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Family law issues are often mentally and emotionally overwhelming. Child custody concerns often cause the most stress. In North Carolina, the court decides on child custody during a divorce. However, after a divorce, child custody can change when there is enough evidence to revisit the issue.
Because the laws are complicated, you need the advice of an experienced family law attorney in Raleigh, North Carolina. Filing for sole custody may not be as cut and dried as you believe. You will need a strong family law attorney to advise you of your rights and fight to protect them.
In North Carolina, child custody is determined using a standard where the judge looks at relevant factors that affect the child. Although both parties can make a contract outside of the court as to who has custody, the court also has the opportunity to change that contract.
The court looks at two aspects of custody – legal custody and physical custody. This means a parent can be awarded legal custody, physical custody, or may be awarded both physical and legal custody.
Legal custody is the right a parent has to make every major decision about the child. This includes decisions for medical care, education, and parenting. Physical custody is the legal right to have the child in your physical care.
Parents can share legal custody and physical custody, or they can be held solely by one parent. In other words, the court can award sole legal custody to one parent, who then makes the major decisions without the necessity of consulting with the other parent.
If parents have joint legal custody, they must talk to each other and make major decisions jointly. This can include decisions about medical procedures and education. In cases where parents are unable to agree on a decision, the court may intervene.
The court can also award sole physical custody. This means the child lives only with one parent. Joint physical custody means the child splits their time between two households. How much time is spent in each household may also be decided by the court.
Sole physical custody does not impact visitation rights. In other words, a parent can have physical custody, but the non-custodial parent can still have visitation rights. The specifics of visitation rights granted by the court will vary depending on the situation.
In North Carolina, the court favors joint custody to help preserve a child’s relationship with both their parents. However, every decision about child custody made in the court in North Carolina is based on what is in the best interests of the child.
If the court believes the child’s best interests are in jeopardy by awarding joint custody, a judge may award sole physical and legal custody to one parent. In North Carolina family court, the judge does not give preference to either mothers or fathers in sole custody battles.
The custody decision depends on the unique circumstances in your family. In most cases, the judge considers several factors when deciding to award joint or sole custody. These factors include each parent’s:
Additionally, the judge may also consider the child’s wishes regarding custody. However, this is not the only consideration. Even when children prefer living with one parent over the other, the judge can rule for joint custody.
If you have child custody questions or need legal representation during a child custody battle, turn to the experienced Raleigh child custody attorneys of Marshall & Taylor PLLC. We understand the emotional distress that happens during child custody disputes.
Our legal team is here to fight for your rights and protect the best interest of your children. Our family law attorneys in Raleigh believe you should never have to be fearful of the loss of financial support or your children because of a dispute.
A seasoned family law attorney can help you protect the people you love most. Call our office at (919) 833-1040 today to speak with a skilled family law specialist who can offer you the support and guidance you need.