Children hold a place of importance in our lives, and that makes child custody issues particularly tough. There are a lot of emotions, desires, and hopes wrapped up in these concerns. That state, though, also places a significant importance on the well-being of children.
That’s why the most important element for the court in any child custody decision is that it be in the interests of the children. To ensure your interests and rights are protected, consider hiring a Conover, NC, child custody lawyer.
At the Law Office of Lyndon R. Helton, PLLC, we can help you make the argument before the court or in mediation for why what you are seeking is truly in the child’s interests.
The custody of a child is determined based on a variety of different factors. The rulings by the court will determine how to arrange custody on two different scopes:
The two categories of custody can be arranged among the parents in two ways:
The preference for the state of North Carolina would be to award joint custody. However, this is not always a possibility, as often, the logistics of a situation make it impossible for joint physical custody because of work and other obligations. Additionally, in the case of a divorce, the courts will try to give the child some sense of continuity, and if one parent was the primary caregiver, they may try to reflect that moving forward.
However, awarding sole custody of one variety does not mean that sole custody of the other must also be awarded. It is not uncommon for the court to award sole physical custody to one parent and joint legal custody to both parents.
The most important element of a custody decision, in the eyes of the state, is that it be shaped in the interests of the child. To determine what’s in the child’s interests, the state will consider a number of different factors. Not among these is the gender of the parents. The kinds of things that will be considered include:
A: Final custody orders given by the court can, indeed, be changed under certain circumstances. The process typically involves a hearing where both sides are given the opportunity to present evidence and arguments, either for modification of the orders or to maintain the orders as they are. However, you first must petition to have the hearing. A hearing will not be heard unless there is some sort of significant material change that requires modification.
It’s also important to remember that the guiding principle in child custody decisions is the welfare of the child, so you will need to be able to make the case that the modifications will increase the child’s welfare.
A: There is nothing ingrained into the law that favors the mother in North Carolina custody decisions. What matters to the courts is what is in the interests of the child. There is actually a preference for joint custody in the decisions made by the courts, but they will consider a number of different factors when deciding what custody arrangement is optimal for the child’s welfare.
A: A child’s wishes may be considered in a custody decision. However, this comes with the caveat that they must be determined by the court to be old enough to exercise discretion and should have an influence on the outcome. There is not a specific age required by law, but it will be up to the judgment of the court. The child may, if competent enough, testify in open court, or there may be the possibility of an interview in the judges’ chambers.
A: Refusal to follow visitation described in custody orders is a very serious problem and not looked upon kindly by the court. A violation of court orders could lead someone to be held in contempt of court. It could also result in the orders being opened up to modification and even loss of custody, depending upon the seriousness of the situation. If you are not being allowed to see your kids as outlined in your custody agreement, you should contact a family law attorney immediately.
Most parents would willingly give their lives for their kids, and it’s that kind of love and care that makes child custody cases so challenging. Each parent in a child custody case usually wants as much time as they can possibly get with their child. Unfortunately, this is often paired with the fact that a child custody ruling can become intensely territorial, as more parenting time for one parent will result in less for the other.
More than anything else, parents in Catawba County want to fight to be a part of their children’s lives. At the Law Office of Lyndon R. Helton, PLLC, we are ready to represent you in that fight. Contact us today.