The decision to end a relationship can be difficult. Splitting up affects the entire family, and child custody questions can be stressful and challenging.
As a family law attorney focusing almost entirely on child custody, I understand the emotional toll this process can take. Your children are your priority, and I know and understand your desire to protect them from adult drama as much as possible.
As we navigate the child custody issues associated with the changes taking place in your life, I will provide the guidance and support you deserve in making those important decisions to ensure your children are happy, healthy, and safe. If your family is facing separation or other child custody issues, some basic information can help you know what to expect.
It is BETTER for the kids to have access to both parents, and a signed custody order – the ultimate goal in any custody case, will enforce that in the most equitable way possible.
Child custody issues can be raised at any time while the child is a minor. In North Carolina, court-ordered mediation is a required precursor for custody cases to determine the best interests of the children. Parenting classes may also be required.
In the absence of a custody agreement provided by the parents through mediation or other means, the court must determine a custody and visitation arrangement that is in the best interests of the child. North Carolina law does not provide a presumption in favor of either parent. Instead, custody and visitation arrangements are set based on the facts of each case.
In determining a child’s best interests, the court may consider parenting skills as well as the parents’ work schedules, mental and physical health, and any criminal or substance abuse history, as well as each parent’s ability to meet the child’s needs. Other factors include living conditions with each parent, familial relationships with siblings and other family members, and which parent has been the primary caretaker. Once the child is old enough, he or she may have the opportunity to let the Court know his or her wishes as to which parent would be preferable as the primary caregiver, but ultimately it is the Court that decides.
North Carolina law allows joint custody and sole custody arrangements. To ensure your family understands which arrangement is in the best interest of your child and meets the needs of your family, you need an attorney who can provide the information and direction necessary to make these decisions.
A parent with legal custody is responsible for making major life decisions for the child. This includes items like healthcare and medical treatment, religious formation, and even education. On the other hand, physical custody refers to which parent provides a home for the child. It is common for physical and legal custody to be awarded to the same parent, but in joint custody arrangements, these responsibilities can be shared by both parents.
With few exceptions, custody arrangements will include some amount of physical custody, also known as parenting time, for each parent. The parent with whom the child resides for most of the time will have primary physical custody. The parent with secondary custody will have a visitation schedule with the child and often has a child support obligation.
If you are a grandparent seeking custody, a person in recovery wanting to file for modification, a caregiver of any kind who is interested in the well-being of children in general and the best interests of a child or children in your life, your rights are important. Contact our office today to discuss your case and determine the best path forward.
Common issues that arise which bring people to search for an attorney include one parent not allowing the other to see the children, or not sharing contact information for medical providers or teachers. These can easily be addressed once a custody order is in place because both parties must abide by its guidelines.
I can help to file a complaint on your own, I can represent you and file the case for you, or I can enter an already-existing case and help you resolve things.
If you have questions about child custody guidelines in North Carolina or if you need an compassionate attorney to advocate for you in a custody case, contact my office. It is my passion to help you work toward a resolution that gives you peace of mind and benefits your children. I understand the deeply personal nature of child custody issues and will do all I can to help your family move forward and heal.