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How Does Joint Custody Work in North Carolina?

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When it comes to child custody, North Carolina is not like most other states. The state does not recognize joint custody as many others do. Instead, in a situation where joint custody would regularly be granted, a judge will award primary custody to one co-parent and secondary custody to the other.

How the Court Determines Custody

The court considers the following factors when making a custody determination:

  • The preferences of the child, if the child is of sufficient age and capacity to form an intelligent preference
  • The relative capacities and disposition of the parents to provide the child with guidance, food, clothing, medical care, education, and other necessary care and control
  • The relative resources and financial status of the parents
  • Whether either parent has been convicted of a crime
  • Whether either parent has a history of mental health problems
  • The relative physical and mental health of the parents
  • The home, school, and community records of the child
  • The relative merits of the parents
  • The child’s relationship with brothers, sisters, half-brothers, half-sisters, and other significant adults
  • Any history of domestic violence
  • Whether one parent has been the primary caretaker of the child
  • The distance between the homes of the parents
  • Whether the child is a member of a protected class
  • Whether either parent has a substance abuse problem
  • The court may also consider any other factors that it deems to be relevant

There are two types of custody a parent is granted: physical and legal. Physical custody is where the child lives most of the time, and legal custody is who makes decisions about the child’s welfare. In many cases, the custodial parent has both physical and legal custody, but the custodial parent can have physical custody but not legal custody or vice versa.

If you are a non-custodial parent in North Carolina, you have what is called “secondary custody” or visitation rights. This means that you do not have primary physical custody of your child, but you do have the right to spend time with your child regularly.

There are a few reasons why North Carolina doesn’t provide joint custody to parents as other states do. For one, the state believes that it’s in the best interest of the child to have a primary caregiver. This primary caregiver should be the one who provides the stability and consistency that a child needs in their life.

Another reason North Carolina prefers to award primary custody to one parent is that it can be difficult to coordinate joint custody between two parents who live in different households. This can often lead to conflict and tension between the parents, which is not in the best interest of the child.

Not being given a child’s custody or joint custody can be a difficult pill to swallow for the parent who is not awarded primary custody. It can feel like they are being shut out of their child’s life or that their role as a parent is being devalued.

It is important to remember, however, that the court’s decision is based on what is in the best interests of the child. In some cases, joint custody may not be possible or practical. For example, if the parents live in different cities or states, it may not be possible to have a joint custody arrangement.

The most important thing is that the child has a strong and healthy relationship with both parents. Even if you are not the primary custodial parent, you can still be an active and involved parent in your child’s life. There are many ways to do this, such as through regular communication (phone, text, email, Skype, etc.), scheduled visits, and involvement in your child’s school and extracurricular activities.

The Experienced Attorneys You Need

If you are going through a child custody battle, it is essential to have an experienced attorney on your side. They can help you navigate the legal process and ensure that your rights are protected.

At GPS Law Group, we have the experience and knowledge to help you win your case and get the best possible outcome for you and your child. We will work tirelessly to ensure that your rights are protected and that you have the best chance of winning your case. Contact us at (704) 549-1950 or use our online contact form to send a message and set up a consultation.

GPS Law Group serves Charlotte, North Carolina, and the surrounding communities.