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How Do Parent-Child Bonds Impact Custody Decisions in North Carolina

While there are many important factors that may impact a judge’s final decision when it comes to child custody, the parent-child bond is perhaps one of the most important. This should come as no surprise, as the relationship between a parent and a child is crucial to the mental and emotional well-being of a family as a whole. While financial and logistical factors are also considered, judges generally agree that the parent-child bond is an integral consideration when assessing a child’s best interests.

But what exactly is the parent-child bond, anyway? How does a judge assess the relationship between a parent and a child? How will your relationship with your son or daughter impact your ability to maintain custody after the divorce is finalized? Is a parent-child bond assessed purely on the basis of how much time you spent with your child? Can a child express their own opinions about the strength of their relationship with a particular parent, and when are these opinions legally recognized?

All of these questions and many others can be easily answered by a qualified divorce attorney in North Carolina. Our legal professionals understand that child custody is often a top priority for spouses who are getting divorced in the Tar Heel State, and we can help you work toward a positive legal outcome. When you understand how the parent-child bond affects your chances of retaining custody, it becomes much easier to proceed in a confident manner.

What is a Parent-Child Bond?

The parent-child bond is the relationship that was established between the parent and the child during the divorce. The strength of this bond becomes very important when determining matters related to child custody. There are many factors that a judge may consider when awarding custody, but the parent-child bond is an especially important one. Remember, judges in North Carolina focus entirely on the child’s best interests when determining child custody.

Why is the Parent-Child Bond Important?

Obviously, it is in the child’s best interests to spend more time with a person with whom they have a strong relationship. This eases the potential psychological impact of the divorce on the child, and it ensures that they have a solid foundation of familiarity in their home environment. Being forced to spend time with a parent they hardly know is not going to help the child get through this difficult time.

How is a Parent-Child Bond Defined?

A parent-child bond is defined in a number of different ways. Most judges consider the amount of time a parent has spent with their child first and foremost. This means that a stay-at-home parent will almost always have a significant advantage when it comes to child custody, since they spend more time with the child. A parent who has considerable work commitments may not have the opportunity to spend as much time with the child. Even if a primary breadwinner is an extremely capable parent, they will likely be at a disadvantage when it comes to custody decisions.

However, the parent-child bond is not solely based on the amount of time that a child spends with the parent. There are other more complex factors at play, such as the level of care and friendliness parents show their child. A stay-at-home parent can easily develop a soured relationship with a child, and this young one might actually prefer to spend time with the primary breadwinner. Instances of abuse or neglect by either parent can severely hinder their chances of retaining meaningful custody.

Can the Child Express an Opinion?

In many cases, the most obvious solution is to ask the child about their relationship with each parent. At a certain age, a child can legally express a preference when it comes to child custody decisions, and a judge will consider these preferences. But even if a child is too young to express a preference, a judge can still listen to their opinions and use this information to assess the strength of the child-parent bond.

Enlist the Help of a Qualified, Experienced Attorney

If you have been searching North Carolina for a divorce attorney, look no further than Arnold Smith, PLLC. We understand how important it is for parents to spend time with their children, and we will fight for your right to spend as much time with your young ones as possible after your divorce. Although there are many factors that may impact a judge’s decision when they consider child custody, your bond with your child can have a significant impact. However, a parent-child bond can be interpreted in many different ways. Work with an experienced attorney, and you can present this parent-child bond in the best possible light. Reach out and book your consultation today.