You May Be Wondering...
Will the children primarily live with their mother or father? When will the other parent spend time with them? Who will be responsible for the children's medical care? Who will make educational decisions?
At The Law Offices of Lyndon R. Helton, PLLC, our child custody and visitation attorneys are here to help you answer these types of questions. We are also here to intelligently and aggressively fight for your relationships with your children. We know the decisions made today can affect you and your family for the rest of your lives. You can count on us to go the distance on your behalf.
How Do The Courts Determine Who Gets Custody?
North Carolina family law bases child custody and visitation decisions on what best promotes the interests and welfare of the child. When determining what is in a child's best interest, North Carolina courts consider numerous factors relating to the parent's ability and capacity to parent and the safety and well-being of the child. The circumstances of each case can vary greatly and you should speak with an attorney about how to proceed.
If you do not have a court order or separation agreement addressing child custody, you and the other legal parent are presumed to share equally in the right to the physical custody of your child. Oftentimes, parents fail to realize the importance of having an enforceable court order or separation agreement until the other party fails to return the child or decides to leave the state. A well-written separation agreement will address all issues of custody, visitation, obligations and responsibilities of each party. If you and the opposing party cannot agree on the custody arrangement, a civil action for custody can be filed.
Your Options In Custody Matters
In any custody action, mediation is required prior to hearing the case, unless the judge waives this requirement for good cause. If mediation is unsuccessful, you can proceed to the hearing and a judge will decide the issue of custody and visitation.
If you already have a court-ordered custody arraignment or separation agreement in place and you are concerned that the child is exposed to a substantial risk of bodily injury or sexual abuse, or the child may be abducted or removed from the state for the purpose of evading the jurisdiction of North Carolina courts, you should speak with an attorney about seeking an emergency custody order as soon as possible. If a motion for emergency custody is not appropriate, a child custody order can still be modified if there is a substantial change in circumstances, which affects the welfare of the child.
If you are a mother hoping for custody, you should not assume that the courts will grant it to you just because you are the mother. Mothers no longer get automatic preference in custody matters. If you are the father, you shouldn't assume that you cannot obtain custody simply because you're a man — get an attorney who will fight for your parental rights.
No matter your situation, it is wise to retain a confident and aggressive lawyer who will do everything possible, within the law, to convince the judge that giving you custody is in your child's best interest. You deserve to have someone who will vigorously champion your side of the story.
Call Us Today
At The Law Offices of Lyndon R. Helton, PLLC, we are ready to take on your case and defend your parental rights. Schedule an initial consultation with one of our lawyers by sending us an email or by calling our Hickory office at 828-848-8776 (toll free at 888-321-0494). $100 for a one hour consultation.