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Jeff Marshall is a board certified specialist in Family Law
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Raleigh Child Custody Attorneys

When a married couple with children chooses to divorce or separate, one of the most difficult issues for both parents to deal with is reaching a child custody agreement that both agree on. Because of the importance, a child custody agreement has on both the lives of the children and the parents, this is frequently the most contentious issue that arises during a divorce proceeding. However, determining what type of custody you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse will have is critical to successfully completing the divorce process.

As a parent, there are few things as important to you than the safety and well-being of your children. During a divorce, the first concern is often how to protect your children and ensure that their best interests are met. While this is often the goal of both parents, a contentious divorce can place the child in jeopardy and can cause undue distress for everyone involved. That’s why the Raleigh child custody lawyers of Marshall & Taylor PLLC have fought so hard to help individuals navigate the legal and physical custody process. We understand what you are going through, and we are here to help you achieve a positive resolution that ensures that you can remain in your child’s life in the manner that they need most. Contact us at (919) 833-1040 to discuss your legal options and the road ahead and visit us here to learn more about our divorce practice.

Learn More: Top Deciding Factors in Child Custody Cases

Why Do I Need a Custody Lawyer?

Custody arrangements are naturally much easier and the process is much smoother if both parents can agree to a plan in an amicable manner. Unfortunately, this is not always possible. Child custody is one of the most emotionally-charged issues that divorcing couples may face, and a battle over custody can take a toll on the parents and children alike. At Marshall & Taylor PLLC, we understand the issues that divorcing parents face, and we have seen the paths that previous clients of ours have taken to a peaceful resolution.

When you work with us, you will rest assured that you have an experienced team on your side that is looking out for your best interests and the best interests of the child. We will help counsel you on your rights, your legal options, and will work hard to find a peaceful resolution that can hopefully avoid a long, bitter battle.

If your spouse refuses to cooperate or is unwilling to work to find a fair resolution, we are not afraid to fight for you. We have the knowledge and the resources it takes to see your case through to the end, and our satisfied clients will tell you that we get results when it matters most. Don’t hesitate to contact us today, and together we can start building a strong custody case for you.

Child Custody Issues

We understand that you would have never proposed to your spouse if you had known the marriage would end in this manner. Undoubtedly, the stress of the divorce is compounded when children are involved, and that is why we have committed our professional careers to helping you find a positive resolution. We are prepared to help you with all types of custody questions including:

  • Visitation Rights – We will work to ensure that a healthy parent-child relationship is maintained. If there is a reason why a parent should not be granted visitation rights, we will work hard to show why there is a danger to the child and why the parent needs to seek help before visitation should be granted.
  • Sole Custody – The reasons why a parent may seek sole custody are varied and always depend on the specifics of their living situation, relationship with their spouse, and other factors. We will focus on the details and will build a strong case on your behalf if you believe this is the right choice for your family.
  • Joint Custody – While the decision to share custody of a child may seem easy at first, there are often some tricky details to outline before an arrangement can be solidified. Let us help you structure an agreement that is fair and takes into account the needs of the child and your needs as a parent.
  • Primary / Secondary Physical Custody – We are prepared to help you fight for the custody arrangement that allows for the best care for your children, which may mean primary physical custody. Contact us to discuss the specifics of your situation today.

When it comes to determining a custody agreement that you feel is best for you and your children, having a supportive and knowledgeable lawyer on your side can make the difference between getting the outcome you want and getting one you believe is unsuitable for your family.

North Carolina Statute Regarding Child Custody

According to North Carolina Statute § 50-13.01, a child custody agreement should encourage:

  • Both parties to fairly share responsibilities and rights with regard to raising their child, even after divorce.
  • Good faith, focused, and child-centered parenting arrangements to mitigate the need for the court’s involvement in determining child custody and ensuring the child’s best interests are met.
  • The divorced couple to establish and maintain a healthy relationship with each other if it is the children’s best interest and consider substance abuse, mental illness, domestic violence, and other factors the court determines are appropriate.
  • Each party is responsible for their child and expects that parenting will be an ongoing and significant responsibility.
  • Practices and programs reflecting both parents’ contact with and participation in their kid’s life despite the couple’s current marital status and taking into consideration laws associated with neglect, abuse, and dependency.

The main takeaway from this statute is that North Carolina wants to ensure that each parent takes an active role in their children’s lives. However, state laws don’t automatically allow for both parents to have equal time with their kids. It depends on the circumstances of the case and what a judge rules after he considers all the factors if the courts must be involved.

Child Custody Statutes Don’t Include Custody Presumptions

North Carolina statutes provide general guidelines and policies but don’t include specific presumptions for how much each parent should be allowed to see their children. Previously, the “tender year’s doctrine” stated that the mother should be given custody of any minor child under four years old. However, North Carolina eliminated that presumption. Many divorcing couples assume that they can split the children’s time equally between the parents, but there isn’t a case law or statutory presumption indicating 50/50 time-sharing.

Judges don’t have a starting point to use when deciding who should get custody of the kids, but some judges might use their own presumptions as starting points. For example, some judges believe both parents deserve equal or close to equal custody as long as they are fit to parent their child. Others think that only one parent should have custody of their kid most of the time to foster stability but believe the other parent should be allowed visitation as frequently as possible.

This can make it challenging if you ever have to bring your case to court because you don’t know the judge’s starting point and what they will base their decisions on. That makes it crucial that you attempt to reach an agreement with your partner without the need for litigation.

Legal Standards for Child Custody

Since no presumptions exist in child custody cases, North Carolina § statute 50-13.2 lays out the legal standard for a court to determine arrangements with the parents. Once a judge has considered all the factors required by this statute, they will grant custody to the person who can best promote the child’s best interests and welfare. The statute specifies that no presumption exists and also says that if joint custody is requested, it shall be considered.

Frequently Asked Questions About Child Custody in North Carolina

We know that for many people, this is the first time they have ever dealt with a lawyer, or this is the first time they have had to confront legal issues that affect them directly. At Marshall & Taylor PLLC, we work hard to keep our clients informed about the process and their rights, and we want you to be confident in the process. While most questions require the details about your specific situation to answer, we have provided the answers to a few frequently asked questions that may be of assistance to you.

What is the difference between “legal custody” and “physical custody”?

Legal custody refers to the decision-making responsibilities for the child, usually involving religion, healthcare, and education, to name a few. Physical custody, naturally, refers to the living situation and daily care of the child. An experienced child custody attorney can help you determine what the best course of action will be when it comes to both physical and legal custody.

How Moving Out of State Can Affect Child Custody Rights in North Carolina

In the event of a custody dispute, how does the court decide how custody should work?

In the event of a dispute, the court will consider the best interests of the child, as well as the wishes of each parent. Additional considerations may be whether or not there is a history of abuse, the parenting abilities of each parent, and (if the child is old enough) the wishes of the child.

High Conflict Custody Cases

Is joint custody always the best option?

While it is hard to argue that a child will not benefit from the loving involvement of both parents, joint custody may not be right for every situation. It is up to you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse to determine if you can work together to raise the child and if the child will have a safe and stable environment to grow up in. Certain circumstances make joint custody impossible or unwise, and if this is the case, we will fight tenaciously on behalf of you and your child to achieve the best possible outcome. Call one of our experienced Raleigh child support lawyers today to discuss the specifics regarding your divorce, your relationship with your soon-to-be-ex, and the ideal situation you would like with your child or children during this trying time. We are here to help you.

Contact a Child Custody Lawyer in Raleigh

The team at Marshall & Taylor PLLC knows how difficult the divorce process can be. During this stressful time, we strive to provide a calm, knowledgeable presence in your life, that can help guide you through the divorce and custody process. Our satisfied clients will tell you that our caring, experienced team helped them through this difficult time and helped them find peace and resolution, and we hope to do the same for you.

We understand the specific needs of our friends and neighbors here in Raleigh. We have the experience and resources of a large firm, but the caring connection of a small law firm, which is exactly what you need when facing child custody issues here in Raleigh. We know the community and we understand the exact situation you are in. We’re here to help you in your time of need, so don’t hesitate to contact us today.

You don’t have to take our word for it though. Read testimonials from just a few of our happy clients here. We know that you have choices when it comes to selecting an attorney to help you, so we strive to set ourselves apart from the rest with our superior attention to our clients and the details of each case we handle.

If you need help with a child custody arrangement in Raleigh, the attorneys from Marshall & Taylor PLLC understand just how important this issue can be, and we are dedicated to fighting for the best interests of our clients and their children. If you are pursuing divorce and need help with your child custody arrangement, call (919) 833-1040 today. We can give you the guidance and support you need.

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