How is child custody determined?

Parents in North Carolina who are going through a divorce have many hard decisions to make. One of the toughest is custody of the children. As in most states, custody decisions in North Carolina are based off what is best for the child. While parents are encouraged to communicate and make the decision together, the court can make the determination if the parents are unable to do so.

According to the North Carolina Bar Association, fathers and mothers have equal rights when it comes to who gets custody over the child. There are different types of custody that may be chosen, and they are as follows:

  • Sole custody – one parent typically has primary custody and makes all the decisions related to the child’s care
  • Joint legal custody – parents do not have shared physical custody but both are involved in the decision-making process
  • Joint custody – parents share physical custody and are both involved in making decisions

Parents who are able to communicate effectively and come to an amicable decision about custody tend to raise healthier and happier children. If parents are unable to make the decision themselves, mediation is highly recommended.

The North Carolina Court System discusses how a third-party mediator helps walk the couple through important decisions surrounding custody. These include the amount of time each parent will spend with the child and how holidays are established, how decisions and resolutions are to be made and all other considerations that relate to family matters. When mediation does not work, the court will hear evidence from each side and make the decision.

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