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Articles Tagged with divorcing parents

Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What can I do to gain custody of my child in North Carolina?”

When we think of custody disputes we normally think of fights between divorcing parents, sometimes grandparents. Though these do represent the vast majority of cases, as blended families are increasingly common, it is not unusual for a custody case to involve stepparents. These cases can be emotional given the close family ties and complex given the legal requirements. Keep reading to find out more about stepparent rights in a custody dispute.

Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What can I do to gain custody of my child in North Carolina?”


In North Carolina, the ultimate arbiter of custody is the District Court judge. The District Court judge is vested, by statute, with the authority to determine who should have custody of a child and the terms under which custody shall be exercised.

Child on school bus Mecklenburg Divorce Lawyer Family Law Law firmOf course, the decisions of a District Court judge are subject to appeal, but when parties do appeal a District Court decision and one of the state courts of appeal decides to entertain the appeal, those courts frequently uphold the decisions of District Courts, and if they do not, many times they simply clarify the manner in which a judge should have considered the case and send it right back to the District Court to consider the case anew.

A party’s presentation regarding custody is made in District Court, and the person a party needs to convince is the District Court judge. Many parties believe a good way of convincing a District Court judge that they should have custody of a child is to have the child testify before the court. After all, who better knows what is in one’s best interest than oneself?

The problem with that ideas is that minor children are considered “infants” or “incompetents” under North Carolina law. Minor children do not have the capacity, for instance, to enter into contracts. A court will not take a proposal to allow a minor child to testify lightly. A judge will likely conduct a hearing to consider whether testimony would be appropriate in a particular case, and if so, what measures or protections may be afforded to the child while testifying.

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Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “Can any attorney help me with my family law needs in North Carolina?”


Remorse is, perhaps, the most difficult of human emotions. Anyone who has passed through the crucible of divorce may know what it means to contend with remorse, or to contend with “what could have been.”

Old couple Charlotte Divorce Lawyer North Carolina Family Law AttorneySadly, many divorces leave a trail of broken hearts. These include the hearts of children, who are often unwitting, innocent victims of a broken marriage.

Adult children of divorced or divorcing parents are not immune to these feelings. To an adult child whose parents have been married for decades, the concept of divorce—at least applied to one’s own parents—may seem foreign. What’s more, because adult children tend to move away from their parents’ home, they may miss signs of marital trouble displayed behind closed doors.

Ellen Huerta, who writes about romantic breakups on her website Mend, recalls that since her parents’ marriage had survived her own childhood and young adulthood, she just assumed it would last forever—or until death did them part.

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