Perhaps the most emotionally difficult aspects of a divorce are child custody issues. Even if parents initially agree on custody arrangements, as the divorce progresses, there may be disagreements. Regardless of the situation, a Cary child custody lawyer may be able to help.
The law can be confusing, and you may not understand the necessary steps to structure a custody agreement. That is why you may need the assistance of a knowledgeable Cary child custody lawyer who could guide you.
Custody issues quickly become complex since there are so many specific matters families must consider. When divorcing, parents must consider where children live, who can make decisions for them, and how often they see each parent.
There are two types of child custody: physical and legal custody. Physical custody refers to where the child lives most of the time. Legal custody is the authority to make important decisions in a child’s life, such as education, medical decisions, religious upbringing, and extracurricular activities.
When one parent is granted primary physical custody, the child will live primarily with that parent and the other parent may have a visitation schedule. The visitation schedule may include overnights during the week, alternating weekends, or alternating holidays. There are times when physical custody is joint, typically when parents live close to each other and the child can spend equal times at both households.
If one parent is granted sole legal custody, it means they are responsible for making important decisions on behalf of the child. It is common for courts to grant joint legal custody to allow both parents to have the opportunity to share in making decisions for the child.
Cary courts decide child custody based on the best interests of the child. Some of the factors the court takes into consideration include:
Parenting agreements are the formal written agreements between parents that outline how they agree to raise their child. Legal custody and physical custody should all be addressed.
If parents cannot agree on the terms of the parenting agreement, the court may order the parties to attend mediation to work out an agreement. In the alternative, the court may issue temporary or permanent custody orders that considers the best interests of the child.
To modify a child custody order, the party that wants a change must offer evidence to prove a substantial change of circumstances has occurred after the date of the initial order. The change can be either positive or negative but must present a significant difference that would affect the child.
If one parent decides to take a child out of state, they may do so if there is not a pending custody case or court order. However, if a parent believes there is a threat to the child or if the relocation is to evade court orders, they may obtain an emergency order for custody until a court can decide final arrangement.
If a parent attempts to remove a child from the state while there is a current custody order, there are court mechanisms to have the courts issue new orders directing local law enforcement to enforce the order and help return the child to the state. It is a crime in North Carolina to take a child out of state in violation of a court order.
A team of professionals could advise you in child custody matters if you are contemplating divorce, have already started proceedings, or want to modify an existing child custody order. You may benefit from contacting an experienced Cary child custody attorney who could explain the law, offer you options, and protect your rights.
Your family is important. You and your children deserve the best possible outcome when it comes to child custody issues. Call today for a confidential consultation.