Just as your child is unique, each case is unique. The Court will look at all factors to decide what is in the best interests of the children. It is the legal determination, either by agreement of the parents or by order of the court, for where and how minor children will be raised. If the parties are not able to reach a settlement, the issue of child custody will be heard by one of our Family Court Judges, who will determine and decide child custody.
To that end, almost any topic can be relevant to determine child custody, including:
- All information about both parents and their homes
- Work schedules and availability to care for children
- The historical caregiving by each parent
- Both parents and the child's medical issues
- Any other issue the Court believes is necessary to best promote the interests and welfare of the child
Parents often state that determining child custody is the most stressful part of family separation. Here at Miller Bowles Cushing, our team of Charlotte child custody lawyers knows what can be asked when child custody is decided. We want to listen to your situation and assist you in deciding the best course of action for a successful outcome in the best interests of you and your child.
Make sure you have an experienced attorney backing you during child custody proceedings. Call 704-810-1400
today for a private consultation with our Charlotte lawyers.
In a North Carolina child custody case, we generally refer to two different types of child custody:
- Legal Child Custody – Legal child custody is the decision-making power of each parent to decide long-term issues for a child such as where the child goes to school, what doctors they see and what medical treatment they may receive, what religion they will be taught, and any other matters of lasting significance.
- Physical Child Custody – Physical child custody is just what it sounds like–where the child is physically located each night. Most child custody arrangements are considered joint custody, even if one parent has substantially more time with a child than the other. Several years ago, the North Carolina court began referring to most custody arrangements as “joint custody” and instead identifying a “primary” custodial parent and a “secondary” custodial parent.
Emergency Child Custody
In certain cases, parents may seek an expedited determination of child custody. When there is a substantial risk of bodily harm or sexual abuse to a child or substantial risk a child will be abducted or removed from North Carolina to evade the Court’s jurisdiction, a parent may seek emergency child custody. Emergency child custody is awarded only in rare situations in which there is concrete danger to the child.
Where there is not an emergency but an expedited child custody decision is warranted, parents may seek a temporary parenting arrangement hearing. In situations of parental relocation, repeated “snatching” of a child, or drug or alcohol abuse issues by a parent, the Court may conduct a brief hearing to enter a temporary child custody order.
When Can I Modify Child Custody?
Under North Carolina law, the Court has jurisdiction over all minor children until they reach age 18. Because the Court must act in the “best interests” of the minor child, the Court always has the ability to modify child custody. Often, custody orders are labeled “permanent”, but the Court never loses the power to change that order as long as your child is still a minor.
To modify child custody, the Court must find there has been a substantial change in circumstances affecting the minor child since the entry of the prior court order. Some examples of a substantial change are changes in a parent’s work schedule or living arrangement, interference by one parent with the visitation schedule, or changes in your child’s educational or medical needs.
NC Custody Laws for Fathers
A father and mother start off with equal rights to child custody in North Carolina. If neither parent is deemed “unfit” for custody, then the courts will not automatically favor one parent over the other due to gender. Rather, the court will consider all the circumstances in each case and determine custody based on the best interests of the child.
If the father and mother are not married, then the father’s paternity will need to be established. This can be done through an Affidavit of Parentage form that both parents sign, or legal action can be taken to establish paternity with genetic testing.
If you're looking for more help on a future or impending child custody case, feel free to contact our Charlotte child custody lawyers today at (704) 810-1400.
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