It’s normal to be stressed about addressing child custody and visitation. After all, depending on how the issue is resolved, it has the potential to have a profound impact on your relationship with your child as well as his or her safety and wellbeing. So you need to make sure that you’re as fully prepared as possible to address these matters so that you can protect your child as fully as possible. To start, you have to know what a court will be looking for when determining child custody and visitation matters.
North Carolina’s best interests law
North Carolina, like every other state in the country, has a statute that indicates that child custody decisions will be made with the child’s welfare and best interests in mind. To determine exactly which kind of arrangement supports a child’s best interests, the court will look at a number of factors, but the law reads broadly, indicating that any relevant facts can be considered. This means that you’ll need to consider each of the following:
- Any history of domestic violence
- Any history of substance abuse
- Any history of abuse or neglect
- The financial stability of each parent
- Each parent’s willingness to maintain a relationship between the child and the noncustodial parent
- The physical and mental health of each parent
- The child’s needs
- The child’s wishes, if he or she is old enough
- The educational and cultural opportunities available to the child while living with each parent
This is just a small sampling of the issues that could be looked at when addressing child custody and visitation.
Presenting your case
There’s no one factor that is dispositive in these cases. Therefore, you need to take a holistic approach to your case. Gather as much physical evidence and witness testimony as you can to support your position, and be prepared to defend yourself from vicious attacks from the other side. While engaging in thorough preparation can position you well for trial, it can also help spur negotiations.
Consider if you need an advocate on your side
There are often a lot of emotions tied up in these kinds of cases, which is why it is often helpful to have a zealous advocate on your side who can see things from an outside perspective. If you think that you could benefit from this kind of assistance, then it might be time to talk to a family law attorney of your choosing.