Can You Seek Sole Custody of Your Child in North Carolina?

  1. Child Custody
  2. Can You Seek Sole Custody of Your Child in North Carolina?
mother and daughter

If you’re wondering if you can seek sole custody of your child in North Carolina, find out more by speaking to a lawyer. Custody arrangements depend on many different factors that are specific to your situation. There are different types of custody arrangements available to your family. You should seek legal advice on pursuing a custody plan that is best for your child.

Different Types of Custody Arrangements

North Carolina law permits parents to have many different kinds of custody arrangements. There are two main types of custody, legal and physical. Legal custody grants the ability to make important decisions about the child’s life. Physical custody grants the ability to spend time with and care for the child. Parents can share legal or physical custody, or one parent can have sole legal or physical custody.

For example, parents may have joint legal and physical custody, meaning both parents spend time with the child and must make joint decisions about the child’s care. One parent may have primary custody, where the child spends more time with that parent. Time with the other parent may be limited to weekends and holidays, or some other arrangement.

Alternatively, one parent may have visitation rights only. Visitation is a more limited form of custody. The parent has the right to visit with the child at specific times and/or places. Sometimes, the court order requires supervised visitation or other limitations.

Finally, sole custody means that only one parent has legal or physical custody, or both. If you would like to seek sole custody of your child, be aware that it might be harder to obtain than joint custody.

Why Sole Custody Is Less Common

Sole custody is less common because of parents’ rights in North Carolina. The law grants both parents the right to spend time with their children. Parental rights are fundamental and protected by the constitution. Terminating a parent’s rights to their child is very difficult and happens only under specific circumstances. Even with sole custody, the other parent may still have visitation rights.

Courts may order sole custody for a parent if the other parent is unfit to care for the child or unfit to make decisions on their behalf. For example, the other parent may have:

  • The inability to provide a stable or safe home environment for the child
  • Previously abused the child
  • Abused the parent seeking sole custody
  • A history of drug or alcohol abuse
  • Physical or mental health issues

The court considers a variety of factors in deciding who should have custody and how much time the child should have with each parent. These factors include anything that could affect the child’s well-being. Child custody court decisions focus on the best interests of the child.

Protecting Your Parental Rights

Protecting your parental rights is very important. If you feel that your custody arrangement is not working, speak to a child custody lawyer for help. You may be able to ask the court for a different arrangement, whether it is sole custody, adjustments to a joint custody schedule, or visitation. If you think you should have sole custody, your lawyer can advise you of your rights and if appropriate, help you build a case to present to the court. It all starts with talking to a North Carolina custody lawyer.

If you don’t have a formal custody order from the court, you should also reach out to a lawyer. A custody order formalizes your custody arrangement and protects you and your child if the other parent violates the order because you can go to court and get the order enforced. Without a custody order, you risk a situation where you lose important quality time with your child. A lawyer can assist you if you need legal advice about child custody.

Child Custody Questions? Let New Direction Family Law Assist You

The team at New Direction Family Law is available today to answer your questions about child custody arrangements. We proudly serve clients in Wake, Johnston, Durham, and surrounding counties who need child custody advice. Our attorneys are knowledgeable, effective, and compassionate professionals with decades of combined legal experience We will work hard toward your best outcome. Contact New Direction Family Law at (919) 646-6561 to schedule a consultation, or visit us at our website.

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