When parents cannot agree on custody arrangements, a child custody agreement or order can determine how custody will be handled. It defines whether a parent has sole or joint custody and the physical custody schedule of the child, along with holiday schedules. Without this agreement in place, either parent can legally take physical custody of the child. For that reason, you need a child custody lawyer representing your best interests at any point when you are negotiating custody of your children in North Carolina.
How King Law’s Experienced North Carolina Family Law Attorney Can Help
King Law’s founding partner, Brian King, specializes in North Carolina family law. When you contact our family law attorneys, you’ll find we are dedicated to building a trusted relationship with you to understand the specifics of your circumstances and what is most important for your family.
Having an experienced North Carolina family law attorney advocate for you during your child custody situation can help in many ways, like:
- Taking the confusion out of the legal process
- Ensuring your parental rights are upheld
- Providing peace of mind knowing your best interests are represented
North Carolina custody laws are highly complex. Attorney Brian King has specialized training and experience that provides excellent advantages to clients in child custody matters. When you retain our North Carolina family law attorneys, you can be confident that we will do all within our power to develop an arrangement that suits your family and each child’s needs.
How Are Child Custody Cases Handled in North Carolina?
Parents who are separating or divorcing in North Carolina are encouraged to form a child custody agreement before involving the courts. Child custody orders define many aspects of a child’s life, including:
- Overall well-being
- Medical care
- Religious teaching
- Leisure or recreational activities
A child custody order is not a one-size-fits-all agreement. It should explicitly address each child’s and family member’s needs as they are now and with the capacity to adjust them in the future.
What Are the Advantages of a Custody Order?
The benefits to having a custody order range widely, but they all provide peace of mind. Some of the advantages include that these agreements:
- Protect the rights of the parent(s) taking care of the child
- Establish a specific physical custody and holiday schedule
- Define what school the child will attend if the parents do not live in the same school district
- Allow for the enforcement of a regular visitation or custody schedule
Even when custody situations are agreeable without an official child custody order, parents should still consider establishing one. If both parents are friendly toward each other, it may be helpful to engage in mediation or collaborative law, which does not require litigation. Still, it can help parents establish a schedule that’s suitable for everyone involved.
If your custody situation is not agreeable, you should consider filing a complaint about child custody to establish a custody order. Taking this step will protect your rights as a parent and prevent the other parent from denying you the right to see your child.
How Can a Custody Agreement Be Established in North Carolina?
A custody order can be formed in various ways, including:
- Mutual agreement without legal assistance
- Collaborative law
- Filing a custody action in court, which still provides the opportunity for mediation and negotiations, with the help of an attorney
Consult King Law’s North Carolina family law attorneys to determine which approach to establishing a child custody agreement best suits your family’s unique needs.
How Do North Carolina Courts Determine Child Custody?
According to Blackley v. Blackley, 285 N.C. 358 (1974), some of the factors that a judge will consider when determining custody include those pertaining to the child’s development in the following ways:
Often, clients are worried about how seriously the judge will treat their child’s requests and whether the judge will make decisions in line with them. Some fathers may feel disadvantaged while some mothers may feel overconfident due to their gender. The reality, however, is very different. The judge makes no assumptions between a mother or father, as was upheld in Rosero v. Blake, 357 N.C. 193 (2003), which stated:
“Between a mother and father, whether natural or adoptive, there is no presumption as to who will…better promote the interest and welfare of the child.”
When you partner with King Law’s North Carolina child custody lawyers, we will ensure that the judge considers what is best for your children.
Contact Seasoned North Carolina Family Law Attorneys for Help with Child Custody
If you’re a parent who shares custody of your child and is considering a separation or divorce in North Carolina, it may be time to consult an attorney to learn your options. King Law’s founding partner Brian King specializes in North Carolina family law and can help you negotiate custody and visitation arrangements that meet your family’s best interests. At King Law, we realize the difficulties involved in any family law matter. That’s why we take the necessary time to listen to your concerns, understand what matters most, and help you navigate the child custody process to secure the most beneficial outcomes for you and your family.
To consult a knowledgeable North Carolina family law attorney today, schedule a consultation by completing our contact form or calling (888) 748-KING (5464).
Frequently Asked Questions
How Does the Court Decide Who Gets Child Custody?
Courts award custody based on the best interest of the child. When determining what is in the best interest of the child the court considers many variables. South Carolina Code § 63-15-240 provides a list of possible considerations the court may use.
These considerations include: (1) the temperament and developmental needs of the child; (2) the capacity of parents to understand and meet the needs of the child; (3) the preferences of each child; (4) the wishes of the parents as to custody; (5) the past and current interaction and relationship of the child with various family members; (6) the actions of each parent to encourage the continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent; (7) the manipulation by or coercive behavior of the parents in an effort to involve the child in the parents’ dispute; (8) any effort by one parent to disparage the other parent in front of the child; (9) the ability of each parent to be actively involved in the life of the child; (10) the child’s adjustment to his or her home, school, and community environments; (11) the stability of the child; (12) the mental and physical health of all individuals involved; (13) the child’s cultural and spiritual background; (14) whether the child/sibling has been abused or neglected; (15) parents history of domestic violence; (16) whether one parent has relocated; and (17) other factors as the court considers necessary.
The court has the discretion to weigh factors they deem necessary to make the determination of the best interest of the child. No one factor is more important than the other. It is important to speak with an attorney in order to understand what factors weigh in favor of your preferred child custody arrangement.
Can the Court Modify a Child Custody Order in South Carolina?
It is possible to modify a child custody order under certain circumstances. If both parties agree then the process of modification is relatively simple however it does involve petitioning the court. An attorney can help you if you want to change a child custody order and all parties agree.
If all parties do not agree the party wishing to change the order must show that there has been a significant change in circumstances. The change in circumstances must affect the child’s best interest and must be major. An attorney can advise as to whether the change in circumstances may be enough to modify the child custody order. If the court modifies an order they will make a new determination of child custody based on the same factors they did in the initial proceeding. Those factors are listed in South Carolina Code § 63-15-240.
When Should I Hire a Child Custody Attorney in South Carolina?
You should hire an attorney as early in the process as possible to be sure you are fully advised of all aspects of your case and you can ensure your rights are protected.