Written by Jonathan Breeden
Sharing custody in North Carolina can get complicated. It is tempting to co-parent without a set schedule, but even the most careful plans will slide over time. Many parents find that stability is crucial to raising their children. This means getting a formal agreement in court. But this process may vary depending on which county in North Carolina you call home.
Before you file, speak with an experienced child custody lawyer about the specific child custody and visitation laws that apply. At Breeden Law Office, we will explain where you can file, what to expect, and how courts make child custody decisions.
When you are figuring out where to file for custody of or visitation, you must first determine your child’s home state.
North Carolina is considered your child’s home state if they have lived there with a parent or a guardian for at least six months. You can file for custody in North Carolina if it is your child’s home state – even if you do not live there.
If your child has not lived in North Carolina for the past six months, then a court will determine if the state was the child’s home state within the six months prior to the start of your court case and if you or the other parent have continued to live there since then.
As long as North Carolina was the child’s home state and one parent still lives here, you may file.
If your situation does not fit into either scenario, talk with an attorney. North Carolina may still have jurisdiction. However, it is not guaranteed. At Breeden Law Office, we will review the situation and advise you on which state has jurisdiction over the child custody matter.
Once you are confident North Carolina is the appropriate state for your child custody case, you must consider which county has jurisdiction.
If you, your child, and their other parent all reside in the same county, then this is where you should file. Don’t choose any other county because the evidence of the child’s well being is in the child’s county of residence.
Your situation may touch more than one county. Your child may live with the other parent in a different county than you, or the other parent may live in a different county. This gives you a choice between where you live, where the other parent lives, and where your child lives.
Various factors may influence your decision on where to file. If you previously went to court regarding child custody in one of these counties and now you want to modify the plan, it may be best to continue your case there.
If this is your first time in court, then you can consider other factors, like convenience, and possible costs. You should also speak with an attorney familiar with the county’s rules to determine each jurisdiction’s unique processes.
At Breeden Law Office, we represent parents throughout Johnston, Harnett, and Wake Counties. We are happy to meet with you regarding your custody situation and advise you on your options.