North Carolina Lawyers
Child Custody

How Does a Court Determine Child Custody?

In any matter involving family law, few situations are as difficult to deal with and endure as child custody. These often involve long, arduous processes and emotional obstacles both parties must overcome to determine what is considered the best interests of the children.

However, for contentious matters in which parents cannot agree during a divorce, child custody matters are left in the hands of the family court. This is where both parents are determined to make a compelling argument as to why they should have majority custody over the children.

It’s extremely important for the parents to truly understand what the courts are looking for when determining child custody. After all, the sole focus is to do what’s in the child’s best interest and they must consider a number of factors before making their decision.

The Safety of the Children

In most situations, one of the highest concerns for the court is the history of abuse or neglect from one or both parents. If a situation exists in which one of the parents is seen as unfit to have custody, the court may grant sole custody to the other parent and visitation rights to the unfit parent.

However, it is not just about abuse or neglect. At times, even the nurturing factor comes into play when deciding child custody and the children may feel as though they are safer in the care of one parent than the other.

The Living Situation of the Parties

Similar to the ability to properly care for the child, the parent must also have a safe and healthy living condition in which the court feels the child can grow, thrive, and be nurtured.

For instance, one of the parents may be in a situation in which the children don’t have their own room or a place to play or study, while the other parent can give the children a room, a bed, and their own private space. The court may look at the parent with a sufficient living situation as more adept to properly care for the kids, and grant that parent custody.

Where the Children Have Friends or Go to School

One of the deciding factors for the court may be whether one parent is moving to a place where the children don’t have friends or out of the school district. Many courts feel as though this uprooting would be unhealthy to the children and may foster resentment in a home.

Because of this, the court may grant custody to the parent who can ensure the children will remain in a consistent situation--seeing the same people, continuing education in a familiar setting, etc.

The Best Interests of the Children

At the end of the day, all decisions made by the court will focus on the best interests of the children. They would not make a child custody order that puts the children in a dangerous situation--both physically and mentally.

As such, parents who are seeking custody must ensure that they are well aware of what rights they may have and what is needed to keep the children in a safe setting. Without this, they run the risk of losing child custody to the other parent.

Our Charlotte child custody attorneys are here for parents when the need calls for it most. Child custody is no easy situation and parents must take the proper steps to ensure the standards are focused solely on their children and their wants and needs.

At Rech Law, P.C., we have represented countless families through some of the most difficult and complicated times of their lives. The dissolution of a marriage and division of a family can seem as though you’re lost without an idea of where to turn. With our firm, your path starts here.

Call our firm today at (704) 659-0007 if you are going through the child custody process and need strong legal advocacy to stand in your corner.