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3 Types of Custody

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3 Types of Custody

There is no one-size-fits-all type of custody arrangement. With that in mind, the courts have devised a system that breaks down child custody into different types. The court then evaluates the child’s best interests and initiates a custody arrangement that best meets the child’s physical, social, and emotional needs. What types of custody arrangements are there in North Carolina? The answer is more complex than you might think.

At Marshall & Taylor PLLC, our family law attorneys want what’s best for you and your child. That means drafting a custody agreement that meets your and your child’s needs and goals. What types of custody arrangements are there in North Carolina? We want to help you understand the unique types of child custody arrangements available.

What Are the Types of Custody Arrangements

Child custody is a broad term that can apply to numerous types of child custody structures. You must understand the unique components of a child custody arrangement before settling on an agreement with your ex-spouse.

First, you want to understand the difference between legal and physical custody. Physical custody refers to a child’s primary home where they live and which parent is responsible for catering to their daily needs. Legal custody refers to which parent has the legal right to make vital decisions on behalf of a child. These decisions include medical care, education, recreational and social activities, and religious affiliation.

Next, you must consider the legal terms sole and joint. Sole custody means only one parent has authority over the child. Joint custody means that both parents are involved in the child’s upbringing. You can combine these terms to get different types of custody situations. Courts often recognize the value of allowing a child to maintain a strong bond with both parents, meaning joint legal and physical custody may be an ideal solution.

Depending on the child and parents’ circumstances, other custody arrangements may benefit a child. Sometimes, joint legal but sole physical custody is an excellent solution. Both parents can make decisions on behalf of the child’s upbringing, but the child has the stability of living in one home. In these cases, visitation is typically granted to the non-custodial parent.

In some cases, it may be necessary for one parent to receive sole legal and physical custody of a child, especially if the other parent has a history of violence, abuse, or drug use.

What Rights Does a Parent Without Legal Custody Have?

Generally, parents without legal custody of a child can still obtain visitation rights. The courts can establish a visitation schedule that allows the parent without legal custody to see and spend time with their child. However, without legal custody, that parent cannot make essential decisions about the child’s upbringing.

Non-custodial parents may also be obligated to pay child support to the custodial parent to help offset the costs of raising a child.

How to File for Sole Custody

3 Types of CustodyFiling for sole custody or primary legal and physical custody of a child does not altogether remove the other parent’s rights. When a parent retains sole legal and physical custody of a child, it means they alone are responsible for housing the child and for all parenting decisions related to raising the child. In many situations, the other parent may still be granted visitation rights, allowing them to see their child through a court-approved visitation schedule.

Again, North Carolina courts recognize the value of allowing a child to build and maintain strong relationships with both parents, meaning joint custody agreements are typically preferred. Obtaining sole legal and physical custody of a child can be challenging. A judge may consider a sole custody arrangement when a parent can prove that a relationship with the other parent would harm the child’s health, safety, or well-being.

Sole custody determinations may be necessary in cases where:

  • A parent cannot provide the child with a safe or stable living environment
  • There are allegations of child abuse or neglect
  • There is a history of domestic violence
  • A parent develops drug or alcohol abuse issues
  • A parent develops severe physical or mental health issues

Since filing for sole custody can be challenging and you need evidence to establish sole custody is in the child’s best interest, you need to consult an experienced family law attorney for help.

A North Carolina Family Law Attorney Can Help

Do you need clarification about custody arrangements? Do you want what’s best for you and your child? Don’t take chances navigating the family law system alone. Work with an experienced Raleigh family law attorney at Marshall & Taylor PLLC who can advocate for you and your family.

Call our North Carolina office today at (919) 833-1040 to set up a confidential legal consultation.