child custody

What You Need to Know About Child Custody Laws in North Carolina

Navigating through child custody matters can be an emotional and legally complex process. However, having a good understanding of the guidelines that govern these cases can help you feel more confident and prepared. 

In North Carolina, the child’s best interests are the top priority in custody decisions. Learn about the different types of custody, the factors that courts consider, the role of mediation, and the potential for modifications. 

Types of Custody

North Carolina has two types of child custody arrangements: physical and legal

With physical custody, the courts will decide where the child will reside. Shared physical custody arrangements allow the child to spend time with both parents. This agreement enables both parents to be involved in the child’s life. On the other hand, sole physical custody means that the child lives with one parent. However, visitation rights can be granted to the other parent. 

Legal custody centers around the decision-making authority for important aspects of the child’s life, such as education, healthcare, and religion. In joint legal custody, both parents share decision-making responsibilities. If the court awards sole legal custody grants, then one parent has exclusive decision-making power.

Out-of-Court Custody Solutions

Fortunately, North Carolina parents can create their own custody agreements with approval from the courts. The parents can outline the visitation schedule, custody arrangements, and parental responsibilities. Once the court approves these plans, the agreement will be legally binding. 

Parents can tailor the details to meet the child’s needs with these agreements. Plus, it is a more amicable way to settle these important matters. 

Sometimes, parents cannot agree to these agreements. In those cases, the courts may require mediation. This process involves a third party who will help negotiate with the parents. 

Once again, the child’s best interests are at the forefront of these sessions. Mediation is one way parents can reach a mutually acceptable resolution in their case. 

However, if the above methods do not yield the mutually agreeable results, the court must make a final decision. The court will make custody arrangements that provide stability, consistency, and a nurturing environment for the child. 

Can You Modify Custody Agreements?

Custody arrangements are not set in stone. They can be modified if a change in circumstances warrants it or if the modification would better serve the child’s best interests. Common reasons for modification include: 

  • A parent’s relocation
  • Changes in a parent’s ability to provide care
  • Concerns about the child’s safety

To request a modification, a parent must petition the court. After that, the court will evaluate whether the proposed change is necessary and beneficial for the child.

Let Us Assist With Your Child Custody Case

North Carolina’s child custody laws prioritize the child’s well-being above all else. Whether parents agree on arrangements or require court intervention, the focus remains on creating a stable and nurturing environment for the child’s best interests. 

If you would like to learn about which child custody laws in North Carolina apply to your case, 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.