Child Custody Attorney in Clayton, North Carolina
Protecting the best interests of children in a divorce
Even when parents are divorcing, children still need both parents. I am a Clayton child custody lawyer who makes it my mission to keep everyone focused on reaching results that are in the best interests of the children, while also working for all parties involved in your child custody case.
I have a thorough understanding of North Carolina child custody law, in addition to 21 years of experience representing more than 2,000 clients in family law matters, including parents seeking custody or modifications to a custody agreement.
In North Carolina, there is no preference established by law for the mother or father or the natural or adoptive parent to receive custody of the children. The standard the court will use to determine initial custody is what is in the best interest of the child.
Types of custody
Child custody is the legal relationship between a parent and child and is defined in two ways:
- Physical custody ― The parent whom the children live with
- Legal custody ― The parent who makes decisions regarding the well-being of the children in terms of health, education and safety
The best interests of the child require the participation and cooperation of both parents. When this happens, it is called “joint custody,” and the courts may grant joint legal or physical custody or both to each parent if parents can agree on all issues of their child’s upbringing. If joint custody is not possible, the court may grant one parent both legal and physical custody of the child, and this is called “sole custody.”
How the court determines what is in the best interests of the children
The focus of a child custody case must be kept on the needs of the child. We can guide you through the legal process to help you achieve your custody goals. North Carolina family courts take into consideration a great deal of information when determining what is in the best interests of your child or children, including:
- How involved the parents are in their child’s care
- The ability to provide a stable environment for the child
- The age of the child
- The wishes of the child if the child has sufficient mental capacity and comprehension to offer a reasoned opinion about where he or she wants to live as opposed to a specific age
- The ability of each party to get along
- The safety of the child
- The safety of either party from domestic violence by the other party
Custody can be modified if there is a significant change of circumstances affecting the child, such as the child growing older, a change in a parent’s work schedule or the relocation of a parent. But the court will not change a child’s routine without good reason.