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Charlotte Family Law Blog

Unemployment increases risk of being divorced

Many factors cause couples in North Carolina to split, and financial problems contribute to marital strain. A study conducted by a Harvard University sociology professor and published in 2016 identified the unemployment of a husband as an issue that could cause the wife to file for divorce. Statistically, over the course of any year, a man without a full-time job has a 3.3 percent chance of getting divorced. Men with full-time work get divorced at a rate of 2.5 percent.

The study found that the employment status of husbands factored into divorce rates in recent years more than in the mid-70s. The professor tracked data for over 6,300 marriages over the course of 46 years. Increased job opportunities for women and a reduction in social stigma contributed to the increase in divorces in the 1970s, but the persistent social expectation that a man be the breadwinner of a family adds to the divorce rate now.

Divorce mediation in North Carolina

Many courts throughout America encourage or even require mediation for many types of cases, including divorce. In North Carolina, divorcing spouses must try mediation before they may litigate their disputes.

While the law requires mediation of equitable division issues, the couple may choose to include other topics, such as visitation, custody and spousal support. In many cases, mediating at least part of the case can deliver benefits such as reduction in stress and costs.

Divorcing over politics

While many North Carolina couples decide to get a divorce due to incompatibility or finances, data shows that some are doing so over disagreements regarding politics. According to the study, approximately 10 percent of divorcing couples listed their reason for divorce as political disagreements.

Additionally, the study also found that 22 percent of Americans personally know a couple whose relationship has taken a hit due to the 2016 election of Donald Trump. Twenty-four percent of those who were in a relationship reported that they have had more disagreements about politics than ever before. An attorney based out of New York agreed with the study, stating that political disagreements were leading to relationship woes like never before. The attorney said that she was frequently working out postnuptial and separation agreements between couples who were in disagreements over political views.

Pre- and postnuptial agreements as protection from debt

North Carolina residents who are concerned about their current or future spouse's debt might want to consider creating a pre- or postnuptial agreement to protect them from those obligation. A pre- or postnup can specify that the debt a spouse incurs after the marriage belongs solely to that spouse. It can even include provisions that allow the other spouse to periodically takes steps such as examining the debtor spouse's credit report. This may be helpful if one spouse has an issue such as a gambling addiction.

Pre- and postnuptial agreements are not immune to legal challenges, but there are steps that can be taken that make a successful challenge less likely. Postnuptial agreements may face particular scrutiny with the reasoning that a person who is already married may have been more susceptible to coercion. For these agreements, both parties should have their own attorney, and there should be no suggestion that one was pressured into signing it. Both should fully understand the ramifications of the agreement. Both types of agreements can also specify how assets will be divided if there is a divorce.

When can virtual contact with a parent be blocked?

North Carolina parents who are embroiled in child custody disputes sometimes wonder if they are allowed to block their children's other parents from communicating with them via email, text message or social media. Technological advances have helped noncustodial parents have many new ways to keep connected with their children. Some courts have started issuing virtual visitation orders which allow noncustodial parents to have virtual contact with their children when they are with the custodial parents.

When disputes exist about excessive emails, texts or Skypes, courts may establish schedules for the contact. Parents generally should not block their exes' abilities to connect with their children using these mediums unless they are harassing or abusing the custodial parents or the children.

Working vs. staying home: A new mom’s dilemma

As you approach the birth of your baby, you may be having second thoughts about continuing your career once your maternity leave ends. Many women struggle with the decision, and when it comes down to it, you have to decide what is right for your family.

Although you and your husband are making the decision together, you may be the one who feels the impact the most, and the changes in your life could be permanent. Before you quit your job, consider these factors.

Responsibility for support of the child of an under-18 parent

Parents of children under the age of 18 in North Carolina might wonder who is financially responsible for the child of their minor child. If both the child's mother and father are under the age of 18 and they are not emancipated, the primary responsibility for child support is shared among the child's grandparents.

This responsibility continues among all living grandparents until both minors reach the age of 18. However, if one parent is 18 or older and the other parent is a minor, the parent who is older than 18 is primarily responsible. The parents of the minor remain responsible for the minor's share.

Preparing for a child custody hearing

North Carolina parents who are going through a divorce may also need to make a decision about child custody and visitation. If parents cannot agree, then the decision will have to be made by a judge. A judge decides who will be the better parent and what is in the child's best interests even if one parent does not agree with that criteria.

Once it is clear that the case will go to litigation, there are a few things a parent can do to prepare. In addition to researching custody laws and hiring an attorney, the parent may want to gather documentation to present at the custody hearing that will support their side. A parent should dress in a way that is appropriate for a court setting and should observe court etiquette because this will influence how the judge views the parent.

Custody concerns for parents who travel frequently

Custody is always a concern for parents who are going through a divorce, but it may be an even bigger issue if you or your spouse travels frequently. Whether you do so for your job or other circumstances, it may have an impact on custody arrangements.

There are a few things you should be aware of when it comes to negotiating custody and maintaining the ability to travel frequently, too.

Retroactive child support is sometimes possible

Some parents in North Carolina may wonder if they can ask for back child support for their children when the other parents have not contributed financially to their care. It is possible to request that courts order back child support, but the parents will need to be prepared to provide proof to the court about why it should be ordered.

Some parents want to recover retroactive child support when they file their original petitions for support. This may also be ordered. In order to request retroactive child support, parents should supply proof that the other parents have not helped to financially support their children. They should also prove that they have made attempts to collect support from their children's other parents. Finally, if the non-supporting parent is a child's father, the mother should provide proof of his paternity.