Child Custody in North Carolina
Child custody is a topic that family law attorneys in Charlotte are often asked about. We get calls from clients who want custody of children. Unfortunately, they often don’t know what that entails, what that means, and how to go about it. In this blog, we will attempt to give some insight into certain definitions. However, always remember, there is no substitute for consulting a family law attorney if you have in depth questions.
There are a vast number of topics within child custody that we will cover in other blogs. The information we provide in this blog is only meant to explain and clarify the most basic frequently asked questions that we receive.
How do I start a child custody action?
Any parent of a minor child can start a child custody action by filing a complaint in the county that is considered the child’s home state. Typically, if there is no prior child custody action involving this child, it is the county that the child has resided in in the past six months.
What types of custody are there?
There are two types of child custody; physical custody and legal custody. This is one of the biggest areas of confusion that we have seen when clients are asking for custody. They simply don’t know what they are asking for.
Physical custody refers to who is physically caring for the child, who the child is living with, and when that occurs. For example, the courts determinations regarding who the child primarily lives with, and when a parent gets to have visitation are all part of the order regarding physical custody. Visitation is grouped up into this category.
Legal custody is the authority to make decisions regarding the minor child. For example, who gets to decide medical treatments, school, and spiritual upbringing are all part of the order with regard to legal custody.
What determines who gets custody?
In a child custody trial, North Carolina uses a standard that is referred to as “best interest of the child”. This means that a judge will hear from both sides and make a determination about whether each parent is fit and proper to raise the child, and what custody arrangement would be in the child’s best interest.
Several factors are considered including but not limited to; criminal history, drug use, domestic violence, school districts, household factors, and who has been the primary care giver of the child.
If you are or plan to be involved in a Child Custody case in North Carolina, you should seriously consider talking to a Lawyer that handles child custody matters. At Gilles Law, we handle Child Custody matters in Charlotte and the surrounding areas. Contact us for more information.