When the parents of minor children decide they no longer want to live together, they are left with an important decision to make: where and with whom will their children live? Parents have to decide if they will share custody, or if one parent will retain custody and the other parent will have visitation rights. They will also need to determine if they will both have physical and legal custody. Outlining child custody and visitation arrangements can be very stressful, so parents may elect to work with an experienced custody attorney to help them make the best choices for their children.
During custody and visitation hearings, the North Carolina courts are concerned foremost with the best interest of the children. The idea is to ensure the child’s life does not get too unsettled during the breakup of his or her parents. The court looks at the child’s current living situation, his or her relationship with each parent, and each parent’s capabilities when caring for the child.
The court will consider safety factors as well, including:
The court will also take into consideration the requests of the parents. Either parent may file for custody, or both parents may elect to share custody. When custody is decided, the court will outline the terms of the decision in writing and will also give visitation instructions, if applicable.
A parent can request modification of a child custody and visitation order at any time by filing a motion with the court. The parent will need to show the court that the circumstances of the child’s life have changed considerably in a way that would make the court want to modify the original permanent custody order. Because the court makes decisions based on the welfare of the child, a parent may ask for modification of a custody and visitation order if:
The court may take a child’s personal preference into consideration, but it may depend on certain factors, such as the child’s age and maturity level. If you want to modify your permanent custody order, be prepared to show evidence to the court that your child’s life has been negatively altered by the current situation.
If your request for modification of custody or visitation is contested by your child’s other parent, the court will order you to attend mediation with the other parent unless you can show why mediation would be a hardship, such as living more than 50 miles from the Court or having a history of domestic violence between the parents. A mediator is an independent party chosen by the court to help parents make decisions regarding child custody and visitation. The goal of the mediator is to make sure the parents make smart, informed choices while keeping their cool during what is likely a contentious issue for them.
You love your children and you want what’s best for them. That’s why child custody and support matters can make usually even-tempered parents relatively combative. In order to avoid an ugly battle, you should get help from a skilled family law attorney. Jonathan Breeden of Breeden Law Offices has spent nearly 2 decades in the local family courts helping parents with their various legal matters. See what he can do for you by calling (919) 661-4970 today.
Call Breeden Law Office today:(919) 296-3978