child custody

How the Courts Determine Child Custody in North Carolina

Determining child custody can directly impact the welfare and future of your children. In North Carolina, as in many other states, the process will always take into consideration the children’s best needs and the suitability of each parent.  If you want to learn more about child custody in North Carolina, here are a few points to consider. 

Types of Custody Arrangements

Child custody in the state covers both physical and legal custody. As the name implies, physical custody determines where the child will primarily reside. On the other hand, legal custody is the parent’s right to make vital decisions regarding the child’s healthcare, education, and religion. 

Parents who divorce do not have to file for a child custody order. North Carolina law gives equal custody to both parents. However, many parents file for child custody or visitation rights to prevent any disagreements in the future. 

Parents in the state can also opt for joint custody or sole custody arrangements. Each of these agreements comes with its rights and responsibilities. 

The Best Interests of the Child

When it comes to determining child custody in North Carolina, the “best interests of the child” standard is used as a guiding principle. This legal standard accounts for the child’s overall well-being and happiness, and it is the top priority when making custody decisions. 

Factors Considered in Custody Decisions

The court considers several factors, such as:

  • The stability and suitability of each parent’s home environment.
  • Their ability to meet the child’s physical and emotional needs.
  • The child’s current relationships with each parent and any siblings.

As a child in North Carolina grows older and matures, the courts may also account for their preferences and opinions. Before basing any decision on the child’s wishes, the court makes sure that they understand the consequences of their choices.

History of Care and Parental Involvement

Before granting custody to one or both parents, the courts must be assured that each parent can meet the child’s physical and emotional needs. Typically, each parent’s home environment, work schedule, and financial stability are used as guiding factors to determine child custody in the state. 

Additionally, each parent’s mental and physical well-being are also considered in these decisions. Certain health conditions could affect a person’s parenting abilities, hindering the child’s upbringing. In those cases, the courts could decide to grant custody to the other parent. Once again, the child’s safety and well-being are the top priorities of the court. 

Any allegations of abuse or domestic violence can make a huge difference in custody decisions. If there is evidence of abuse, that parent’s custody rights or even visitation can be impacted. 

Grandparents and Custody

Child custody matters may involve other family members, such as grandparents. North Carolina allows the child’s grandparents to seek custody. In those situations, where both parents are unable or unfit to care for the child, the grandparents can request to be granted custody from the courts. 

Learn More About Child Custody in North Carolina

To ensure the well-being of children during family transitions, courts want to balance state statutes with the child’s best interests. While it can be a complex process, the top objective is to provide an environment where children can flourish and thrive.

If you would like to learn what could affect your child custody in North Carolina, Stephen E. Robertson Law Office is here to help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation for your case. Call us at 336-370-6760.