DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Domestic violence involves civil litigation involving violent or threatening behavior between parties either living together or in a relationship. Not to be confused with the filing of criminal charges. Domestic violence is a disturbing and very real aspect of our society. Often, children are caught in the middle of these tragic situations. Mrs. Pittard can advise individuals about taking out a restraining order, and can represent individuals who have taken out a restraining order and must appear in court in order to have their restraining order continue in place. She also advises and represents individuals who have had a restraining order taken out against them. Mrs. Pittard seeks to settle issues so that the parties will have as little contact as possible to avoid future disturbances. A civil restraining order of the type which Mrs. Pittard handles should not be confused with criminal charges taken out against a violent party, which may require the services of a criminal attorney. Such matters are handled in district criminal court rather than in domestic court.

Mrs. Pittard does not handle criminal matters.

CHILD SUPPORT

Child support payments are made by one or both parents of a minor child to the custodial party for the support of the child. Mrs. Pittard advises clients concerning child support issues, and can determine the proper amount of support due in your situation by using the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines. Parties can agree on child support, or Mrs. Pittard can file a custody complaint seeking child support through the courts. She also advises clients that they can seek help obtaining child support through the Johnston County Child Support Enforcement Office. Parties can use this agency to obtain support when they do not have the funds to hire an attorney.

VISITATION

Visitation is the determination of how parties shall share time spent with the minor child. Often, parties with minor children have disputes regarding visitation despite having agreed upon which party will have primary custody of the children. Additionally, parties may have a custodial arrangement in place, but one party may feel that he or she is not being allowed to visit their child as much as they would like. Mrs. Pittard can address these issues via a letter to the custodial parent, or through the filing of a custody complaint seeking visitation or a motion to modify visitation. Just as in custody cases, cases involving visitation can often be settled through mediation if both parties keep in mind that cooperation is in the best interests of their child. On occasion, it is necessary for the court to determine and set the schedule of visitation to take place.

SEPARATION AGREEMENT

A separation agreement is a private contract between married individuals settling property, custody, or other issues without litigation prior to divorce. When two parties separate during their marriage, it can be a stressful and difficult time. One option for settling matters such as custody and property or debt division is to execute a separation agreement. This can only be done for issues in which the parties are in agreement. Mrs. Pittard always urges her clients to consider executing a separation agreement because it is the easiest and least expensive option for settling marital matters. The parties, not the courts, can decide how to divide property, share custody, or handle other concerns, and thereby avoid costly and lengthy litigation.

DIVORCE

Divorce involves a court process ending a marriage. Mrs. Pittard handles simple divorces for her clients. An individual can file for divorce after a period of separation of one year, as long as they have lived in North Carolina for the past six months. If the parties cannot settle property issues, they will need to file for equitable distribution either prior to or at the time that they file for divorce. Mrs. Pittard makes referrals to other attorneys to handle equitable distribution litigation. She always advises individuals not to file for divorce without seeking consultation regarding their property and support rights. If a party needs to settle custodial issues, these can also be addressed at the time of the divorce.

ALIMONY

Alimony is support paid by one former spouse to the other after divorce; Similarly, Post-Separation Support may be requested before divorce. In some cases, dependent spouses may have the right to post-separation support or alimony. There are a number of factors that can affect whether or not someone can receive support from the other party. Further, there are a number of factors affecting the amount of support and length of time support may be appropriate depending on the specific circumstances of the two parties. Mrs. Pittard advises clients of their rights concerning post-separation support or alimony.

CHILD CUSTODY

Child custody is the determination of where a minor child shall reside subsequent to the separation or divorce of his or her parents. The main focus of Mrs. Pittard's law practice is the custody of minor children. This aspect of separation or divorce is the most difficult and the most important for everyone involved. Attention should be paid to what is best for the children. This usually involves the children spending as much time as possible with both parents, and the parents attempting to get along as amicably as possible for the sake of the children. Mrs. Pittard often utilizes the services of a therapist when appropriate to help guide individuals in this procedure. Her philosophy is that resolution of custody issues should first be attempted through mediation by the involved attorneys or the court mediator. Litigation should be used only when settlement is not possible. Mrs. Pittard attempts to stress cooperation between the parties as the best way to aid their children during this difficult time.