How Do Courts Determine Who Gets Custody

Mom and daughter laughing together

In North Carolina, State Code Section 50-11.2 and State Code 50-13.1 define child custody in the state. As outlined in the law, parents have the option to obtain sole or joint custody, grandparents may file for visitation rights, and children may state their parental preferences. Parents who arrive at an agreement may set up their own child custody arrangements.

However, when an accord isn’t reached, mediation is scheduled. When mediation doesn’t resolve the issues, the court schedules a child custody hearing after the divorce trial has concluded. A Raleigh Child Custody Lawyer assists parents in the cases and explains how child custody is determined by a judge.

Any History of Domestic Violence?

The child custody arrangements must present the most suitable living environment for the child. A parent who has a criminal history of domestic violence is less likely to acquire custody due to an elevated risk to the child. If the child was involved in the crime, the opposing parent could acquire sole custody.

The Safety of the Child

The lifestyle of each parent is reviewed. Any circumstances that place the child at risk are determining factors in the case. Alcoholism, drug addiction, and other criminal activities substantiated during the hearing could tip the scales. Any allegations of a risk to the child are investigated by child protective services, and the findings are reported to the judge.

The Current Living Environment

The child’s current living environment is evaluated, too. The court reviews how well the child has adjusted to their current living conditions and if the conditions are suitable. The purpose of the child custody arrangement is to provide the child with the most stable home life possible. However, this doesn’t indicate that the parent who has possession of the child prior to the hearing is guaranteed primary custody of the child.

The Relationship with Each Parent

The child’s relationship with each parent is the next factor. Children are often closer to one parent as studies show. In the custody arrangement, each party should have the opportunity to have a relationship with the child. However, if either parent creates instability for the child, the judge may consider assigning primary custody to the parent who has the closer relationship with the child if she or he is more suitable.

A Parent’s Ability to Provide Care for the Child

The income and earning capacity are assessed to establish each parent’s ability to provide care for the child. Each parent must have the capacity to provide financial and emotional support for the child. The same calculations are applied to determining child support payments. However, in terms of custody, the parent must maintain a stable work history and have access to child care while they are working. All basic needs of the child must be met according to child custody laws.

Daphne Edwards Divorce and Family Law

Daphne Edwards provides help for parents to achieve the best possible outcome for their case. She understands current child custody laws and which factors judges review prior to a custody hearing. The attorney provides clarification for parents who don’t understand how applicable laws affect their case, too.

In North Carolina, child custody arrangements are determined by a judge when a hearing is necessary. The judge reviews specific factors related to both parents and establish which parent is the most suitable choice. The state allows children who are at least twelve to submit their parental preferences to the judge. Parents who need assistance during a custody hearing contact a Raleigh Child Custody Lawyer at Daphne Edwards Divorce and Family Law or visit for more information right now.

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