Going through any breakup is difficult, but it is even harder when there is a child involved. Here’s the good news: if you’re trying to find the best custody lawyer near me, we can help. At Morgenstern & Associates, we aid with child custody, child support, and all other aspects of separation and divorce. Better yet, we’re conveniently located in the Greensboro area.
The Complexities of Custody in North Carolina – Simplified!
Here in North Carolina, there are actually two types of child custody:
- Physical custody – where the child lives and who has physical responsibility for the child’s well-being
- Legal custody – who makes important decisions for the child (education, religion, health, etc.)
One parent can have sole physical custody while both parents share legal custody. The opposite is also true. You and your former partner can also jointly share both types of custody.
As a parent, you have an inherent right to share custody of your child. Unless there is an agreement or court order in place, the other parent cannot legally prevent you from being in your child’s life. However, a judge won’t automatically find in your favor just because you are a parent. They will always do what is best for the child. (They can even grant visitation/custody rights to grandparents or other family members if that’s what is best for the child.) That’s why it is so important to have an experienced family court lawyer fighting for you. You need someone on your side to help the judge understand why you deserve sole or joint custody.
Is Joint Custody the Best Option? Why Visitation Might be Better for Your Family
Many parents initially want to fight for joint custody of their child. This is when you share physical custody and the child spends at least 123 nights in each home. However, there are a number of reasons why joint custody actually may not be the best option for your family. For example:
- Joint custody requires a lot of travel from the child back and forth between households, which may lead to them feeling like they don’t have a true home.
- It’s difficult to have joint custody if you live in two different school districts, especially as children get older and want to be involved in activities during breaks and weekends.
- Some parents are naturally more inclined to like parenting responsibilities while others like focusing more on their career. Joint custody can be difficult if one parents has a demanding job.
You can find more information about the pros and cons of joint custody here. The important thing to remember is that even if your former partner has physical custody, you can still be in your child’s life.
With the help of an experienced custody attorney, you can determine a schedule for visitation that makes sense for both you and your child. You and your partner can come up with a schedule or a judge can set the schedule for you. With visitation, you can still spend lots of time with your child; they simply will sleep fewer than 123 nights at your home. A family court lawyer can help ensure that your visitation agreement is fair and covers all the important issues, such as where the child will spend birthdays, holidays, vacations, and more.
How Custody and Visitation Issues are Decided
Having a custody attorney on your side is important because no two custody cases are the same. An experienced family law attorney can help you prepare to speak to a judge and present your case for the custody or visitation outcome you are seeking. Some things a judge may consider include:
- Where the child wants to live (if they are old enough, though a child cannot refuse visitation with either parent until they are 18)
- Your relationship (or attempts at a relationship) with the child
- If you can provide a safe place for the child where they are supervised properly, fed, and have their other needs handled
- The child’s current school, activities, and routines
- Past issues including addiction, abuse, and arrests and evidence of progress made
- Testimony from witnesses including family members, friends, teachers, coaches, doctors, or anyone else in your family’s lives, as well as experts such as child development specialists
- Documents including photos, social media posts, emails and text messages, work schedule documentation
Our team of custody lawyers can help you prepare for any questions a judge may ask, which will vary from case to case. It’s possible to represent yourself in a custody case, but difficult to do so successfully. Once a decision is made, it is difficult to change unless something about your situation has drastically changed. So, it’s better to find the best custody lawyer near me and have them on your side from the start.
FAQs about Child Custody in North Carolina
Because child custody cases can be complex, we recommend having a consultation with a board certified family lawyer, such as a member of our team. We can answer specific questions about your case and help you figure out your next steps for pursuing custody. Although we can’t give you individualized advice here, these are a few frequently asked questions we hear, along with the answers:
Will custody affect child support payments?
Yes, in some cases. In North Carolina, child support depends on several factors, including custody. However, just because you share custody doesn’t mean child support is off the table.
Can I prevent my ex from getting visitation or custody?
Inherently, both parents have rights to see their child. However, if you suspect abuse or neglect, a judge can grant an emergency custody order to grant short-term custody. If there is an emergency custody order, a hearing will follow.
How can I hire the best custody lawyer near me?
The best custody lawyer near me will be one who has experience in family law and feels confident they can help you get the best possible outcome for your case. Set up an initial meeting so you can get an idea if you feel comfortable working with our team. We have over 40 years of combined experience and have been consistently recognized for our professional achievements. Use the chat box or click here to contact us and learn more about working with our Greensboro team.