When children are at the heart of a legal challenge, it can make the decision making process particularly difficult. As a parent, you just want to do what is best for your child. In order to do that, though, you may have some questions that need answering first. This is certainly true for child custody cases.
Some common questions regarding North Carolina child custody laws include the following:
How is custody decided?
Establishing the terms of a child custody order happens in one of three ways: through private negotiations, in mediation or by a family court judge. Every family situation is different, and what works for one may not work for another. With the assistance of legal counsel, you can achieve a
child custody order with which you are satisfied, using the process that best works for you.
What types of custody arrangements does North Carolina recognize?
There are several forms of custody that the state of North Carolina recognizes. These are legal custody, physical custody, joint custody and sole custody.
- Legal custody: This type of custody gives a parent the right to make important life decisions for his or her child — such as medical, educational and religious decisions.
- Physical custody: This type of custody determines how much physical time a child will have with each parent.
- Sole custody: When a parent retains sole custody, it means that his or her child will live with him or her full-time. The non-custodial parent may then be granted visitation time.
- Joint custody: In this type of custody arrangement, both parents will be granted fairly equal time with their child. The exact details of this kind of arrangement will be different for every family.
Can an existing custody order be modified?
In short, yes. Life changes. As such, custody orders may need modifications to accommodate for those changes. Seeking a modification is not always an easy task, but an experienced attorney can help you take the necessary legal steps to pursue the desired adjustments to the custody order.
Do children have a say in custody matters?
It depends. The court sometimes considers the custody wishes of older children. However, a judge has the power to over-rule those wishes if they are not believed to be in the child’s best interest.
These are just a few of the many questions parents in North Carolina may have regarding child custody. An experienced family law attorney can provide further details about these specific topics and can answer any other questions you may have about custody matters.
At the end of the day, child custody can be difficult to tackle. However, it is possible to achieve custody arrangements that best suit your family’s needs.