It’s May and there are 107 different children’s activities, graduations, spirit days, field days, and end-of-grade testing before you and your kids finally reach the glorious freedom of summer! Except now that the kids are out of school, you and your co-parent’s parenting time schedules will adjust to the “summer schedule” and you’ll need to make some modifications to continue successfully co-parenting over the summer.
Summer Parenting Time Arrangements
Physical custody of children is typically divided into two separate categories in a custody agreement or order: (1) “Regular Parenting Time” and (2) “Holiday Parenting Time.” Summer vacation falls into the Holiday Parenting Time category which typically supersedes the Regular Parenting Time schedule. You and your co-parent will look to the custody agreement’s summer parenting time terms to determine what the parenting time schedule will be for the 9-12 weeks of summer until your kids go back to school in the fall.
Summer parenting time schedules vary depending upon your specific family situation. Some summer parenting time schedules we frequently see are as follows:
Choice of Summer Vacation Weeks, if applicable
For summer vacation and summer camp planning, most custody agreements have a designated date by which each parent must notify the other of the summer vacation weeks he or she has chosen (typically February 1 or March 1). Check your custody agreement to make sure you have informed your co-parent of your chosen vacation weeks by the designated date. Co-parents typically agree that they will not choose weeks for vacation during which the children have prearranged camps or other special activities that the parents have already agreed upon and arranged. If there is a disagreement between co-parents regarding choice of weeks for summer vacation, usually custody agreements will indicate that one parent’s choice will prevail in odd-numbered years and the other parent’s choice will prevail in even-numbered years.
Communication about Summer Vacation
Nearly every custody agreement requires that parents communicate travel itineraries (like flight information), emergency location information, and phone numbers prior to traveling out of town with the children. Make sure to keep your co-parent up to date with that information. If the shoe was on the other foot (and it will be!), you would want to know where the kids were staying and their general itinerary, as well. Treat your co-parent with kindness and courtesy by providing the kids’ travel information without being asked.
The most important part of scheduling summer parenting time, vacations, and summer camps with your co-parent is to keep the lines of communication open. There will inevitably be unexpected minor adjustments in transporting the children, summer camp drop-off and pick-up times, and the parenting time schedule due to the difference in structure of summertime childcare and potential travel delays that could occur. Remember to keep your focus on what’s best for the kids and how you and your co-parent can work together to cover your kids’ needs over the summer. Make sure to schedule in fun time, too!
If all of this sounds confusing and you aren’t sure how to interpret the custody agreement you already have, or you need a custody agreement put in place that defines summer parenting time, please reach out to our office to schedule a consultation.
Alimony is financial support provided to a “dependent” spouse (lower or non-income earner) from a “supporting spouse” (primary or sole income earner) after the date of separation or date of divorce. In South Carolina, alimony can be ordered by the court or can be agreed upon between spouses in a separation agreement. It is not guaranteed that you will be granted alimony (or forced to pay alimony) in every South Carolina divorce. You may have a claim to alimony or spousal support if you were a stay-at-home spouse or lower income earner than your spouse, your spouse has the ability to pay alimony to you, and you cannot maintain the same standard of living or cover your household bills on your sole income. There are several types of alimony in South Carolina, which can be tailored to your specific situation.
Types of Alimony
Duration of Alimony
There is no mathematical formula in South Carolina to determine the duration of alimony. Alimony can be permanent, last a lifetime, a one-time payment, or paid for a relatively short period of time, depending upon your unique situation.
Amount of Alimony
There is no mathematical formula or formal guidelines in South Carolina to determine the amount of alimony. The amount is determined by considering the factors listed below and each person’s individual circumstances.
Manner of Payment of Alimony
South Carolina courts can require alimony payments to be made directly to the supported spouse or may require the payments be made through Family Court or through wage withholding.
Factors that Affect Alimony
While there are no guidelines for the amount or duration of alimony in South Carolina, the court must consider the following factors in determining the amount and duration of an alimony award.
Cheating Affects Alimony
In South Carolina, adultery is defined as engaging in a sexual relationship with someone who is not your spouse before you sign a final settlement agreement or before the date of your divorce. If you commit adultery as a dependent spouse, you are barred from receiving alimony in South Carolina.
If you are separating in South Carolina and are not sure if you would be entitled to alimony, or required to pay alimony, please contact us to set up your consultation. Lindsey is licensed in South Carolina to assist clients with all of their family law needs, including alimony.
When people think of “alimony,” they usually think of an antiquated stereotype wherein a husband pays his wife and/or the stay-at-home mother of his children monthly alimony payments indefinitely after divorce. In the modern iteration, alimony can financially assist any gender spouse who was not the primary income-earner during marriage if that spouse is unable to meet his or her reasonable financial needs without the other spouse’s income or if that spouse is unable to maintain the same standard of living to which he or she became accustomed during the marriage. Alimony requires a needs-based assessment in North Carolina– you are only entitled to alimony if you need it (the dependent spouse), and your spouse has the ability to pay (the supporting spouse).
Alimony is not mandatory or automatic in North Carolina. Even if you are entitled to alimony, you might not want to take money from your spouse but would rather make your own way financially. If you are the primary income-earner, you might truly desire to pay alimony to help your lower income-earning spouse get on his or her feet financially post-divorce. You might need alimony payments to act as a bridge until you are able to get a job, earn an income again after being a stay-at-home parent, or for maintaining the same standard of living you were accustomed to during marriage. Alimony duration, amount, manner of payment, or whether it is paid at all, depends on each person’s individual situation.
Types of Spousal Support
There are two types of spousal support in North Carolina.
Duration of Alimony
In North Carolina, there is no formula to determine the duration of alimony. The Alimony statute states that the court “shall exercise its discretion in determining the amount, duration, and manner of payment of alimony,” (N.C.G.S. § 50-16.3A). For long-term marriages in North Carolina, we commonly see clients agreeing to (or judges ordering) monthly alimony payments for approximately half of the duration of the marriage in years. This is not a hard and fast rule or requirement, but is something that commonly occurs. For example, if you were married for twenty years, monthly alimony payments might be continuing for ten years after the date of divorce. For marriages that are not as long-term, the alimony duration would likely be shorter.
Amount of Alimony
In North Carolina, there is no formula to determine the amount of alimony either, as it is at the discretion of the court (if you are in front of a judge) or incumbent upon the spouses to agree to the amount based upon the reasonable needs of the dependent spouse and the supporting spouse’s ability to pay. When considering the alimony amount, it is important to analyze each spouse’s income and budget. The monthly alimony payment amount should never exceed the funds the primary income-earning spouse has left over after he or she pays their own reasonable and necessary bills at the end of each month.
Manner of Payment of Alimony
Alimony payments can be paid by lump sum payment, periodic payments (usually monthly installments), income withholding, by transfer of title or possession of personal property, or by security interest in or possession of real property (N.C.G.S. § 50-16.7).
Factors that Affect Alimony
The North Carolina alimony statute defines sixteen factors to be considered when determining the amount, duration, and manner of payment of alimony. The factors are listed as follows.
Cheating (or Marital Misconduct) Affects Alimony
If you are the dependent spouse seeking alimony, but the supporting spouse has evidence you had an affair, you are barred from receiving alimony. On the other hand, if you are the supporting spouse, you committed adultery, and your spouse has evidence of the affair, you will likely be required to pay alimony.
Alimony is a complex and nuanced issue. If you need direction regarding whether you are entitled to alimony or you think you might be required to pay alimony, please reach out to our office to schedule a consultation.
The day your child turns eighteen they become an “adult” by legal standards, even if they are still in high school and living in your home. When your child turns eighteen, your parental legal decision-making capabilities fundamentally change. Without your child’s approval and consent, you can no longer call his or her doctor and talk about medications and treatment plans or call the bank and ask about funds that you deposited into his or her checking account. While you are preparing your child to leave the nest and go to college with dorm lists, book lists, and class syllabi, you should also be prepared with the legal documents necessary for you to continue to assist your adult child in making sound decisions medically, financially, and educationally. The four most important documents needed are listed below.
Lindsey Dasher is the Managing Partner at Dasher Law PLLC