Raleigh, North Carolina (WiredPRNews.com) — In a divorce case, the most important thing that the parties have to decide is what the arrangements will be for the custody and visitation of their children.
The best case is that the parents will collaborate for the benefit of their children to work out a custody arrangement that will take into account their children’s age, developmental needs and schedules.
The parents should actively cooperate to ensure that their children know they are loved and cared for by both parents and that both parents are meaningfully involved in their children’s growth and development.
In North Carolina, in the event the parties cannot resolve their dispute regarding custody of the children, one or both parents may file a claim for custody asking the court to determine the physical custody arrangements for the children and how decision making authority is allocated between the parents.
After a custody action is filed, the parties will first be required to participate in court-ordered mediation with a trained professional mediator before the case is placed on a trial docket.
While the mediator cannot impose a custody arrangement on the parties, he or she will attempt to facilitate an agreement between them.
If an agreement is reached in mediation, it will be reduced to writing and entered by the court as an order after the parties are given an opportunity to review the written agreement with their respective attorneys.
At trial, the court may grant joint custody to both parents or exclusive custody to one parent.
The courts use the “best interest of the child” standard when making an initial determination in child custody cases.
After hearing evidence, the judge (not a jury) will decide what the children’s living arrangements will be and how the parents will make major decisions affecting the children’s lives.
The wishes of a child regarding custody are not controlling, but a Court may give weight to a child’s preferences depending on the age and maturity of the child.
In North Carolina, an order for child custody may be modified.
To modify an existing child custody order, the moving party must show there has been a substantial change of circumstances, which affects the welfare of the minor child.
The Court may consider changes that are detrimental to the child, as well as those which may be beneficial.
If your family requires the assistance of experienced legal counsel for custody and visitation or any aspect of family law, let Gailor, Wallis & Hunt, PLLC assist you. The divorce lawyers support their clients with care and compassion.
For more details on custody and visitation matters related to family and divorce law, visit the North Carolina Family Lawyers Website
By: Kimberly Wallis – Kim received her B.A. magna cum laude in Political Science from North Carolina State University in 1991 and her J.D. from Wake Forest University in 1995.
About Gailor Wallis & Hunt, PLLC
Experienced in all aspects of divorce and family law including child support, child custody, visitation and alimony, the Raleigh North Carolina family law firm of Gailor Wallis & Hunt, PLLC is dedicated to excellence in the practice of divorce law and commitment to their clients.