Helping Clients Navigate A Course To A Better Future

How child custody works in North Carolina

On Behalf of | May 5, 2016 | Family Law

Child custody is one of the most difficult and important aspects of any divorce. If you’re facing divorce, knowing how the process works can help you come into it in as strong of a position as possible.

There are two different types of custody

In North Carolina there are two types of child custody that are awarded: physical and legal.

Physical custody is granted to the parent who is best equipped to handle the day-to-day rearing of the child. Although not typical, physical custody can be shared in some instances. If physical custody is not shared, the other parent can seek visitation.

Legal custody refers to the power to make decisions on behalf of the child regarding the child’s schedule, schooling, religious instruction, health care, and other important decisions. Legal custody is usually shared unless there are extenuating circumstances.

How custody cases are decided

Either parent may petition for child custody. The child’s wishes may be taken into consideration depending on his or her age, but a child may not decide who will receive custody.

If both parents agree to a child custody arrangement, they may set out the terms in a Parenting Agreement or Separation Agreement. If not, they can try alternative dispute resolution, like mediation or arbitration. A third alternative is to have custody decided by the court, if the parents cannot reach an agreement on their own.

Contrary to popular belief, child custody is not considered to be a mother’s right. Rather, North Carolina courts grant equal consideration to both parents.

What is in a child’s best interests?

In accordance with North Carolina law, courts must base custody decisions on the best interests and welfare of the child. Factors affecting this decision include:

  • Where each parent lives
  • Each parent’s ability to support the child financially
  • Each parent’s current living arrangement
  • The relationship between each parent and the child
  • Whether there has been any domestic abuse
  • The child’s general safety and welfare

It’s important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to child custody. Every case will be different depending on the family’s unique circumstances. For more information about how the law might apply in your case, talk to an experienced family law attorney.

Client Testimonials

A Wonderful Experience

I had a wonderful experience with Kennedy Law Associates. Marsha Kennedy and her Associates were knowledgeable, efficient, and caring. I felt like my case was a high priority to them, and they helped me understand every step of the divorce process throughout my entire case. I would highly recommend this firm to anyone looking for assistance with a family law matter!
Jennifer Haines

Smart, Caring Staff

I am savvy financially, but had no clue about the divorce process. Through it all, Ms. Kennedy and her staff have been there for me and my kids.

The experience you need through a difficult time

Marsha Kennedy and her team has expertly handled each situation and guided me through the process.

Highly Recommend!

Kennedy Family Law did a wonderful job representing me in my divorce. Always responsive and kept me informed – they really cared about me.
Bette Frederick

Highly Recommend!

I have been working with Marsha Kennedy and her team and am so impressed with how my case is being handled.
Kelly Peterson
FindLaw Network