When children come into your life, it’s like your heart starts beating for the first time all over again. You know that you’ll do anything to love and protect them. These strong feelings for your children can make divorce child custody issues more difficult. It’s hard to reason about an ex raising your children, especially if they have a new partner in the picture already.
You may wonder how best to keep your child with you and shield them from the ugliness of divorce. If you win full custody, your child primarily lives with you while the other parent has visitation. Full custody means that you make significant decisions about your child’s life, including medical and educational. Let’s look at how to get full custody of your child in NC.
Do You Need a Child Custody Lawyer?
It is possible to go through a divorce without an attorney, but doing so means you can lose the advantage. It’s difficult to understand all of the nuances of child custody law without help from a professional. It is also difficult to argue your position on your own, especially if your spouse has an attorney fighting for their parental rights.
Our judicial system is not set up for laypersons to argue a case effectively before a judge. However, it is possible to do so if you can spend the time and energy learning civil procedures and child custody laws. You’ll also need to do your own research about filing motions or petitions and line up any witnesses and other evidence to prove your case. A child custody case involves proving that you are the parent who can meet the child’s best interests.
Types of Custody
Judges sometimes give full physical custody to one parent so that a child has a stable home life. However, more often than not, they award joint custody.
If you win full custody as a parent, you make the decisions regarding your child’s medical needs, what schools they attend, and what type of religion you observe together. You are the primary custodial parent.
The other parent is usually entitled to visitation with the child at their own home or other arranged place. However, if the other parent has a documented substance use disorder or there is proof of child abuse, the court may only allow supervised visitation. In supervised visitation, another family member watches over the child’s interaction with the other parent.
How to Get Full Custody in NC
Winning full custody is possible when you and your attorney work together to prove that the home you provide is in the child’s best interest. A judge will look at many factors when deciding who has the primary physical custody of a child, including:
- Home environment
- The time you spend with the child and what you enjoy together
- Your career
- Your lifestyle
- Whether there is any type of abuse or neglect by either parent
- Whether drugs or alcohol affect either home
Witnesses and Evidence
The court learns more about your situation and that of your spouse through witness testimony, including doctors, nurses, teachers, neighbors, and family members. The courts will also look at any evidence presented that might show neglect or abuse, drug or alcohol problems, or a lack of stable home life. Documents that might hold weight include:
- Doctor assessments
- Police arrest or conviction records
- Financial records
- Employment history
- Social media or online activity that shows a lack of responsible choices
- Social services records
The court will make a decision that considers the child’s best interest. Anything you can use to prove that you make the best home for your child can help you win full custody. Working with a knowledgeable child custody attorney is your best bet to stay on top of the custody laws in NC and make the best arguments to win your case.
Does the Court Always Decide Child Custody?
Parents settle 90% of child custody cases without a judge’s ruling. And, in just over half of child-custody battles, the parents come to a mutual agreement for the mother to be the custodial parent.
- 29% of decisions were made without a mediator or the court
- 11% required a mediator
- 5% of the decisions were determined after a thorough custody evaluation
- 4% were settled in court. (1)
If you and your spouse agree about the terms of your divorce, the court usually agrees with your decision. It is often possible to work with a 3rd party or mediator during the separation phase of your divorce process to come to an agreement before the divorce happens. In this case, a judge will often roll your child custody, visitations, and child support agreement into your divorce decree papers.
We Can Help
If you worry about whether you can get full custody of your child, contact us at Plekan Law for an initial consultation. Discuss your case with us and find out your chances of gaining full custody of your child. With our knowledge and experience in these types of cases, we can help you find the best outcome for your situation.