In North Carolina, which parent has the care and control of a child is considered custody. The court will consider any and all factors that pertain to and affect the child. Ultimately, the court’s goal is to determine what is in the best interest of the children involved.
Primary Custody means that one parent has the child the majority of the time. Generally, this is agreed upon or awarded by the court if (1) one parent is the primary caregiver and has traditionally tended to the child’s needs on a daily basis or if (2) one parent is simply unable to properly care for the child due to illness, addiction, or work schedule.
Joint Custody is an arrangement whereby both parents share equally in tending to the child(s) needs on a daily basis and therefore have more equal time. This arrangement is ideal for parents who are able to work together and have the job flexibility necessary to accommodate for the child’s needs.
Visitation or Parenting Time is awarded to the parent who does not have primary custody. If one’s work schedule or temperament is not appropriate for joint custody, a non-custodial parent will typically have every other weekend with their child. In other instances, a parent may not be capable of spending proper time with their child, due to mental health or substance abuse issues. In those cases, limited or supervised visitation may be appropriate.
Emergency Custody is reserved for two serious situations: (1) when the child is facing a substantial risk of bodily harm at the hands of the other parent and/or (2) when there is evidence that the other parent may try to remove the child from the state of North Carolina to evade the jurisdiction of the courts. If a court believes such danger exists, it may award emergency custody ex parte (without the other party having notice of the hearing) on a temporary basis. This type of relief is reserved for dire situations and you will need an experienced attorney to evaluate your case and present it to the Judge.
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