Laws & Procedures in NC
North Carolina State child custody laws are fairly similar to others, and NC has adopted the Uniform Child Custody Act. North Carolina child custody laws recognize the option of joint custody, allows for visitation by grandparents, and considers the child's own wishes before ordering custody terms.
Legal and Physical Custody
Legal custody is the right to make major decisions about the child. Physical custody means the right to have the child in your physical care, either all the time or part of the time. Both legal and physical custody can be either shared by both parents or held solely by one parent.
Sole and Joint Custody
Sole Legal Custody means that one parent can make major decisions about the child’s life without consulting the other parent. If the parents have joint legal custody, they must consult each another make major decisions together, such as where the child will attend school or whether the child will have a major medical procedure. If the parents cannot agree, a court may have to make the decision.
Sole Physical Custody means that the child lives with only one parent, though the child may visit with the other. Joint physical custody means that the child’s time is split between the parents. There are many reasons and situations that warrant joint physical custody. One parent may have primary physical custody, meaning the child lives with that parent most of the time, while the other parent has secondary physical custody, for example, every other weekend, or regularly scheduled dinner visits. Alternatively, there may be an equal split where the child alternates between the parents on a regular basis.
If there is no custody order, both legal parents have equal rights to the child. Legal Parents are people officially recognized as parents on the child's birth certificate, a court order, or an affidavit of parentage.
Your attorney can help you with these questions and many more that are bound to come up in a divorce or separation. We'll help you decide what's best for the children, and work within the law for the best outcome for them. Call us today.