Family: Custody

Quick Facts

The court ordered custody arrangement is the way to end the uncertainty that faces separated or divorced parents about custody of their children.

If the parents have separated and cannot agree as to who should keep the children or have custody:

1. If there is no court order determining who has custody of the children, each parent has an equal right to live with the child.

2. If you need custody established by the court.

To obtain "legal custody" that can be enforced by the court, you must file a custody action in court. The court enters a judgment or a custody order establishing who shall have physical custody of the children, and who shall have visitation.

In a custody case, the judge looks at the "best interest" of the child(ren). Many factors will be considered by the court, among these are:

a) who has primarily taken care of the child

b) who has the best approach to discipline

c) the work schedules that either or both of the parents have

d) how each parent can provide for physical emotional educational spiritual needs of the child

e) the character of each parent.

Almost everything that is involved in the lives of the child(ren) and parents is relevant to the determination of what is in the best interest of a child.

To show to the court that the children should be with you or that you should have custody, you must show that you have a stable, secure and safe home for your child(ren). To bring custody in North Carolina the child must have lived in North Carolina 6 months immediately before you file an action.

A custody order can be changed. Once the court enters custody order it can be changed if there is substantial change in circumstances since the court order was entered.

The following is a list of information you must provide the judge to enter a custody order:

1. that your home is secure and safe. Provide information of what your home looks like through pictures and/or testimony of witnesses.

2. that you are a good parent. Keep a record of things you do with the children.

3. that you are stable. Provide information about your job and for how long you have worked.

4. explain to the judge why you think the opposing party should not have custody.

No custody order is "permanent."

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Last Review and Update: Aug 05, 2014
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