Raleigh Child Custody Lawyer

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While parents want to provide their child with a loving and supportive living environment, those that live apart may not agree on how to achieve this objective. Child custody questions will come up if you’re going through a divorce, but issues between unmarried parents are just as common.

Disputes about where the child will live and attend school can be emotionally heated, and you may encounter disagreements about the significant decisions involved in raising your child. North Carolina law covers a wide range of custody and visitation topics, but it can be challenging to understand the complicated legal concepts that govern these issues. Considering the impact on your family and your future, it’s critical to retain the services of a dedicated Raleigh child custody lawyer.

Raleigh family lawyer Jonathan Breeden possesses the skills, knowledge, and experience necessary to represent your interests in a child custody case. At Breeden Law Office, we appreciate that any situation that affects your child is highly-personal, so we’re committed to easing the stress. Attorney Breeden is adept at explaining the laws in terms you can understand, so you can make informed decisions regarding your legal options.

To learn more about how an attorney can help, contact Breeden Law Office today at (919) 480-8005.

Getting Custody of Child in North Carolina

Getting Custody of Child in North Carolina

Child Custody in North Carolina

Child custody issues often arise in tandem with divorce proceedings. Both parents want to provide input on pertinent decisions regarding where they will reside and/or spend time with the child, and otherwise be involved with the child’s life. North Carolina law covers all scenarios involving child custody, extending rights and obligations to parents and other individuals under certain circumstances.

A Raleigh child custody attorney can explain how these statutes apply to your situation, but an overview of the key concepts is also useful.

Types of Child Custody

There are two types of child custody in North Carolina:


This type of custody relates to making the important decisions in a child’s life, such as those involving education, religion, medical treatment, extracurricular activities, sports, vacations, and many other child-rearing matters. For purposes of legal custody, it’s not necessary for the child to live with you full-time. You still have a say in decision-making.


The parent with whom the child lives is described as having physical custody, which means the other parent will have visitation rights in most situations.

Joint vs. Sole Custody

When parents share legal or physical custody, or if they share the responsibilities of both, the arrangement is referred to as joint custody. Parents will often jointly share legal custody and can both make decisions in raising the child. Joint physical custody, though legally possible, can be difficult because constant travel can disrupt the child’s life.

Courts tend to not favor sole custody, except in cases of abuse, criminal activity, or other improper circumstances. Generally, North Carolina law recognizes that a child benefits from having a relationship with both parents. Therefore, shared parenting is the preferred arrangement for legal and physical custody.

If you have questions about what custody arrangement is best for your family, contact a Raleigh child custody lawyer for help today.

Non-Parental Custody

As the concept of family transitions into a modern approach to familial relationships, North Carolina law has also adapted to cover situations that fall outside the traditional family. Accordingly, various third-party or non-parental individuals may have rights, including:

  • Grandparents
  • Other relatives
  • Stepparents

The law encourages parents to agree on child custody, visitation, and related issues. A Raleigh child custody lawyer can play an extremely beneficial role in helping parents negotiate, reach a compromise, draft the proper documents, and enter necessary court orders to memorialize the agreement.

However, where disputes remain on important issues, it’s necessary for a court to get involved. Child custody proceedings are similar to trials, where you and the child’s other parent would present evidence and arguments to support your position on child custody. Under the circumstances, retaining an experienced attorney is critical. Unless you have legal counsel to help you navigate the process, procedural rules, and legal concepts, you put your rights at risk.

The Best Interests Standard

In many issues involving minor children, the child’s best interests are paramount. North Carolina law requires a court to enter an order in accordance with this standard, though the statute does not designate an itemized list of factors. Instead, a judge can apply judicial discretion and guidance from other sources when deciding the best interests of the child. Some examples include:

  • The developmental and emotional needs of the child
  • Each parent’s physical and mental health
  • The child’s wishes, where age-appropriate
  • The residential environment offered at each parent’s home
  • Each parent’s relationship with the child
  • Whether there is a history or threat of domestic violence by either parent
  • Drug or alcohol abuse by either parent

In weighing the child’s best interests for custody purposes, courts tend to favor arrangements that promote the status quo of the environment and do not serve as a major disruption. Custody should achieve, as close as possible, a situation where children can enjoy the same relative lifestyle as if they were living under the same roof as their parents.

Another important note is that not only does the best interests standard apply when a judge must address custody, but it’s also a factor in agreements between the parents. Regardless of any compromise on custody between you and the child’s other parent, the agreement will still be strictly scrutinized to ensure it conforms with the legal standard.

For help in ensuring your custody arrangement aligns with North Carolina’s standards regarding a child’s best interests, contact a Raleigh child custody lawyer right away.

Special Custody Considerations

A child’s best interests are central in determining custody, but many related issues tie into this standard. Because of the far-reaching implications, it’s essential to retain an attorney that has in-depth knowledge of the factors and how they apply in your case. In addition, many child custody disputes may end up in court, so you should work with a lawyer that has extensive courtroom and litigation skills.

Attorney Jonathan Breeden has represented clients and helped them understand how the child’s best interests and related laws affect:

  • Visitation Though separate from custody, visitation is a closely-tied concept. Courts often review both issues together as necessary to serve the child’s needs.
  • Custody Hearings The child’s best interests will be the main focus at a hearing to determine custody. You and your child’s other parent will be able to present evidence and arguments, and all information should concentrate on this legal standard.
  • Modifications of Child Custody When circumstances change, the details of child custody may also need adjustment. Modifications of the custody arrangement, though they may occur months or years down the road, will still focus on the needs of the child.
  • Relocation of a Minor Child Disputes can arise when a parent seeks to move for a job or other reasons. You cannot just pick up and relocate with a minor child. There can be major changes to the custody arrangement, and even a switch in physical custody, where doing so aligns with the best interests of your child.
  • Interstate Custody Matters Parents living in different states face different statutes, rules, and legal issues. Regardless of which jurisdiction’s laws apply, you can be sure that the child’s best interests will be a factor in custody determinations.
  • Military Personnel and Custody Members of the military may have a duty to their country, but they also have rights in child custody matters. The unique situation notwithstanding, the law protects the child’s interests and will balance other issues as necessary to serve them.
  • Mediation on Custody – In some cases, a court will call upon the services of a mediator to assist the parties in reaching an agreement on custody issues. With the help of a neutral mediation professional to guide the conversation and encourage productive discussion, parents can often reach a compromise that avoids costly, time-consuming litigation on custody.

If you’re in the midst of a child custody battle and need guidance on any of these issues, contact a Raleigh child custody lawyer from Breeden Law Office today.

Discuss Your Rights with a Raleigh Child Custody Lawyer

Child custody lawyers have comprehensive training and detailed knowledge of the relevant statutes and court procedural rules. Unless you have a legal background, you put your rights and future at risk by attempting to represent yourself in a child custody case.

Attorney Jonathan Breeden is proud to help families fight for favorable outcomes in child custody matters. He does so by combining his strong litigation advocacy with compassion and understanding. He shares in your goal to move forward in a positive matter, as you and your family look forward to a brighter future. If you would like more information on how a Raleigh child custody lawyer can help, contact Breeden Law Office today at (919) 480-8005.

Call Breeden Law Office today:

(919) 296-3978

Divorce In North Carolina: What You Need To Know

A book by Jonathan Breeden