concern of many divorced parents in North Carolina. Putting the best interest of your children at the forefront can often lead to a more amicable outcome. At Cody Law Firm, we have experience in helping newly divorced parents negotiate co-parenting arrangements that are feasible, customized and beneficial to all parties.

Psychology Today suggests five critical components that you should include in any written agreement discussing the details of your parenting plan. These include the following:

  • Length of agreement: Clearly articulate how long you and your spouse plan to follow the arrangement outlined in your co-parenting plan. Amendments may also be helpful if you and your spouse wish to reassess or modify your plan to accommodate changing circumstances. You should always include a clause that summarizes how disagreements will be settled and clarify the type of mediation services that will be enlisted.
  • Time-sharing: This part of your agreement will discuss every detail related to a child’s residential living situation including which parent he or she will stay with and when, how overnight stays will be arranged and how time with each parent will be spent.
  • Acknowledgement of agreement: You and your spouse should work together to create a general statement that acknowledges both of your agreement to work together in parenting and raising your children. Both of you must recognize that respect and flexibility will be critical in supporting the other parent’s decision-making skills, parenting routine and authority.
  • Holiday arrangements: This portion will address parenting arrangements for holidays, special occasions and extended vacation breaks.
  • Responsibility sharing: Here, you and your spouse will agree to collaborate on making decisions related to general parenting responsibilities including your child’s health care needs, religious affiliation and education.

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