...About Child Custody and Child Support

What is the legal process for obtaining custody?

Taylor’s Answer: We know that your child is the most import thing in your life. Under North Carolina law, the “polar star” of custody cases are the best interests of the minor child. We will focus on that aspect, plus any other aspect of the child’s life including the health, education, social interaction, religion and any other aspect that is important to you as a parent. We will work together on a custody schedule for you and the other parent if that other parent is fit to have time with your child. In some cases, we are able to work out an entire custody schedule without the involvement of the court.  However, in other cases, we seek the assistance of the court to order a custodial schedule. Before the court will hear your custody case, you will have to attend mediation with the other parent absent circumstances of domestic violence. Finally you will receive a court order outlining the custodial schedule of your child. Thank you for considering the Woodruff Family Law Group in your search for a custody attorney. 
– Taylor Clay is an attorney with Woodruff Family Law Group

How will Child Support affect my taxes?

Carolyn’s Answer: Divorce taxation issues can be confusing.  We’re here today to discuss child support and whether or not it’s deductible. So, child support—can you deduct it? No!  It is never a deductible item, and it is never included in income (that’s the good part). However, the issue with regard to child support is usually dependency exemptions. Who gets the dependency exemptions?  Well, under the internal revenue code and the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines, the person with the most overnights usually gets the dependency exemptions. Now, the court can reassign it, but that’s the usual situation. So what if you’re paying child support and you want the dependency exemptions and the other parent is willing to let you have them or you’ve negotiated for them somehow? Then you MUST have—and I say must and underline it—form 8332 signed by the parent with the most overnights. You must attach this to your income tax return, otherwise, the internal revenue service is not going to recognize the dependency exemptions. And you might want to consider if you’re particularly high income and you want the dependency exemptions, make sure they’re going to do you some good, because there are phase outs at high income numbers for dependency exemptions.  In other words, you lose them. For this, or any other family law matter, please contact us here at Woodruff Family Law Group. 
– Carolyn Woodruff is a Family Law Specialist, North Carolina CPA, and Certified Business Valuator

How much child support will I pay/am I entitled to?

Jessica’s Answer: I would like to share with you some basic child support laws in North Carolina. There are two basic kinds of child support cases in North Carolina. The first are guideline child support cases, and the second are non-guideline child support cases. Guideline child support is appropriate when the parents have a combined annual income of $300,000 or less. In those cases the guidelines will publish a chart indicating the amount of monthly child support to be paid. The number of overnights that you have with your child is key. If you have more than 123 overnights with your child per year, then your expenses incurred while the child is in your care are taken into consideration. Other expenses such as health insurance, work-related daycare expenses, and extraordinary expenses are also considered. In your initial consultation with Woodruff Family Law Group, we will sit down with you and can go through the amount of child support that you may expect to either pay or receive as a rough estimate depending upon your situation.  Thank you for taking the time to review this child support information with us.  More information on child support or any other family law issue can be found on our website. 
--Jessica Bullock is an attorney & Family Law Specialist with Woodruff Family Law Group

Can Grandparents obtain custody or visitation rights?

Carolyn’s Answer: We all know that grandparents and grandchildren have very special relationships, and we want to make sure that yours is protected. There are two times that you may need court assistance with regard to your grandchildren: one would be if a parent becomes unfit.  If both of the parents cannot care for the child, your grandchild, for whatever reason—it could be mental illness, it could be alcoholism, drug addiction or any other reasons then you have the right to seek custody through the court for your grandchildren. We can help you with that.  And there’s another time that you may need help on Grandparent visitation rights.  What if they won’t let you see your grandchildren? If your children, the natural parents, are going through a divorce, and they won’t let you see your grandchildren, you have the right to ask the court for a visitation schedule for yourself. And, you have to have a substantial relationship with your grandchildren; that’s the primary thing you’ll need to show.  And we’ll show that with your family photo albums and other similar information.  For this or any other family law matter, please contact us here at Woodruff Family Law Group. 
– Carolyn Woodruff is a Family Law Specialist, North Carolina CPA, and Certified Business Valuator

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What is “The Seven Nights of Santa?”

Carolyn’s Answer: Seven Nights of Santa is a beautifully illustrated children’s book designed to deal with the problems that children in divided households have to deal with at Christmas. My husband, Dwight Ensley, and I are the coauthors of the book, and it’s inspired by Captain Green Eyes, who’s a real, stuffed, black kitty-cat that was given to him on the day he was born. Captain Green Eyes, along with the Cupcake buddies make a trip to the North Pole to see Santa Claus. And at that trip the purpose is to resolve that well, mom doesn’t live in the same household and dad doesn’t live in the same household, why can’t we have Santa come to both houses on different nights. And Santa thinks this will make the reindeer too tired, so Captain Green Eyes and the Cupcake Buddies say well we’ll haul the sleigh with the biplane, and the reindeer can ride in the sleigh.  And with that, children can have Captain Green Eyes and Santa come on seven different nights so mom doesn’t have to be left out if dad has Christmas Eve and dad doesn’t have to be left out if mom has Christmas Eve. And also the grandparents can have a night too.  Come with us on the journey of Captain Green Eyes and the Seven Nights of Santa
– Carolyn Woodruff is a Family Law Specialist, North Carolina CPA, and Certified Business Valuator