Child custody is a complicated issue in North Carolina – and parents understandably have many questions about the topic. For specific answers to questions about your unique situation, you should talk to an attorney at Teddy, Meekins & Talbert, P.L.L.C.
Below are general answers to some of the most common questions about child custody in North Carolina.
What Are Child Custody and Visitation?
According to the North Carolina courts, custody is the right to keep your child in your care and make life decisions on their behalf. These decisions include issues like where the child will go to school and managing their medical treatment.
Visitation is the legal right to spend time with a child. In many cases, the courts set up a schedule to determine when each parent can spend time with the child.
What Is the Difference Between Legal and Physical Custody?
If you have legal custody of your children, you have the authority to make life decisions for them. Physical custody means you can have the child in your physical care, either part-time or full-time. A parent may have legal custody of a child without having physical custody of them. Moreover, physical custody is distinct from visitation rights – a term that refers to the relatively limited amount of time a non-custodial parent spends with their child.
How Is Custody Determined?
North Carolina’s child custody laws do not automatically favor either parent. The courts make decisions according to what is best for the child. If the child’s parents cannot agree on their own, the courts may use the following factors to determine custody:
- The child’s current living arrangements
- The child’s relationship with each parent
- How well each parent can take care of the child
- Any history of domestic violence in the family
Who Can File for Child Custody or Visitation?
The state court system says either of a child’s parents can file for custody. Grandparents and other relatives can file for custody in certain circumstances but must show that the parents cannot care for the child.
What Is Mediation vs. Arbitration?
In both mediation and arbitration, the child’s parents meet with a neutral party trained to help resolve custody disputes. The critical difference is that mediation is non-binding, while an arbitrator’s decision usually carries the authority of a court order.
What Is the Impact of Allegations of Domestic Violence?
If the child’s other parent accuses you of domestic violence, you may struggle to obtain custody or visitation rights. Contact a child custody lawyer immediately if the child’s other parent accuses you of domestic violence.
What Happens When the Child Turns 18?
Once a child reaches age 18, they are a legal adult and no longer has to follow court orders concerning custody and visitation. They are free to associate with whomever they wish.
You want to do what is best for you and your child. A child custody attorney can help you find a solution that meets your needs. Without a lawyer’s help, you may lose your right to custody of your child.
Do you need help with a North Carolina child custody case? Contact Teddy, Meekins & Talbert, P.L.L.C., today for a confidential case review.