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In North Carolina, when you separate from your child’s other parent, there are a lot of things to consider and plan for. In most cases, it is best to have a consent order entered as to your child custody arrangement, and any child support obligations. A custody order is required to enforce any agreements as to child custody.
In North Carolina, there are two kinds of child custody: legal child custody, and physical child custody. Legal child custody concerns decision making, and what parent is making such decisions as to where the minor child is attending school, what doctor and dental treatments the minor child will have, what religious practices the child will adhere to, and what extracurricular activities and events the child will participate in. Physical custody, on the other hand, concerns what parenting time each parent will spend with the minor children.
Most cases involving child custody are resolved by direct negotiations with the opposing party, and the remainder are resolved through the process of mediation. Most jurisdictions require the parties to attend a mandatory mediation before they may present their child custody case in front of a judge. Mediation is often successful as it gives the parties the ability to maintain a sense of control in resolving and settling their matter. In the event your spouse or partner is unreasonable, and unwilling to settle, your case may be forced into litigation, where the judge determines a child custody arrangement dependent upon the best interests of the minor child.
If you need to speak with a child custody attorney regarding a child custody matter, please contact Adkins Law. We are located in Huntersville NC and are happy to be of service.
If you are contemplating separation and divorce, and need to speak with an experienced family law attorney, contact Adkins Law. We are located in Huntersville NC, and serve the greater Charlotte NC area.
A common question that comes up when dealing with child custody issues for service members involves deployments. Can my ex use my past and / or potential future military deployments against me in our custody matter? In North Carolina, in a proceeding for child custody of a service member, a court may NOT consider a parent’s past deployment(s) or possible future deployments as the ONLY basis in determining the best interest of the child. The court MAY consider any significant impact on the best interest of the child regarding the parent’s past or possible future deployments.
Thus, in determining what is in the best interest of the minor child for custody arrangements, military deployments of a parent may be considered as a factor, but may not be the only factor to consider in determining a custody arrangement.
Contact Adkins Law if you wish to discuss your child custody issues with a family law attorney.
There are several different types of Child Custody:
How is Custody Determined?
Court will decide where the child will live and what type of custody will or should be awarded to each parent. If the parents have come to an agreement, the courts will often take that into consideration before making the decision for the family and the child.
If no agreement can be made, then the court will choose based on the “best interests” of the child. The court considers a wide variety of factors to determine the best arrangement for custody of the child.
The factors the courts consider:
Adkins Law can help you understand any and all complexities of your child custody case. Call Adkins Law today for more information and to schedule a consultation.
Adults who plan their vacations in accordance to their work schedule experience difficulty when attempting to coordinate with their family’s busy activities. This is especially true with adults who share custody of their children with another parent. Parents who take their child across state lines in violation of a custody order can expose themselves to contempt of court charges and, potentially, charges of parental kidnapping.
In some cases, adults share custody of their children under a court order that addresses the issue of out-of-state travel. In the event that the order allows or in does not prohibit traveling across state lines, a parent is permitted to travel with their children from state to state. However, it is imperative that traveling parents look for restrictions on their custody order. A common restriction in such an order is that the traveling parent must receive consent from the other parent to take the kids out of state. Even if the order does not require it, it is best to get the other parent’s consent in writing. Written consent could be helpful in case a dispute arises in the future.
While traveling out of state, keeping the other parent informed of the itinerary can help ease tension. In most cases this is not a requirement. However, if the parent fails to abide by the terms of the court order or written permission of the other parent, the traveling parent could face civil or criminal penalties. A federal or state warrant may also be issued and the parent may face charges under the International Parental Kidnapping Crime Act.
Custody Order Not in Place
In some instances, parents want to travel out of state with their child, but custody is still pending or no order is in place. In this case, it is wise to seek the consent of the other parent or receive court approval. Establishing a record of unilateral actions without consulting the other parent can make a judge believe that that parent will not be able to effectively co-parent, and could potentially lead to modification of an existing custody order.
Questions about child custody and visitation are frequent during and after divorce, and when establishing paternity. In some cases, due to changed conditions or events, or the need of one parent to move, orders relating to child custody or visitation may need to be modified. Careful wording is needed for a strong and fair revision to a preexisting order. In North Carolina, there are specific situations that allow for the modification of a child custody order.
Requirements for Modification of a Child Custody Order
For a child custody order to be modified there must be a custody order already set in place. A separation agreement that has not been incorporated does not meet the requirements of a court order. A parenting agreement or a consent order that has been signed by a judge and the parents (or legal guardian) constitutes as a court order. Likewise, an order that has been registered to allow modifications is also an order that can be modified.
The legal standard in North Carolina is the best interest standard - what is in the best interests of the minor child. As the name implies, the best interest standard places the child’s welfare above all else by allowing the court to make a decision in the child’s best interest. Additionally, if a judge hears a child custody case where there is no order in place or there is only a temporary order, this legal standard is utilized.
The best interest standard is only considered when there has been sufficient evidence to prove that there has been substantial change affecting the child. The district court judge must find substantial change of circumstances prior to changing an existing order. The party seeking modification has the burden of showing changed circumstances. Even though the party seeking modification has the obligation to provide the court with any pertinent evidence relating to the best interest standard, the trial court has the ultimate responsibility of requiring production of any evidence that may be competent and relevant to the issue. Therefore, the best interest standard is more inquisitorial in nature than adversarial.
There is no statute of limitation that limits the amount of time that must pass before a motion to modify may be filed as long as the person filing the motion can meet their burden and prove a substantial change of circumstances.
Basic Rules for Modification
It is impossible to construct an exhaustive list of circumstances that the court considers in order to modify a child custody order. However, below are a list of basic rules that courts follow in order to make their determination:
If you need to speak with a child custody / family law attorney, contact Adkins Law. We are located in Huntersville NC and primarily serve Mecklenburg County and the Lake Norman area.
There are a multitude of things that one can do in order to maximize their chances of having more custody over their child/children. Documentation is key. The best thing you can do in this scenario is to document everything that takes place between you, your child/children, and the other parent.
When discussing child custody, the first thing a judge is going to take notice to is the relationship between each parent and the child. Get involved! Create a stable environment for your child, help your child in school, and get involved in your child’s after school activities. Become the most important actor in your child’s life. The best way to better your chances at getting your ideal custody order is to prove that you are a benefit to your child’s development and well-being.
The State of North Carolina has abolished any bias over either the mother or the father. The courts must keep in mind the best interest of the child in order to determine a custody arrangement. This being said, it is never too late to create a special bond between you and your child/children. It is never too late to step up to the plate and be the responsible parent that your child needs in order to continue to develop and learn.
If you need to speak with a divorce / separation / family law attorney, contact Adkins Law. Adkins Law is located in Huntersville NC and primarily serves Mecklenburg County, Charlotte, and the Lake Norman area.