It's never easy to end a marriage or partnership. And when children are involved, it can be even more complicated—often, one of the most difficult parts of a divorce involves children. You love your children, want what's best for them, and are willing to stand up for it.
It's a common myth that judges favor mothers over fathers in a child custody case. Or, sometimes you'll hear people say that a mother “automatically” gets custody of the children. The truth, though is not this simple. Custody is usually filtered into two components: physical and legal, and there can be joint or sole custody. In North Carolina, custody determinations are made using the “child's best interest” standard, which the judge will evaluate.
However, before a hearing, state law requires that any contested custody or visitation cases first participate in the Custody Mediation and Visitation Program.
How Will Custody Be Decided?
The courts will consider several different factors to establish what is in the child's best interest. These factors include:
- Whether or not there's a history of substance abuse or domestic violence
- The child's current living situation
- The parents' work schedules and availability to be home when the child is home
- Whether or not a parent can create a safe and stable environment for the child
- The relationship that the parent has with the child(ren).
- What is the parent's ability to care for the child?
- What will maintain the most consistency for the child—what will help keep current routines (school, child care, living arrangements, etc.)
- Finally, courts will sometimes consider what the child's wishes are; however, their decision is not based solely on this input
Experienced North Carolina Family Law Attorney
Every situation involving child custody is unique, and you may still have questions about child custody in North Carolina. At Jerkins Family Law, we strive to help ease the transitions of tough changes. If you have any concerns or questions, please feel free to reach out to me, and I'll do my best to assist you with your case. Contact us online or call us at (919) 719-2785.