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Understanding 'joint custody'

There is no set definition of joint physical custody. Many people think that joint custody automatically means that each parent has an equal amount of time, but that is not necessarily the case. Joint custody can refer to a number of different custody arrangements under which the parents share custody of the children. A "50/50" schedule is simply one form of a joint custody schedule, under which each parent has the same number of overnights.

Many factors have contributed to the surge in popularity of 50/50 custody arrangements. One of the biggest factors is the increase in families where both parents work outside the home and an increase in "breadwinner moms." Working mothers are now the top earners in about forty percent of households with children. In situations where both parents are working, there is less reason to default to mom as the custodial parent.

Another big factor influencing joint physical custody arrangements is an explosion of psychological literature supporting the theory that custodial arrangements where children have roughly equal contact with both parents is better for children. While there has recently been a backlash against some of this research, the concept is something that continues to become more commonly accepted. Recent literature has indicated that 50/50 schedules work best in low-conflict divorce cases where the parents are able to communicate regularly and effectively.

At the same time, a growing social movement supporting father's rights has given an extra push to the popularity and acceptance of shared custody arrangements. Our society now recognizes that it is vitally important for children to have the involvement of both parents, and it is now socially acceptable for men to take on a variety of roles that were once only viewed as acceptable for women. Additionally, society's concept of "family" continues to evolve with the legalization of same sex marriage which makes traditional gender roles of "mom" and "dad" less important in the context of evaluating what custody arrangements are in a child's best interest.

Custody modification and substantial change requirements

Sharing custody of a child after divorce can be a difficult transition for any parent. However, parents and children will eventually find a new normal.

However, it may not be long until things change and one or both parents want to modify the existing agreement. In these situations, it can be important to understand when modification may be necessary and how the courts will consider such requests.

3 places to look for hidden assets during a divorce

Trust can be one of the first things to leave a broken marriage. This can be especially true in cases involving infidelity -- financial, emotional or otherwise. If trust is lacking in your case, then one concern you may have is the attempt to hide assets.

Parties may try to hide assets to shield them from division, despite such acts being unlawful and ultimately unwise. Below are a few places you can start looking if you are concerned about hidden assets.

How should you prepare for a divorce mediation?

Many couples are looking at mediation as a way to take much of the drama out of a divorce. If you and your soon-to-be ex are open to mediation, it can make the separation go much faster.

However, if you've decided to enter mediation, there are a few things you can do to prepare for these sessions:

Will you regret your divorce settlement?

People can do and say a lot of things during a divorce that they might later regret. But hopefully, these regrets are short-lived and incidental.

Unfortunately, this may not be the case for people who make hasty or ill-advised decisions regarding their divorce settlement or other agreements related to their divorce. To avoid significant missteps during this process, there are a few things you can do.

4 serious mistakes that can complicate custody cases

Every child custody case has the potential to be complicated and emotional. And while many result in amicable, agreeable solutions, others can become lengthy, bitter courtroom battles.

If you are hoping to avoid the latter in your own custody case, it would be wise to avoid the following four missteps. 

Relationships you may want to reconsider during a divorce

When people divorce, the marriage may not be the only relationship going through a dramatic change. Oftentimes, there are other people who may no longer be a good fit in your life, either.

As such, a divorce can be a good time to revisit these relationships to determine which ones continue to be valuable and which ones you may want to terminate. Some examples of these follow below.

Can I change our spousal support order?

After a divorce, court orders can keep exes connected for years. And often, these orders -- like orders for spousal support -- have financial repercussions on everyone involved. As such, it is important to ensure they remain fair as circumstances change over time.

If they are no longer fair, it can be possible to modify these orders. However, modification is only appropriate in certain situations.

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