Understanding The Types Of Custody

Primary Versus Joint Custody

The distinction between primary custody and joint custody is essentially meaningless because there is no statutory definition of joint custody. A schedule where one parent has primary custody simply means that the child lives with one parent for the majority of the time, subject to the other parent's visitation schedule. Practically, a schedule where the parties have joint custody means that the child lives with both parties on a more equal basis.

This issue has been confused somewhat by the child support worksheets used under the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines, which define custody schedules by the number of overnights the child has with each parent. It is important to remember that these definitions of custody schedules are only used for purposes of child support calculations, and that in reality there is not a set number of overnights that define "primary" and "joint" custody.

Legal Custody Versus Physical Custody

Legal custody involves parental authority to make major decisions about how to raise a child, such as decisions about education, religion, and discipline. Physical custody means where the child lives. As a practical matter, most custody disputes are over whom the child should live with and what visitation schedule the child should have with the other parent. For more information, talk to a local Raleigh custody lawyer.

Emergency Custody

Emergency custody can only be obtained in limited situations:

  1. When the child is exposed to a substantial risk of bodily injury or sexual abuse
  2. If there is a substantial risk that the child may be abducted or removed from the State of North Carolina for the purpose of evading the jurisdiction of the North Carolina courts

Resolving Custody Disputes

Whenever possible, people should strive to resolve custody disputes between themselves, keeping in mind what is in the best interests of the child. If both parties can come to an agreement on a custody and visitation schedule, the agreement can be put into a separation agreement or executed with the court as a consent order. The parties can agree to attend settlement conferences with their custody attorneys or attempt private mediation to resolve custody issues before resorting to the litigation process. You can consult with a custody attorney in Raleigh at any stage of your case.

In Raleigh, the filing of a custody complaint triggers the local domestic rules, which will govern the resolution of the custody issue. The parents will be ordered to attend a custody orientation and mediation session at the courthouse, where they must attempt to work out a parenting agreement. Parents who fail to attend may be held in contempt of court. If the parents are unable to come to an agreement in court-ordered custody mediation, then the case will be heard by the court.

Contact A Custody Lawyer Today

Are you considering a new beginning for your family? Let the separation lawyer in Raleigh provide the quality legal counsel that you need to help your family through this transition. Contact us online, or call us at 866-319-9862 to schedule a consultation with our law firm and our experienced lawyers.