"The best interests of the child." It's a phrase heard in family courts across the nation, including here in North Carolina. But what does it mean? This legal standard leaves a lot up to interpretation for courts and for parents. Unfortunately, when it comes to certain issues like education, religious beliefs, and medical care, some parents have wildly different opinions on what is in the best interests of their child and what isn't.
Millions of people travel over the holidays, whether it is just over the river and through the woods or on a flight across the world. Regardless of where your travel plans take you this holiday season, you would be wise to take steps now to ensure your trip goes smoothly, particularly if you share custody of your kids and plan to take them with you.
You and your girlfriend had a baby. You were excited to hold your child in your arms. The love you felt for this new little bundle is more than you thought was possible. You got swept up in the emotions and newness of being a father.
If you have visitation or share physical custody of your children with their other parent, relocation can be a very real concern, whether it is you who might be moving or the other parent.
If you and your spouse are ready to get divorced, you may be concerned with how to share time with your children once you are separated and no longer living in the same house. North Carolina's legal standard for determining custody arrangements is "the best interest of the child." As you can imagine, many divorcing couples have different ideas about what is in their child or children's best interests.
No one ever goes into marriage thinking one day it's all going to end in a flurry of arguments and divorce papers. People change, however -- it's just a fact of life -- meaning the two people who say "I do" in the beginning may not be the same people dissolving their marriage in the end.
When Sarah and Andy got divorced, they had it all worked out: They would split custody. Each would have half the week, and they would alternate Sundays. This worked well for them when the kids were little since Sarah only worked weekends and could be home with the kids the first part of the week.
Divorcing couples aren't the only ones who have to deal with child custody issues. Nowadays, many couples decide to have children before getting married or decide not to get married at all. When unmarried couples with children separate, they will have to determine who the child should live with and who will be making decisions involving the child.
The divorce process is likely one of the hardest things you will ever have to go through in your life. If you have children with your spouse, the process can be even more difficult. You and your ex-spouse may not agree on what is best for the children in terms of where they live, what school they should attend and how often they should split their time between the two of you. You may also disagree about child support and how much your ex-spouse should be receiving for this.
North Carolina's child custody laws, like other states, provide some limited visitation rights to grandparents. This state has additional obstacles, however.