If you are going through a divorce or separation from your spouse, it can be an emotional and challenging time. One of the most challenging decisions you must make is how to handle child custody issues, including possible child support and visitation. In North Carolina, joint custody is typically the default arrangement, unless there is a good reason for a sole custody or a visitation schedule. It is important to remember that the child custody schedule will also help determine how much (if any) child support one parent will receive from the other. Typically, in 50/50 joint custody arrangements, neither parent is responsible for child support payments, but if there is a large disparity in income levels, this may be considered.
When it comes to child custody, it is important to remove the emotions of the parents out of it as much as possible and to consider the best interests of the children. If children are old enough, it is good to involve them in conversations about child custody agreements. Other factors may include the working or living arrangements. If one parent moves for a new job and the other parent remains in the same city, the child may prefer to stay with that parent so they don’t have to switch schools. It is important to remember that if you cannot reach a child custody agreement, the court will determine one for you, and it may not be in line with the preferences of either parent.
Other factors that are considered in child custody decisions are the relationship that a parent has with the child, the emotional state or physical health of the parent, and the stability of a parent’s life and lifestyle. In cases of addiction or abuse, supervised visitation is often considered as well.