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Child Custody in North Carolina

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What is a “Parenting Plan”?

In North Carolina, a child’s residential schedule and parents' rights and responsibilities are often laid out in a “parenting plan.” Parenting plans are commonly negotiated between both parents, and can be approved by a judge and made into a court order. If the parents cannot agree on the details of who should have custody, a judge decides who gets custody and their decision is drafted into a court order.

What Happens When the Other Parent Does Not Follow the Judge’s Order?

Once a judge signs a custody order, both parties are bound to follow the its terms. If one party does not follow the order, there could be serious consequences– including being in contempt of court, which could lead to jail time. If you feel like you or the other parent have "breached" a child custody order, call us at 910-253-5400 so we can assist you in creating a plan to move forward.

What Are the Different Types of Custody?

Physical custody is the decision as to where the child will live.

Legal custody is the rights of the parent/s to determine important decisions for their children, including education, health, and religion.

North Carolina has no set rule as to which parent would be better suited to have physical or legal custody of the child. The judge will make a ruling based on what she/he thinks is in the “Best Interest of the Child.” The ruling may be that parents will have joint custody, or one parent may have sole custody. Most often, the judge will give custody to the parent who is the “primary caretaker,” meaning the parent who spends the most significant amount of time with the child. This is important because that parent will know their daily routine and needs, and likely have the most intimate relationship with the child.

If Both Parents Are Sharing Custody, Who Pays Child Support?

Whether a parent will have to pay child support depends on the following factors: the parents’ income, who is/or will pay for health care and child care costs, and how many overnight visits each parent enjoys.

What Can We Do For You?

Child custody is often the single most difficult aspect of a divorce or separation. Determining which parent will receive physical and/or legal custodyas well as visitationis one of the most complex areas of family law.  As family lawyers, we want to help you achieve your goals, whether that be to establish full custody of your minor child, or to be granted visitation. We possess the dedication and sensitivity required to successfully assist you through these trying times, and we want to prove it to you. Please refer to our Google Business reviews as a testimony to our efforts in helping our clients through child custody issues in Brunswick County, New Hanover County, and the surrounding areas.

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