Child Custody

When going through a divorce, one of the most important things to the parents is the well-being of their children. In fact, the impact of a divorce on the children can be the most emotionally charged and difficult part of a separation and divorce. Issues such as physical and legal custody as well as visitation schedules must be worked out between parents and can often be a point of contention. How these issues are resolved can have a huge impact on the life of the child and the amount of child support that must be paid. As a result, if you are thinking of getting a divorce in North Carolina, it is critical to consult with an experienced family law attorney who can advise you of your rights and responsibilities. Please contact the family attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC and we can advise you during this difficult and often emotional time.

Types of Custody

Generally, custody can be broken into two types - physical custody and legal custody.

Physical custody is the decision of where the child will live. Physical custody can take the form of either sole or joint custody. Under sole custody, one parent will have the exclusive care of the child. Alternatively, joint custody can involve a number of different arrangements depending on what the parties agree to or a judge decides.

Legal custody involves the right of parents to make important decisions on behalf of their child. Issues of major significance involving a child’s health, education, and life can hinge on which parent has legal custody.

In the state of North Carolina, there is no presumption about which parent is better suited to have custody of the child(ren). Instead, the judge will try to determine the best interest of the child and will consider all factors that may impact the well-being of the child. Generally, courts prefer if both parents are involved in their child’s life, but there is never any automatic custody or visitation.

Temporary Parenting Agreements

The issue of temporary custody is normally not relevant in Mecklenburg County unless there are some circumstances about the child’s safety involved or one parent asks to have a temporary custody hearing. Instead, the parent who has physical custody of the child is normally thought to have temporary custody until the pending claims are heard.

If the parties cannot come to an agreement about where the child will live, then a Judge can grant a Temporary Parenting Hearing. Typically, this is a short hearing in order to determine the temporary custodial situation. While the result of this hearing is very important, the Judge is not required to follow the result in the permanent custody trial.

Contact Us

If you or someone you know need assistance with a child custody matter, please contact one of our family law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC. You can do this by calling 704-370-2828 or send us your information on our Contact Us tab.