Child custody is one of the most difficult determinations that arise during a separation or divorce.
Under N.C. law, the Judge must determine what is in the child’s best interest. Any parent, relative, or other person, etc. claiming the right to custody of a minor child may bring an action for custody. If you are not a biological parent and desire to bring a custody action, you must show that you have a significant relationship with the child and that the biological parents are unfit or have neglected the welfare of the child to obtain custody. The law favors biological parents, so any person attempting to pursue custody who is not a biological parent has a difficult road under the law to prove there case.
North Carolina requires all parent to attend mandatory mediation to attempt to resolve their disputes. There are a few exceptions to the mediation requirement, so if you live in another state, you can ask the Court to waive the mandatory mediation requirement.
Under the best interest standard, the Court will look at all aspects of the child’s life to determine the best schedule. The judge will consider the child’s physical and mental well-being. Either parent’s contribution to a child’s religious or education upbringing will be relevant. A parent’s ability to care for a child will be relevant, so a parent who has a job that requires work on the weekend or emergency calls, will need to address how he or she can still care for the child at these times or in these situations. Even though the history of care for a child is relevant, it does not determine what the arrangement may be in the future.