Kernersville Child Custody Lawyer

Heading for a child custody dispute?

When a family is no longer living under one roof, it can be a difficult and emotional time for everyone involved. These custody issues can lead to stressful conflict between parties – whether they are divorced parents or parents who were never married. Such battles can have lasting emotional impacts on the children from the relationship.

The well-being of the children in the relationship is and should always be the top priority for the parent or custodians involved.

If you’re facing the possibility of a custody battle, the support offered by a Kernersville child custody lawyer will be invaluable. While the court is bound to act in the best interest of your child, our Kernersville family law attorneys will also work to protect your interests in caring for your children. At Apple Payne Law, our attorneys are dedicated to helping families navigate life’s important decisions. Let us help yours.

Types of Child Custody in North Carolina Law

Different types of child custody exist under North Carolina family law, and understanding custody and how it works before pursuing a custody action is crucial.

The court has the power to award either joint or sole custody to the parents of a minor, depending upon which arrangement will best suit the needs and best interests of the child.

Experienced child custody lawyers can explain the legal options a parent has available to them regarding child custody.

Legal Custody

Referring to a parent’s legal rights, legal custody refers to the ability of each parent to make important decisions for their child regarding issues like:

  • Medical issues and healthcare
  • Education
  • Extracurriculars and community involvement
  • Religious instruction

Legal custody also allows a parent to access records related to the child and to contact people who provide educational, religious, and extracurricular services to the child.

North Carolina law initially presumes that both parents have the ability and the right to make decisions for their children. This means that if you have concerns about your child’s other parent having this type of ability and access, you should contact a Kernersville family law attorney to discuss your options.

Physical Custody

When it comes to where the child will physically reside between each parent, physical custody is the topic that needs to be discussed. Physical custody is often determined by parenting agreements that are made between two parents.

These arrangements outline which parent has the child in their physical care and on what schedule the parents will share parenting responsibilities for the child.

Possible Child Custody Arrangements

In many child custody cases, parents are able to reach an agreement outside of court without going to trial. This is the best scenario since a family law trial can be time-consuming, costly, and emotional in many cases.

If the two parties are not able to reach a child custody agreement, the judge will make the decision regarding a custody arrangement based on what they perceive as the best case for the child’s physical, emotional, and financial needs.

Joint Custody

Joint legal custody means that both parents have equal decision-making rights when it comes to their child. Joint physical custody is an arrangement where both parents share equally in the responsibilities for the child.

This means that joint custody could include where the child physically lives as well as the joint sharing of physical and financial duties related to the health, education, and welfare of the child.

Sole Custody

Sole legal custody or sole physical custody means that only one parent has the right to make decisions for their child or have that child in their care. Typically, in order to award sole custody, the motioning parent must show that the other parent is unfit to exercise physical custody of the child.

Give us a call at Apple Payne Law in Kernersville to discuss whether you qualify for an award of sole custody of your child.

Seeking a Child Custody Action in Kernersville, NC

Parents have the opportunity to address child custody issues independently from the court system. Regardless of whether the parents are married or unmarried, the courts will generally not interfere in the parenting agreement process unless the child’s safety is in jeopardy.

That said, either parent can petition the North Carolina family court for a formal declaration of child custody. This is done by filing a child custody petition with the court.

Child Custody Mediation Requirements

Barring the presence of very limited circumstances, you will be required to attend child custody mediation prior to having a court hearing. During mediation, a neutral third party will work with both parents to resolve the custody dispute and reach a parenting agreement that both sides can live with.

If mediation is unsuccessful, then your child custody case will move forward to preparing for a court hearing. If this is the case in your situation, Kernersville child custody lawyers can set your case for trial and take all of the necessary steps to secure the best possible outcome for you and your children through family law litigation.

Determining the Best Interests of the Child

In every case regarding child custody, the North Carolina court is guided by a standard referred to as the “best interest of the child.” This means that while the court can consider a variety of factors—including the rights of the parents—the ultimate decision regarding child custody must be based on what is considered best for the minor child.

Proactive child custody attorneys in Kernersville will make the best argument possible that their client’s preferred child custody arrangement is in the best interest of their children.

Get Legal Help With Your Kernersville Child Custody Case

Custody disputes can be long, costly, and emotionally exhausting for everyone involved. With the right family law attorney by your side, you could address the stress that stems from a custody dispute and give yourself the best chance at a favorable outcome.

Do not face your child custody dispute on your own. Reach out to a Kernersville child custody attorney at Apple Payne Law as soon as possible.

FAQs: Kernersville Child Custody

What factors does a judge consider when determining legal and physical custody?

A judge may consider several factors when examining a child’s best interests.

These include:

  • Relationship each parent has with the child
  • Child’s involvement and ties in the community, school, and home
  • Parents’ abilities to provide a safe and stable home environment
  • Child’s emotional and physical health
  • How willing parents are to cooperate with one another
  • History of substance abuse
  • History of domestic violence, child abuse, neglect, or other misconduct
  • Child’s preference for living arrangements (in some cases)

The judge must weigh these factors and make the final custody decision using this standard.

How does child support work in North Carolina?

North Carolina law uses the “Income Share” model for determining child support orders. Basically, both parents’ incomes are totaled together, and the court determines the cost of raising the child based on that total.

Then, the non-custodial parent is ordered to pay a percentage of that cost based on their proportional share of the parent’s combined income.

The judge will also consider how many overnights each parent has per year with the child when determining what child support payments will be.

How is child support affected if the other parent won’t let me see my child?

Child support and child custody are separate family law issues, and one does not negate the other. If one parent fails to pay child support, for example, the other parent is not legally permitted to withhold visitation rights.

On the flip side, if one parent doesn’t exercise their rights to parenting time, this does not release them from their legal responsibility to pay ordered child support payments.

Both child custody and child support issues are typically enforced through a court order. If court orders are not followed, the violators may be held in contempt of court.

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Kernersville Office

900 Old Winston Rd. STE 212
Kernersville NC 27284

Winston-Salem Office

190 Charlois Blvd. Suite 200
Winston-Salem NC 27103