Child custody cases can turn ugly in the blink of an eye. What might have started as an amicable arrangement could lead to a contentious battle in court. It’s critical to understand state laws and your rights regarding custody of a minor child in North Carolina. Either parent can petition for custody, but the court will decide whether to grant it.
According to North Carolina General Statutes § 50-13.2, the court will determine what will promote the welfare and interest of a minor child when awarding custody. The court can also consider relevant factors, such as the child’s safety, domestic violence between the parties, and either party’s safety from domestic violence when determining who should receive custody of the child.
A divorcing couple might request joint custody. It doesn’t matter whether either person is a natural or adoptive parent. Additionally, the court does not make presumptions regarding who will promote the welfare and interest of the child better over the other.
If you’re pursuing custody of your son or daughter, you should review the tips below.
Focus on Your Child’s Best Interests
Unfortunately, many divorcing couples overlook one major component of a child custody case – the best interests of their son or daughter. Parents might place their own needs above anything else during heated arguments and court appearances. They often forget they must consider what is best for their child instead of focusing solely on winning the case.
Children, even toddlers and babies, can sense the tension and anxiety their parents feel. Being at the center of a contentious child custody battle can affect them for the rest of their life. It’s vital to think about how your decisions will affect your kids during negotiations with your ex.
Despite wanting your child to live with you after the divorce, it might not be the best option, especially if you move to a different school district or even another state. Taking a young kid away from their friends, family, and home can significantly affect them. You should stop and consider whether it’s a good idea to change their routine while they’re still developing mentally and emotionally.
Hire a Lawyer
You should seek legal representation immediately after divorce proceedings begin. Even if you and your ex are on good terms, child custody matters can strain the relationship. You might have started the process with mature and rational conversations but suddenly face resistance and anger from your ex.
You need an experienced divorce lawyer to represent you in your case and guide you through each step. Without a legal team in your corner, your ex could pretend to agree with you but change their mind at the last minute, leaving you scrambling to prepare for litigation.
Avoid Social Media
It’s normal to share your life with the world on social media. Many people use Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms to keep in touch with friends and share photos of significant events in their life. Unfortunately, your ex’s lawyer could use your online activity against you.
What might seem like an innocent post complaining about the child custody case could serve as evidence to paint an ugly picture of how you will be as a co-parent. Although it might feel good at the moment to vent about your ex online, a jury could see it as a lack of good character and judgment.
Remain in Your Child’s Life
A child custody case can consume anyone. You might spend each day planning how to win and worrying about what will happen if you can’t see your kids whenever you want.
You should spend as much quality time with your child as possible. Once you make a formal child custody agreement, you might not see them as much. If you and your ex share custody, you’ll only have half the usual time with them. It’s important to remain engaged in your kid’s life, so the bond between you doesn’t break.
Address Potentially Harmful Circumstances
Your ex’s attorney is likely to inspect every part of your life. The attorney could scrutinize your job, living situation, finances, and other circumstances. You should disclose everything that could negatively impact the case. If you try to hide something and the attorney discovers it later, they could use it as evidence of your dishonesty and inability to be a positive role model for your child.
For example, let’s say you claim you need your ex to pay child support because you can’t afford necessary living expenses. However, there’s a receipt for an expensive item you bought recently. Your ex’s attorney could assume you lied about your financial situation. However, maybe your parent gave you the money for the purchase. You should disclose this information to prevent the lawyer from misinterpreting the evidence.
If you’re planning to petition for custody of your child or facing a dispute with your ex regarding the terms of an agreement, do not hesitate to contact Marshall & Taylor PLLC. Our Raleigh divorce lawyers will protect your rights and fight for a favorable outcome.
Call us for a confidential consultation today at (919) 833-1040.