In North Carolina, either parent could win custody of a child. Making a decision about who has custody is complicated and involves many factors. If you have questions about who can have custody, there is a lot to learn.
Factors for Deciding Custody
When deciding who will have custody of a child, North Carolina courts consider which person will best promote the child’s interests and welfare. Many factors play into this decision, including anything that would affect the child’s physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual well-being.
The court can consider any domestic violence between the parents, the child’s safety, and the safety of one parent from domestic violence by the other. It also can consider the child’s age and may take into account the child’s preference in some circumstances. Moreover, the court can look to the home environments available and the parents’ caretaking abilities.
Do Parents Always Get Custody?
Parents have a constitutional right to custody and control of their children. The court cannot interfere with these rights unless a parent has acted contrary to that right. Then the court would determine if it would be in the best interests of the child. That said, in some cases a parent may appear to be unfit to have custody. In that case, a non-parent can start a custody case to request custody of the child. The court does have the ability to award custody to other relatives, such as aunts, uncles, or grandparents.
In addition, the court has the power to award custody to an agency or institution. This might happen if a child is placed with a foster family or lives in a group home.
Are Mothers More Likely to Get Custody?
Some people have the misconception that mothers are more likely to get custody or to get more time with children. Again, custody decisions depend on a lot of different factors. Every custody case is different, and the court’s decision will depend on all the facts and circumstances at play. There is no guarantee that a mother will receive custody, or that the mother will have more time with the children than the father.
Who Can Have Visitation Rights?
Visitation is the right to see a child at specific, set times ordered by the court. The court can require that the visits be supervised or unsupervised, depending on the situation. Besides in-person visitation, the court can dictate the electronic visitation rights that a parent can have.
Parents who have visitation rights typically have more limited time with a child than those who have custody. For example, one parent may have sole custody of the child, but the other parent may have the right to see the child once a week at a set location and time. Alternatively, parents could have joint custody, or one parent may have no custody or visitation at all.
The court has the power to decide who has visitation rights and how those visits will take place. Parents are the people typically awarded visitation. In North Carolina, grandparents may be awarded visitation rights too.
If you have questions about obtaining custody or visitation rights, reach out to a North Carolina family law lawyer. There are important legal considerations when building a custody case that you should know. You need legal advice tailored to your specific situation, since there are so many factors that go into a custody decision.
Let New Direction Family Law Assist You
If you want to seek custody of your child, the team at New Direction Family Law is available today to answer your questions. With decades of combined legal experience, our attorneys are knowledgeable, effective, and compassionate professionals. We will help you understand your legal rights and work hard toward your best outcome. We proudly serve clients in Wake, Johnston, Durham, and surrounding counties. Contact New Direction Family Law at (919) 646-6561 to schedule a consultation, or visit us at our website.