While divorce may terminate the marital relationship, it does not end a couple’s relationship as parents. Child custody refers to a collection of parental rights and responsibilities regarding their child’s general welfare, authority, religion, education and health care. In North Carolina, married parents are joint guardians of their children and possess equal rights to custody. Under the law, NC courts do not show favor to either parent in custody matters. Custody may be awarded equally between the parents (joint custody), or primary custody may be given to one parent (sole custody) with visitation granted to the other parent. Joint custody allows both parents to make decisions regarding their child, and the child shares time with both parents according to a planned schedule and place.
The most often used and preferred approach to deciding child custody matters is through a private spousal agreement. Custody may also be settled out of court by a separation agreement. The challenge in private custody agreements is to develop an arrangement that enables each parent to maintain a consistent relationship and agreed to methods of raising their child – now and in the future. For a variety of reasons, many parents arrive at custody arrangements by default and regret the outcome. It is important to carefully consider your children’s current and future needs, to prevent yourself from becoming unsatisfied with your legal relationship with your child. An attorney who is familiar with local laws and the courts can provide invaluable assistance in formalizing custody arrangements.
It is up to the court to make the determination as to who will “promote the best interests and welfare of the child” in cases where custody is disputed. Each parent’s past and present conduct is considered and evidence must support why one parent’s behavior and abilities will better enhance a child’s overall welfare that the other parent’s. Other factors that the court will consider include:
- Physical, mental, emotional, moral and religious factors,
- The child’s preference,
- Each parent’s caretaking ability,
- Each parent’s home environment,
- Each parent’s availability to the child,
- Each parent’s economic situation and potential, and
- The child’s bonding with other siblings.
Any parent, relative, or other party may file a claim for custody of a minor child. In these situations, the child’s natural parent is entitled to the custody and care of the child until (and if) the court determines that the non-parent would provide better care than a biological parent.
If you are currently involved in a child custody dispute or foresee one, or if you are having complications with your court-ordered custody arrangements, there are laws to protect your rights and your children. Please contact our office today for legal help in your separation, divorce or child custody matters. Williams Law Group, PC will use proven legal strategies, strong evidence and aggressive negotiating to ensure that you present the strongest case. We can be reached at (919)773-1440 or via email.
I was most pleased with Miles Williams and his approach to my case…
NC, 27518< div class=”country-name”>United States
I love the Williams Law Group. I have used them for several issues including custody and child support and would use them again. I have referrred them several times to people who were going through similar issues. When you aretalking about the well being of your child it is a very emotional time and you want someone with whom you trust taking care of your most precious asset. I was most pleased with Miles Williams and his approach to my case, his professionalism in the courtroom and getting my case resolved in the best interest of my child. I would us him and his group again in a heart beat.
–D.D., Satisfied Client