Child Custody Lawyer in Angier, NC

 
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Parents want to do what’s best for their children as far as living arrangements, educational opportunities, and general well-being. However, when the whole family isn’t living under one roof, there may be disputes over how to achieve certain familial goals.

Child custody questions are central in a divorce case, but these issues also arise between parents who aren’t married. Disagreements often end up in court, where judges are forced to apply the law and procedural rules. Despite the child’s best interests being the primary consideration, strict adherence to these statutes could end up in a custody arrangement that’s far from what parents envision for their child’s future. You can eliminate the uncertainty and stress by working with a skilled Angier family lawyer.

Knowledge of the relevant laws is critical in child custody matters in Harnett County, NC, and you can trust attorney Jonathan Breeden to employ his skills when representing your interests. He has been tackling child custody cases for clients in Angier and the surrounding areas for years. At Breeden Law Office, we understand that these matters are very personal, so we are dedicated to providing compassionate legal support.

For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact us today at (919) 809-6599.

Child Custody in Harnett County

There’s a common assumption that child custody questions only come up in divorce proceedings. While it’s true that divorcing parents have rights and responsibilities regarding decision-making, residence, and visitation regarding the child, custody may also be an important issue in paternity cases. Fathers want to spend time with their children and maintain strong bonds just as much as mothers.

State law provides for all types of child custody scenarios, regardless of how these questions arise. You can rely on a custody attorney to handle the complicated details as they pertain to your unique circumstances, but an overview of the definitions and key legal issues is also useful.

Getting Custody of Child in North Carolina

Getting Custody of Child in North Carolina

Child Custody Terminology

Though you may be familiar with the term “custody,” there are very specific definitions of the concept under state law:

  • Legal – When you have legal custody, you retain the authority to make important life choices related to raising your child. You can decide on education, religion, health care, extracurricular activities, sports, travel, entertainment, and many other areas. However, your child doesn’t have to live with you full-time for you to exercise legal custody rights.
  • Physical – This type of custody refers to where the child resides. Both parents may share physical custody.
  • Joint and Sole Custody – Parents may share legal and/or physical custody, and courts tend to prefer an arrangement that allows them to both be a part of a child’s life. With joint legal custody, each parent has the authority to make significant decisions. Unless there is a history or threat of violence, criminal activity, or circumstances, a judge will generally not order sole physical custody. North Carolina recognizes that children’s interests are typically best served when both parents can spend quality time with them.

If you have questions or concerns regarding what type of custody may be the right choice for you and your family, contact an Angier child custody lawyer for guidance today.

Determining Child Custody

State law encourages parents to compromise on legal and physical custody, visitation, and other matters relevant to raising their children. Child custody lawyers can provide advice during negotiations by identifying significant issues, explaining your options, and preparing the necessary paperwork. A judge is likely to approve and enter the appropriate court orders, so long as the agreement is in the child’s best interests.

However, the court will become involved when parents disagree about child custody. If this is the situation you find yourself in, a judge will conduct a hearing to resolve disputes. This proceeding is similar to a trial, including presentation of documents and witness testimony. If you don’t have a keen understanding of the legal concepts, statutes, and court procedures, you could lose significant parental rights. Retaining the help of a child custody attorney is essential to achieving your objectives in this hearing.

Non-Parental and Third-Party Custody

The traditional concept of the family has undergone considerable changes in recent years. For example, third parties or non-parents can now gain certain rights in child custody matters. Therefore, other individuals may be involved with custody cases, such as:

  • Grandparents
  • Siblings
  • Other relatives
  • Stepparents
  • Others as provided by law

Children’s Best Interests in Harnett County Custody Cases

The law requires that child custody and other determinations regarding minor children be made in accordance with the child’s best interests. All other considerations, including the wishes of the parents, are secondary. The statute doesn’t detail the factors that comprise the best interests standard. Judges make decisions through their own discretion, obtaining guidance from additional sources. The court may look to:

  • The child’s developmental needs
  • Each parent’s relationship with the child
  • The child’s wishes, depending on their age
  • Situations of domestic violence by either parent
  • How well parents can communicate regarding the child
  • Each parent’s physical and mental health
  • The residential environment offered at each parent’s home
  • Each parent’s willingness and ability to comply with court orders on custody

Courts recognize that the status quo often serves the best interests of the child in custody matters, as disruption can impact the child’s overall well-being. Generally, a judge also takes the approach that the custody should come as close as possible to the lifestyle that children enjoyed before their parents divorced or paternity was established.

Note that the child’s best interests are central to all matters in court and if you’re trying to work out a child custody agreement with the child’s other parent. Even when you reach a compromise, the judge will still review the agreement and apply the proper legal standard before entering a court order on custody.

For help with ensuring that your custody arrangement adheres to this standard, contact an Angier child custody lawyer for help today.

Angier Child Custody Matters

Because the best interests standard is so extensive and fundamental to all issues regarding minor children, you’ll need a custody lawyer who has attention to detail on the relevant factors. Plus, you want a strong legal professional to represent your interests if a dispute must go to court. Litigation and trial advocacy skills are essential.

A child custody attorney can help you with:

Custody Hearings

A judge will focus on a child’s best interests in all courtroom proceedings, so it’s crucial to present all evidence that supports your position on child custody.

Visitation

Though visitation is a distinct issue, it’s closely linked to legal and physical custody. A judge may address them together in accordance with the child’s needs.

Modifications of Child Custody

Your child custody arrangement may need to be modified if either parent’s circumstances change. Modifications cannot be achieved without going to court, because any new arrangement that contradicts the judge’s order would officially be against the law. You face serious consequences by trying to modify child custody without court approval.

Relocation of a Minor Child

When one parent wants to move for a job or for personal reasons, court approval may be necessary. Regardless of whether or not the child lives with you, relocation must be resolved in court depending upon the distance and whether you’re moving out of the state. Moving to a new residence may result in significant changes to the custody arrangement.

Interstate Custody Matters

When parents live in different states, there are child custody questions related to jurisdiction and other legal issues. Though all states have enacted statutes regarding the child’s best interests, these laws may be construed very differently from North Carolina’s.

Military Personnel and Custody

Members of the military have rights in child custody matters, but there are unique considerations in the application of the laws. Judges will take military service into account when applying the best interests standard.

Mediation on Custody

Participation in mediation can offer multiple benefits when you’re involved in a dispute over child custody. A neutral mediator can often bring the parties together on certain issues by identifying specific areas of disagreement and facilitating productive communication about the concerns of each parent. Coming to an agreement through mediation helps you avoid expensive court hearings.

For help with these issues or any matter related to custody, contact an Angier child custody lawyer today.

Benefits of Working with a Child Custody Attorney

The whole point of child custody is to protect the best interests of the children involved. When parents and other people have their own opinions about what’s best, custody disputes can turn contentious and complicated fast. Resolving them favorably takes legal skill, local court knowledge, and experience negotiating.

Working with a veteran attorney like Jonathan Breeden can reduce your stress, build confidence n your custody claim, and may be the difference in getting the custody arrangement that works for you and your children.

Legal Help From a Skilled Angier Child Custody Lawyer

This summary on the key topics, terminology, and legal issues in Angier child custody matters may be useful if you’re going through a divorce or a paternity case. Still, an overview cannot replace the advice only a legal professional can offer. Without an attorney by your side, you put your parental rights at risk, and you may jeopardize your relationship with your child.

Attorney Jonathan Breeden is dedicated to serving the needs of families. He is committed to representing you at the negotiating table if you’re attempting to reach an agreement with your child’s other parent, but he will aggressively fight to protect your interests in court. To schedule a consultation with a skilled Angier child custody lawyer, contact Breeden Law Office today at (919) 809-6599.

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