Back to School During COVID-19


By this time, most public and private schools in North Carolina have started the 2020-2021 school year, however the hallways on the first day of school probably looked and sounded hollower than any other first day of school that we can remember. Depending on the county and whether your children attend private school, your child(ren) may be operating on an A-B schedule for attending live classes, or will follow an all-virtual class schedule for a portion, if not all, of the current school year. Combine the stress of attending school virtually with the typical issues confronted by blended families or divorced families, and there is potentially the recipe for a significant amount of stress for the child(ren) as well as the parents.

As you continue to navigate this school year with your ex-spouse or the other parent of your child(ren), the verbiage of your Parenting Agreement or Court Order is very important. Certainly, most litigants going through a custody battle or attempting to resolve custody did not anticipate the need for language in the event of a pandemic or all-virtual school year. The frustrations that the 2020-2021 school year will present, and probably are presenting, will undoubtedly have an impact on your child(ren)’s daily schedule, morning and evening routine, methodologies for completing homework and projects, as well as your child(ren)’s concentration, and perhaps mental health on a daily basis.

Hopefully, your Parenting Agreement or Court Order provides for, and addresses, standard provisions surrounding the sharing of information related to the child(ren), including access to school records, as well as exchanging the child(ren), which once may have been at the school, but is now the parents’ residences, scheduling of extracurricular activities, and potentially work-related childcare issues.

During this time, to avoid additional stress that having to co-parent with an ex-spouse or significant other, communication is key. There exist various apps and online tools that help to purge information and scheduling for your child(ren), and streamlining that information between you and your child(ren)’s other parent, such as Our Family Wizard (OFW), Google calendar and other similar resources. Communication will prove vital as you continue to maneuver through the school, as other issues will ultimately arise. For example, your custody schedule surrounding holidays and special occasions may be specifically provided for as a separate schedule for the “regular parenting time.” It is important that the provisions in the Parenting Agreement or Court Order surrounding holidays, teacher workdays and other special occasions are followed, even though your child(ren) may not physically be in school.

Given that your child(ren) may be doing a significant amount of school work and/or studying on a computer screen, while sitting in your home, the need for additional work-related childcare may arise, resulting in you incurring additional expenses than when you entered into your Parenting Agreement or Custody Order. This may have an impact on the calculation of child support over time. You may also incur additional expenses for school supplies for your child(ren) related to computers, access to the internet, certain software for work and study applications, printers and the like.

Depending on your specific arrangement, as well as the length of time this new life lasts, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, there may come a time to re-evaluate the language in your child custody arrangement and child support obligations, as well as to enforce the existing provisions in your Parenting Agreement or Custody Order.

Our attorneys and staff at Jetton & Meredith are prepared and ready to assist you, or answer any of your questions, regarding any issue that you may have.

If you are in need of assistance with a divorce case or have questions regarding the divorce process, please contact our Family Law partner Eric S. Meredithto assist you.

Guns: The Legal Way to Purchase and Carry a Firearm

Right now, there are more first-time gun-buyers than ever before. When you think about getting your first gun there are many things you need to consider.

Step 1 is to determine if you're legally able to possess a firearm. Common things that could make you ineligible to own or possess a firearm are; a conviction of a felony, an active domestic violence protective/restraining order, or if you have even been involuntary committed. Once you have checked and confirmed you are able to legally purchase and possess a gun, you should then familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations that come with buying and carrying a gun.

How Do I Buy a Gun?

The first step in the firearm’s process is buying a gun. For the purposes of this article we will only discuss the process of purchasing a gun from a federally licensed dealer and not private sellers. When you go to purchase your first, or next gun, you will always need a valid, state-issued photo ID. It is important that this ID have your current legal address on it.

The process for buying a gun in North Carolina is different based on what kind of gun you are buying. If the gun you have selected has a barrel that is sixteen (16) inches or longer it is classified as a long gun, if it does not have a barrel that is 16 inches then it is classified as a pistol.

In North Carolina if you are buying a pistol, you must have either a concealed handgun permit, or a pistol purchase permit. To get a pistol purchase permit, you will complete an application process through your local sheriff’s office. This must be done through the sheriff where you are living not where you are purchasing the firearm. Once you apply, the sheriff will run a criminal background check as well as a mental health background check.

Once you have the purchase permit you can buy your gun. It is important to know that you must use one permit per gun, therefore if you are planning on buying multiple guns you will need multiple permits. This is one benefit to having a concealed handgun permit, where you can purchase as many guns as you want without having to keep going back to the sheriff.

If you are buying a long gun in North Carolina, the process looks a little bit different. Instead of getting a pistol purchase permit, the background check will be done at the dealer at the time of the transaction. This means you do NOT have to get a purchase permit prior to buying a long gun. You can just walk into a store and buy a long gun. Once you select a long gun you will have to fill out the ATF form 4473 and the dealer will run a background check through the FBI’s national system. This check will return one of three responses; 1- proceed which means you can finish the transaction, 2- delay which means you have to wait to finish the transaction, or 3- denied which means you cannot buy a gun.

If you are denied either a purchase permit or during the FBI background check, it is important that you speak to a knowledgeable and experienced attorney as soon as possible because those decisions can be appealed.

Now That I Own a Gun How Do I Carry It?

In North Carolina there are two types of carry; open carry and concealed carry. However, there are very strict rules governing both forms of carrying a gun and violations of these rules often come with strict consequences in the criminal justice system.


North Carolina allows for the open carry of firearms without any kind of required permit. Open carry is where the firearm is readily visible and easily identifiable to the general public. While open carry is legal throughout the state, it is still subject to several rules and regulations that must be followed in order to avoid criminal liability. First, if a business or location has it conspicuously marked that no weapons or firearms are allowed, then you cannot carry inside. Second, you are not allowed to open carry at a parade or protest. Finally, you should be very careful about what and where you carry. In North Carolina there is a crime called going armed to the terror of the people and if you choose to open carry you may open yourself up to prosecution for this kind of crime.


The first thing you need to know about concealed carry in North Carolina is that you must have a concealed handgun permit to do so. If you concealed carry without a permit you may be charged with a crime and if it’s the second time it can be a felony, which would make you ineligible to own a firearm much less carry one. The good news is the process to get a permit is rather simple and North Carolina is a shall issue state, meaning that if you qualify you cannot be turned down.

In order to get a carrying concealed permit, you will have to complete the state mandated class, qualify in a proficiency exam, pass a background check, and finally, pass a mental health check. The background check and mental health check are done after you complete an application with the local sheriff, much like the purchase permit, this must be done at the sheriff’s office in the county in which you reside. Therefore, you must be a valid North Carolina resident in order to apply. The sheriff will get your fingerprints, and run a background check and mental health check on you to make sure you are not ineligible to have a gun or a concealed carry permit.

Before you are allowed to finish your application, you must complete the state mandated concealed carry class. This class is an eight (8) hour class where you will cover; a basic review of handgun safety, basic gun laws in North Carolina, and complete your proficiency test. The proficiency test is a shooting test. To pass you must hit twenty-one (21) of (30) rounds fired at various distances.

It is important to know that once you finish your application, the fingerprints and everything, there is a time-limit for the sheriff to issue you your permit. If you feel like the process is taking too long and that you will qualify, you will want to speak to an experienced attorney who may be able to help speed the process up and get you your permit much quicker.

Owning and carrying a firearm in North Carolina brings many different laws in to play. If you have a firearm related issue or have questions about North Carolina gun laws, the process to purchase a firearm, or the permit process, please contact us today.

If you have questions about driving while impaired, or are facing criminal charges involving driving while impaired, please contact our Criminal Law partner, Mark S. Jetton, Jr. to assist you.

How Do You Continue Medical Treatment for Your Personal Injury Case During COVID-19?

As our lives have all changed, we know that getting medical attention for purposes other than COVID-19 treatment has become increasingly difficult. Many facilities have tried to limit seeing only COVID-19 patients and those with serious injuries. You also may feel weary about going to a hospital during these times.

Despite this, it can be crucial for your personal injury case for you to continue with treatment. Having gaps in treatment can lead to insurance companies second guessing how serious your injuries are which leads to a harder fight to get the compensation you need and deserve. Stopping or delaying treatment could also slow your recovery or even make your injury worse.

Many hospitals and treatment facilities have adapted during this time and now have options that allow you to continue with treatment, heal properly, and ensure that there are no gaps in your treatment records.

Below are some of the most common tips for continuing your care during COVID-19:

1) Complete a visit or follow-up appointment virtually.

Many places are now offering virtual visits through webcams. This allows you to still see your doctor face to face, talk about new complaints, and get recommendations all from the comfort of your own home. A great thing about the virtual visits is that you can still show your doctor anything you need to, for example, how a cut is healing.

These visits take out the fear of going to a hospital but still allow you to receive the treatment that you need. After these visits, you will receive a record of what went on and you will be able to show this to the insurance company as proof of continued treatment.

2) Schedule an in-person visit and follow CDC recommendations.

It helps to know that most, if not all, hospitals and facilities are taking many precautions in regards to COVID-19. Frequently, these precautions include taking temperatures, enforcing masks, completing screenings before entering, and ensuring social distancing. With these steps in place you can feel safe when entering to get the treatment you need. It’s important that you comply with these measures to make sure you are able to make it to your appointment.

3) Call early to book all types of appointments.

Right now, it is not uncommon for places to have a longer than usual wait time for you to get an appointment or receive treatment. Therefore, it is very important that you call and request an appointment as soon as you can. This will avoid any delay and allow you to stay on course.

Try to avoid showing up late to anything, as this could risk you losing your appointment. However, even if you have to show up late, do your best to not miss or reschedule any appointments, as it could be harder than normal to reschedule. If you do need to reschedule, do so as soon as possible.

4) Complete an electronic visit.

If your facility does not offer virtual appointments and you do not wish to go in-person, you still may be able to complete an electronic visit. This generally involves filling out a detailed form explaining your symptoms, listing your concerns, and you are able to ask questions or further explain things. The doctor can then read these forms and respond via email or portal, or call and ask you more questions, if needed.

This is a good alternative if the other options are not available. While this format may not work for every situation, it will still be something that you are able to point to when trying to show your treatment steps taken.

What does this mean for me?

First, it is important to do only what you are comfortable with during this time. Everyone has reacted differently to COVID-19 and has different comfort levels. You need to first take care of your own health.

Second, look into what options are offered at your treatment facility. It is very likely that you will be able to find something that works for both you and your providers. Do your best to continue your treatment, avoid any gaps in time, and follow recommendations from your doctor.

If I do have gaps in treatment, will this end my personal injury case?

NO. There are several other key factors that could play a role in the disposition of your case. It is vitally important to speak to a skilled and experienced attorney as soon as possible.

If you have questions about your personal injury case, please contact our Firm today.

If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident or if you have questions, please be sure to contact an attorney who understands the law and can provide you with excellent representation. Our attorneys have the knowledge and experience to help you at Jetton & Meredith, PLLC.

If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident please be sure to contact, Mark S. Jetton, Jr. to assist you.