Child Custody and Family Law
Our philosophy for cases involving children is that the “best interest” of the child is our “polar star.”
We strive to ensure that children are cared for financially and emotionally by both parents, to the extent that both parents can promote the well-being of their children. If a parent files a child custody action, the parents are required to participate in the free custody mediation process (with very few exceptions). A trained custody mediator works with parents to help them come up with a parenting plan to share time and decision making. If the parents cannot work out an arrangement through mediation or consent order, then the case will be decided by a judge.
Generally, parents share legal custody, unless a parent is not capable of making good decisions due to mental illness, addiction issues, anger issues or otherwise. Legal custody involves the rights of a parent to have access to a child’s confidential information and to participate in decisions involving the child’s education, healthcare, counseling and other important matters.
Physical custody is how parents share time with a child. In a traditional primary/secondary custody arrangement, one parent may have a child every other weekend, alternating holidays and summer vacation time. In a shared parenting arrangement, parents may share time on a week on-week off schedule, or other division of the days of the week and holidays. Younger children may function better with shorter custody periods, such as each parent having two-week days and alternating weekends, and alternating holidays and vacation periods.
Additional information can be found on the North Carolina Judicial Branch Page: Child Custody | North Carolina Judicial Branch (nccourts.gov)