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Pro Bono or Appointed Lawyer In a Child Custody or Child Support Case? « NC Fathers Rights
Before we get into the question on if one can get a Pro Bono or Appointed Lawyer In a NC Child Custody or Child Support Case, it is important to note that this organization is not a law firm, nor is this writer a lawyer. If you are the impatient type, the short answer is NO, the State of NC will not appoint a lawyer to represent you in a child custody or child support enforcement case regardless of how little income you have. While lawyers in NC can decide who they represent and how much clients pay, this organization or any of it’s members have never heard of a lawyer in NC providing pro bono services to indigent or low income parents. Many non-custodial parents in North Carolina believe that because they are facing jail over being impoverished and not being able to pay child support, that this is akin to a criminal matter for which appointed lawyers are routinely given. NC Fathers estimates that there are easily thousands, if not tens of thousands, of parents in NC who had the other parent leave the family home and will not allow the children to see the other parent which effectively puts the other parent in the position to find upwards of $20,000 just to secure the basic right to parentage.
Appointing lawyers, or lawyers giving pro bono services in child custody cases or child support enforcement matters makes absolutely no sense financially for lawyers or legislators. The only appointed lawyer that is available in child support cases is the one the State of NC appoints to handle the custodial parent’s interest in continued or increased child support. Before you get excited, there will be no appointed lawyer for the non-custodial parent who has to hire a attorney privately many times a year for 18 years as the custodial parent seeks more and more money. The fact is, the State of NC receives Title IV-D money on every dollar collected in child support that is then used for social services programs that custodial parents are gobbling up in record numbers. It is in the best interest of the State of NC to provide a free lawyer for the custodial parent while creating hardship for the non-custodial parent because it insures that the non-custodial parent loses and child support will be increased.
As for receiving a pro bono or appointed lawyer in a NC Child Custody case, even if there are allegations of criminal conduct that could sway the case, there is no possibility under law for you and your children to receive indigent care legally. Lastly, it is highly likely that other parents in North Carolina are searching for the data contained in this article and are wondering if there are any options available to get an appointed or pro bono lawyer in a child custody or child support matter in the NC Family Courts.
Equality NC: Hospital Visitation
With passage of this statewide provision, North Carolina hospital patients have the right to receive the visitors who matter most to them regardless of the legal status of their relationship. In 2007, Equality NC Foundation petitioned the state to add this provision to the Patient’s Bill of Rights, and tirelessly advocated for the change through the rule-making process. Without a valid health care power of attorney, decision-making authority will go to the patient’s nearest legal relative, as same-sex relationships receive no recognition under North Carolina law. In 2010, the Obama Administration, through the Department of Health and Human Services, issued guidelines requiring all hospitals receiving Medicaid and Medicare funding – nearly every hospital in the country – to adopt visitation policies similar to those we have in place in North Carolina, allowing for visitation in the hospital for same sex couples on an equal footing with straight couples. The memo quoted the hospital visitation provision of the North Carolina Hospital Patients’ Bill of Rights which Equality NC proposed and got adopted by the state in 2008.
The additions to the CoPs address the scope and inclusiveness of hospital visitation policies. A hospital must have written policies and procedures regarding the visitation rights of patients, including those setting forth any clinically necessary or reasonable restriction or limitation that the hospital may need to place on such rights and the reasons for the clinical restriction or limitation. Inform each patient of his or her visitation rights, including any clinical restriction or limitation on such rights, when he or she is informed of his or her other rights under this section. Inform each patient of the right, subject to his or her consent, to receive the visitors whom he or she designates, including, but not limited to, a spouse, a domestic partner, another family member, or a friend, and his or her right to withdraw or deny such consent at any time. Ensure that all visitors enjoy full and equal visitation privileges consistent with patient preferences.
The hospital should make its determination of who is the patient’s representative based upon the hospital’s determination of who the patient would most want to make decisions on his/her behalf. Examples of documentation a hospital might consider could include, but are not limited to, the following: proof of a legally recognized marriage, domestic partnership, or civil union; proof of a joint household; proof of shared or co-mingled finances; and any other documentation the hospital considers evidence of a special relationship that indicates familiarity with the patient’s preferences concerning medical treatment.