February 2015 - Triangle Divorce Lawyers

Monthly Archives: February 2015

Overview of parenting agreements

Once an agreement about child custody issues has been reached, parents generally finalize the agreement by creating a document called a parenting agreement. A parenting agreement is a detailed written plan about child custody issues that is personalized for each family’s unique circumstances. In general, a parenting agreement will include information about where children will live, with whom children will spend holidays and birthdays and how major decisions in the children’s lives will be made.

After a parenting agreement has been created, the document can be presented to a judge so that it can be converted into a legally binding court order. Before approving the agreement, a judge might ask each parent whether he or she has signed the agreement voluntarily. In a majority of cases, a judge will approve a parenting agreement as long as the agreement was fairly negotiated by both parties.

A parent who is having a difficult time communicating with their spouse about child custody issues in a divorce might want to have representation from an attorney. Whether a parent is able to negotiate an agreement outside of court or a court hearing becomes necessary, an attorney may be able to help represent the parent’s position on child custody matters. An attorney may also be able to help a parent to enforce a previously written parenting agreement that is not being honored by their ex-spouse.

Post-divorce retirement planning

Careful planning is essential to ensure that divorced individuals will have enough saved up for a comfortable retirement. Many financial experts recommend that people aim for a retirement income of approximately 70 percent of what they lived on during working years. One of the first steps to take toward this goal is to hire a professional who can advise on financial matters during divorce negotiations and afterward.

Newly divorced people need to review their budgets carefully to ensure that they are saving enough. They also need to evaluate their existing retirement assets and determine the potential for growth of these assets under different scenarios. Another important area to assess is Social Security, which increases the longer one waits to start drawing benefits. If it becomes clear that planned retirement assets will not meet the person’s needs, then it will be important to reset current financial priorities.

An attorney may be able to help a client gain an accurate assessment of joint assets, the better to ensure equitable asset division after the divorce. Having one’s fair share of assets from the marriage allows for flexibility and planning and can make the difference between a secure retirement and an insecure one.

Making a parenting plan outside of court

The first thing to decide is the type of custody you will have, and there are two main types. Physical custody determines with whom the children live. You may decide that you want primary physical custody, which means that your children will live with you most of the time. However, you may share physical custody with your estranged spouse so that your children live with both of you an equal amount, which is called joint physical custody.

Legal custody grants the power to make important decisions regarding your children. Primary legal custody means that only one of you has decision-making power, while joint legal custody means that you share it. If you do not think you can agree on every decision, you could split the decisions between you. For example, one of you may have the power to decide educational and health needs while the other decides religious aspects.

Some other decisions that need to be made in a parenting plan include with whom the children spend certain holidays and vacation time and how you will handle problems that arise in the future, such as one of you moving to a different city or state. While making these decisions, you must keep your children’s best interests in mind.

While it may be more beneficial to amicably agree to a parenting plan, you may not be able to achieve this. If this happens, the court has the power to decide based on the best interests of your children. You can learn more about what the best interests of children means by reading our page on child custody and visitation.

Changing a custody order in North Carolina

In order for a parent to have a child custody or visitation order modified there must have been a substantial change in circumstances that affects the best interests of the child. If such a substantial change exists, the parent may then file a motion for modification with the court that has jurisdiction over the child custody matter. The court with jurisdiction will normally be the court that issued the original order in the first place. Examples of substantial changes in circumstances may include such things as the arrest of a parent, abuse of the child, domestic violence that has occurred, a necessary relocation, a change in a child’s or a parent’s health or psychological status, or other such events that have a large impact on the child.

As in all matters involving questions of custody and visitation, the best interests of the child is the main consideration for a judge. In the event that a parent’s circumstances have changed to such a substantial degree that they believe a modification is needed, the parent may want to seek the advice of a family law attorney to learn more about their legal rights and obligations.

Family law attorneys may be able to provide help to the parent in these types of matters by drafting and filing motions for order modifications on their client’s behalf. Family law attorneys can also assist in helping the parent obtain documents and other evidence that may be used at a child custody hearing. In some cases, it is possible for an attorney to negotiate an agreement with the child’s other parent, while in others, the attorney may help by preparing the parent to testify in court at the child custody hearing and representing the parent during the child custody hearing.