In North Carolina Family Law, when someone mentions Child Custody, most people generally think of which parent has physical custody of the child and how often any visitation occurs. However, in North Carolina, Child Custody also addresses the rights of each parent to make decisions about a child’s education, medical care, religious upbringing, and other matters of lasting significance. This decision-making authority is often referred to “Legal Custody”.
Generally, Child Custody Agreements or Child Custody Orders state that legal custody and the decision-making authority on big issues such as education, medical care, religious upbringing, and general welfare should be jointly vested between a mother and father. However, one parent may be granted sole decision-making ability on these issues, either by agreement or by court order. This situation most often occurs where one parent simply has far more physical time with the child or if one parent’s actions have raised question about their ability to make responsible decisions for their child. Legal Custody can also be jointly vested between parents with one parent having the “executive-decision making authority. In this case, a mother and father must work together to try and reach an agreement on an issue of lasting significance for a child and, in the event an agreement cannot be reached after reasonable discussion, one parent has the ability to make the final decision.
Legal Child Custody is an often overlooked, but vitally important part of any child custody case. Spending time with a child is undoubtedly important, but having a voice in the decision-making process as to where a child will go to school, what type of medical care is appropriate, what religion the child is raised or how religion will play a part of the child’s life, and other issues of lasting significance is just an important to being an active parent.
If you need help with your claim for Child Custody, please call us today at (704) 810-1400 to schedule a consultation.