How Do I Prepare for a Custody Case?
When parents divorce, they often disagree about some of the fundamental settlement terms. Disputes regarding the children are among the most common arguments between divorcing couples. In North Carolina, both parents often share legal custody of their children. This is called shared parenting or co-parenting. The children typically live primarily with one parent and have regular visits with the other parent. Sometimes, parents cannot agree on child custody. When that happens, it can make the divorce process more difficult and stressful.
Child custody consists of two main parts, including legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody allows parents the ability to make decisions for their children about matters such as education, medical care, and religion, among others. Both parents often share legal custody. Physical custody refers to where the child resides. Usually, a child spends more time living with one parent than the other. This arrangement may provide the most stable home environment for a child. However, there are situations where parents have joint physical custody.
Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold answers the question: “Does adultery affect who gets custody?”
Resolving Custody Disputes
Custody disputes are common, but sometimes they escalate. The court expects couples to resolve their divorce settlement disputes, including child custody issues, before they finalize their divorce. If a couple still does not agree about child custody, the judge may require the parties to participate in custody mediation. Parents meet with a trained professional who assist with custody dispute resolution. If you still cannot come to an agreement, a judge will need to hear your case and make a ruling. Remember, the judge will always act in the best interest of the child.
Preparing for Court
If you do not resolve your custody dispute, you will be headed to court. You will want to prepare to present your case in front of the judge. Make sure you review the North Carolina child custody laws. If you are a single father, you must first establish paternity before you can seek custody or visitation. Make a parenting plan that you can submit to the court. A parenting plan should provide details about where the child will reside, how and when visitation will take place, how vacations and holidays will be spent, and more.
Gather evidence to present to the judge that establishes your relationship with the child. For instance, you may show photos, messages, and other things that will prove you have a strong bond with the child. You will also want to provide any proof of problems, such as instances where the other parent failed to show up on time or didn’t take proper care of the child. The judge will review all information in order to make the best decision possible. Your attorney will help you make a list of items that you should prepare for your court case.
Custody cases can be extremely challenging, and they will have a long-term impact on you and your family. A skilled child custody attorney will advocate for you and provide a strong case on your behalf. To learn more about child custody, contact our legal team at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, at (704) 370-2828.
The family law practice group at Arnold & Smith, PLLC includes two Board-Certified Family Law specialists and one Child Welfare Law specialist, as well as several attorneys with many years of family law experience that are committed to providing a powerful voice to individuals facing the often-tumultuous issues in this area of law. The range of issues our family law clients may be facing include pre- and post-nuptial agreements; separation agreements; post-separation support; child support (both temporary and permanent); absolute divorce; divorce from bed and board; military divorce; equitable distribution of assets; child custody (both temporary and permanent); retirement benefits and divorce; alimony and spousal support; adoption; and emancipation. Because this area of the law is usually emotionally charged and complicated, the family law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC act with the utmost dedication to ensure that each client understands his or her options, and then act to achieve the best result possible for that client’s particular situation.
General Statute Sections – North Carolina General Assembly (ncleg.gov)
Custody Mediation | North Carolina Judicial Branch (nccourts.gov)
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