Child Custody Lawyers in Charlotte
Child Custody Lawyer in NC - Protecting Your Rights & Best Interests
Child custody is one of the most difficult areas in all of
family law. Parents being able to work out custody outside of court often leads to
happier results than leaving it up to the discretion of a judge. Most
moms love their children. Most dads love their children. The judge who
is going to decide the future for those children does not love them. He
or she doesn’t know them.
North Carolina’s test for child custody is what is in the “best
interests” of the minor child in making a custody determination.
Sometimes, litigation is absolutely necessary for this area of practice.
Some parents cannot work together. They cannot make decisions. They cannot
reach an agreement. Fortunately, for those cases, the court and judges
are there to make a decision. Litigation or not, the general concepts
and law remain the same.
To learn more about your situation and
child custody in NC, call our Charlotte child custody attorneys today at (704) 659-0007 or
contact Rech Law, P.C. online.
Physical v. Legal Custody
There are two types of child custody in NC: Physical and legal. Physical
custody is where the child is physically residing. Legal custody, on the
other hand, is who makes the decisions for the child.
There are two types of physical custody:
Sole custody means that one party has physical, exclusive care of the child and the
other party has visitation. Visitation means the time that the other party
has with the child. The standard visitation schedule that comes to mind
is that of an every other weekend schedule. This is by no means a “rule,”
and many factors can play into whether or not an every other weekend schedule
would be in the child’s best interest—the child’s age,
school, proximity of the parents from one another, the child’s extracurricular
activities, the child’s health, etc.
Joint custody can mean essentially any other arrangement that the parties or the court
determines for the best interests of the child. The standard joint custody
arrangement that comes to mind is a week-on, week-off arrangement, meaning
mom has the child one week, dad has the child the next week. Again, this
is by no means the only option and many factors will play into this as well.
Legal custody means either one or both parties have the ability to make
significant decisions on the child’s behalf. Such decisions on the
child’s education, religious preference, or medical procedures often
are categorized in this.
How Child Custody is Determined in NC
Best Interests Standard
The standard the court uses for determining child custody issues is what
is in the “best interests” of the child. Many factors will
be considered to determine what will “best promote the interest
and welfare of the child.” There is no formula to this and it is
often very fact specific. It is very important to raise these issues with
the judge and court at the appropriate time to ensure that he or she has
all of the information when making his or her decision.
Some factors that North Carolina courts will consider when deciding custody
- History of domestic violence
- The child's safety
- The child's current living arrangement
- The child's relationship with each parent
- Each parent's ability to care for the child
- Whether each parent can create a stable home for the child
The first thing the judge has to do before deciding any child custody issue
or sending the parents to mediation is determining whether the court has
jurisdiction. North Carolina has adopted the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction
and Enforcement Act (or UCCJEA for short), which is found in N.C.G.S.
§50A-204. According to the statute, North Carolina must be the “home
state” of the child at the date of filing the lawsuit which, although
there are certain exceptions that apply, is going to mean that the child
has lived in North Carolina for the past six months prior to filing the lawsuit.
At Rech Law, our
child custody lawyers can help you understand what these different types
of custody mean and help you make decisions about what will work best
for both you and your family. You can trust our Charlotte child custody
attorneys to provide you with the strong representation you deserve.