- A conflict of interest between income streams for welfare payments and the collection of child support from dads;
- New shared parenting laws have not yet reached the judicial level; and
- Domestic violence language inserted in proposed shared-parenting legislation.
North Carolina Custody Laws
North Carolina Senate Bill 610 and House Bill 534 are designed to equalize the amount of time that both parents spend with their children. Though these child custody laws are designed to elevate fathers to an equal level with mothers in the parenting of their children, both SB 610 and HB 534 are inherently flawed.
1. A Classic Conflict of Interest
North Carolina’s Department of Child Support Enforcement reports the amount of child support it collects to the federal government. In turn, the federal government “matches” the amounts collected, and these funds then go into the welfare money pool to replace the funds used for welfare payments.
Though this type of government incentivizing is effective in funding social welfare services, it enhances the adversarial nature of North Carolina child custody proceedings.
North Carolina dads are relegated to being primarily “visitors” in the lives of their children, seeing them, maybe, five days out of the month. The introduction of the proposed parenting time bills throws a giant wrench in the works of the revenue stream for North Carolina’s social welfare services.
2. North Carolina Custody Laws Not Yet at the Judicial Level
Both of the above shared-parenting laws are still in committee and have not yet reached the judicial level, as of May 2013. Further, these laws can be rebutted by a preponderance of the evidence that one of the parents (namely, Dad) is unfit.
No family law judge, at this point in time, is going to discontinue the “status quo” of pitting the custodial parent against the noncustodial parent. After all, who’s going to fund the welfare pool if “deadbeat dads” are removed from the equation?
There is a strong suspicion that unseen special interest groups in conjunction with the North Carolina divorce attorney community that caters to mothers are putting undue influence on the state’s lawmakers.
3. False Allegations of Domestic Violence
Mothers have been using domestic violence allegations against their children’s fathers practically since the time of Solomon. This double-edged sword has denied many a good father parenting time with his children.
In the current adversarial system, if an estranged or ex-wife relocates to another city or state to “get away” from the alleged violence, this is all the better.
What North Carolina Dads Can Do
North Carolina fathers’ rights groups are developing Facebook pages for North Carolina dads to connect and form a cohesive unit in lobbying for workable fathers’ rights legislation.
Although North Carolina is entering the shared-parenting arena, it is still a long way from happening. If the two prospective bills languishing in committee do come to pass, it is probably going to take additional legislation to prevent good dads from false allegations and overturn the adversarial custody system.
Until North Carolina finds another funding source for welfare payments, shared custody will become a reality on paper only.