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When does child custody end? 

On Behalf of | Jul 1, 2021 | Child Custody |

As you and your spouse get divorced, you’ll likely spend time working out your arrangement to share custody of the children. In modern courts, it’s most common for both parents to share custody in some capacity, rather than just having one parent take the kids. 

What you may be wondering, though, is when this legal order ends. If your child comes home from college, do you need your custody arrangement to mention summer vacation? Or are you done with the legal order at that point, leaving all of you free to make your own independent decisions? 

Custody arrangements end when the child reaches adulthood

Under North Carolina law, child custody orders can only be given and enforced when children are under 18 years of age. This is because a person legally becomes an adult at this age. 

Remember, a child custody order isn’t designed to tell your child what to do forever. The court only has the authority to issue the order because your child is a minor and you and your ex need guidance on how to care for them or how you can both stay involved. When the child becomes an adult, they get to make their own decisions and the court can’t force them to spend time with both parents — or either one, for that matter.

So, in the above example, your custody arrangement likely doesn’t apply to summer vacation from college, unless your child goes to college before turning 18 years of age.

As you think over all of this, you need to carefully consider your legal options. You have a lot at stake, not least of which is your relationship with your children.