Custody Determinations in North Carolina
Child custody in the state of North Carolina is determined using the best interest of the child standard. The judges are responsible for considering multiple factors relating to the children, such as the living situation of both parents, the current stability of the children’s lives, how well the two parents work with each other, and the financial situation of either party. If the children are currently succeeding in their school and their community, a judge may heavily consider one parent’s plans to move out of the state.
Possible North Carolina Custody Arrangements
Two common forms of custody decisions are joint custody and sole custody. Joint physical custody requires that the two parents share the children, whereas sole physical custody gives only one parent custody the majority of the time.
There is an important difference between legal and physical custody. Physical custody refers to the actual location of the children and where they spend their time. Legal custody can include other decision-making shared between two parents, such as determinations about their religious or medical needs. When one parent has sole legal custody, that parent is responsible for making the decisions on their own about the children. Joint legal custody, on the other hand, requires that the parents come to a decision together.
If there is no pending custody case (for example, if you have recently separated but haven’t taken the legal steps for divorce and custody arrangements) or no custody order in place, it is difficult to prevent one parent from taking the children out of the state of North Carolina. If there is a pending custody order and one parent tries to remove the children from the state, you should contact local law enforcement to require enforcement of the order and the return of the child. Currently, North Carolina laws dictate that a parent taking the child out-of-state for the purposes of violating a court order has committed a crime.
Since there are no specific laws restraining a parent from moving the child to another state without pending custody action, it’s critical that you speak to a lawyer about your individual case. Attempting to navigate child custody on your own can lead to you losing access to your children. Working with a qualified attorney is the only way to ensure that your interests are represented in court.
One way to do this is to initiate legal action early if you suspect that the other parent may attempt to remove the children from the state. Contact attorney Jonathan Meek today to share your concerns; he will secure the temporary orders and pending custody action to make it more difficult for the parent to take the children. Call (704) 848-6335 or use the contact form on the right of this page to schedule your consultation appointment.