Where will the child live after a divorce or separation? This question is often one of the most important and emotionally charged aspects of a divorce. Fathers, who historically have been pressured to take a back seat in custody disputes, often have serious concerns over the future of their role in the child’s life.
While times and attitudes have changed, these worries still linger. Parents should know this: Courts always place the best interests of the child, not either parent, at the forefront when making determinations regarding custody and visitation. If a court deems the child is best served by the father having physical custody, then that is how it will rule. The same holds true if the court sees the mother as the fitter parent. In most cases, absent factors such as abuse or neglect, courts favor an arrangement where both parents continue to play a meaningful role in the child’s life.
How do courts determine what is in the child’s best interests?
North Carolina courts take a number of factors into consideration when making determinations regarding physical custody. Some of the main factors include:
- The child’s relationship with each parent
- Each parent’s ability to meet the child’s needs and provide a stable home
- Any history of domestic violence or abuse in the family
Parents wishing to maximize the role they play in their child’s life are wise to enlist the services of an experienced child custody attorney. If your lawyer has a deep understanding of North Carolina child custody laws and is a skilled negotiator, he or she can effectively negotiate for an outcome that protects your parental rights and the best interests of your child.